The problem with asking “what do you do?”

Me in 2011 on top of the Devil’s Marbles, a rock formation in the Australian Outback.

Lots of people have written about the importance of not letting your job title define you and I am finally chiming in. After recently reading the blink of a book called Minimalism, which argues among other things that each person is far more than just her profession, I realized I myself am guilty of asking people I meet the annoying question, “what do you do?”

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Not just a journalist

Mountain biking in the Harz region in Germany circa 2015.


One key thing I’ve learned as a job seeker is that my identity isn’t entirely defined by my profession. Realizing this has been helpful for me in dealing with the ups and downs of carving out a career for myself (without the slightest idea how to go about doing it).

So yes, I’m a journalist, but I’m also…

  • a thrill-seeker
  • an avid reader of fictional literature
  • a mountain biker
  • a linguist
  • a nonconformist
  • a weight lifter
  • a mentor for those looking to go abroad
  • an artist / creative content creator
  • a baker
  • a vintage moped owner
  • a future motorcyclist
  • a former Corporate, Culture & English Trainer
  • a cosmopolite
  • an amateur cook
  • a trained graphic designer
  • a liberalist
  • a diary keeper
  • a chocolate enthusiast
  • a runner
  • etc.

POST-POSTGRAD LIFE

Right now, I’m in a stage many people would describe as uncomfortable or even painful. I’ve just finished a year of postgraduate studies, and I’ve slowly started the job hunt. During this in between period, nothing is certain. I have no idea what country I may be moving to in the next few months. I’ll move to wherever the job takes me, really.  And yet I’m not panicking.

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