• Dawn Bowden

What do you do?

It's the harmless icebreaker question that often comes when you meet somebody for the first time. However for many people 'What do you do?" is the question they least enjoy answering. Usually because (be they a teacher, a bank manager, an actor or a stay at home parent) they know they are going to be measured by their response.

British employees average approx 35 hours a week at work. That means we spend 133 hours not working. Taking into account the approx 56 hours we are asleep, it means roughly 77 hours of our week we are doing something other than working! Despite this we answer the 'what do you do?' question with something related to the way we pay our bills. We have been conditioned to measure ourselves and others by the job we do, despite the fact we spend 133 hours a week not doing it.

I am proud of what I do to earn a living. I work very hard. However it is by no means everything about me.

Outside of work, I enjoy losing myself in a good story, going for long walks, looking out over a dramatic seascape, listening to podcasts, playing the piano, following politics, being with my family, spending time with close friends, sitting with John talking about things that are important to us and occasionally (often) just nonsense. I love that non-work part of me. So why do I default to the thing I do to earn money when the question is asked?

If you are somebody who is lucky enough to have a job that is also a hobby, and if the question doesn't phase you at all, then amazing!! If not, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your worth and stop valuing yourself by what it is you spend 133 hours of your week NOT doing.

Lets's re-imagine the scenario.

Person at a party:"What do you do?"

You : "I grow vegetables"


You "I make my own wine'


You "I spend hours staring at the sea"


You "'I sing in a choir"


You: "I bring up incredible children"

Do you think it is worth trying? I will if you will? 💛