What do you do for a living? This very normal and seemingly innocuous question has me quaking in many situations. The problem is not that I don’t understand it or that I feel it is an unfair question or even that it is one that I would avoid. The reality is that I often ask the question, though I never like it asked in return. Therefore, I guess you could call me a hypocritical question-asker.
Now the question that would follow naturally is “Why do you not like the question that seems reasonable, you admit is fair, and you even ask others?” The reason is that I do not have a good answer to the question. Now, it isn’t that I don’t like what I do. The fact is that most days I enjoy working very much (I even can meet the 20-60-20 Cameron Davies rule). Further, it isn’t that I am ashamed of what I do or that it isn’t exciting enough.
The reason I do not have a good answer to that question is because I positioned myself to do too many things to give a succinct answer to the question. And by the time I finish answering, most people are either bored or just think of me as a freak. So, as I stagger forward in life, I feel I need to work on a better answer to this question, yet I don’t really feel as if I can leave anything out. You tell me.
Normally, I start by trying to give a succinct answer, “Real Estate.” But, then I go on saying, “I run a Real Estate School, am the broker of a real estate office, and work as an attorney, mostly in ways as it pertains to real estate. I work as a trustee, do some minimal title work, and write deeds and trusts for real estate.”
Now, as if that weren’t long enough, some people ask a question that they eventually wish they hadn’t by saying, “So you’re a real estate attorney?” For some reason, I feel the need to correct this general misconception that when walking across the graduation stage, attorneys must declare what kind of law they will practice. But the reality is that we are an occupation of generalists. While you can get people to vouch for you in certain areas, the only thing that separated a family law attorney from a medical malpractice attorney is because he says so. If you don’t believe me, watch the Pilot of Harry’s Law.
As you can imagine, the sarcastic, “Is that all?” tends to follow. To which I begin to respond, “Well, I also assist three radio shows with what they do in varying degrees. Most of this is so that I can one day host my own show, and to keep my skills sharp, I do the BibleQuizzer.net podcast, which is a podcast about the world of Bible Quiz. I run a charity associated with this event called the Florida Quizzing Association, where we travel around the country to assist in Bible Quiz competitions.”
With all of that said, at this point the only thing that sounds remotely interesting to the everyday person of all of this is that I travel the country doing something with this Bible thing that they’ve never heard of. So, they ask, “What’s a Bible Quiz?” The only good answer I can give is “Bible Quiz is a competitive event where a team from a ministry memorizes a portion of Scripture and competes against teams from other ministries who have memorized the same thing. This year is Acts, for example.”
Of course, this is where most people think that I have memorized the entire section and they wonder if I normally win. To this I usually respond, “I’m kind of like Alex Trebek. My job is merely to read questions. My second grade teacher would surely be proud of my skill of reading!”
At this point the average original question presenter is looking for an out. The reality is that I have considered an out myself. Late last year, I attempted to close my real estate office and focus more on doing legal work. Nevertheless, people pulled me back into the real estate game full time and I got back to the position of having too many things to do.
So, first, if you’ve never heard Cameron Davies‘s 20-60-20 rule, you need to contact him and learn what it is. And if you’ve made it this far, you’re clearly a friend. So tell this friend how he can answer the question in a less boring, more succinct way!