So What Exactly Do You Want to Do?

So what exactly is it you want to do?

When asked this question, honesty is likely not the best tactic.

I am usually a complete supporter of honesty as the best policy. For instance if I ask someone to watch my children I would much rather have an honest, “I do not like your children,” than to have one think that sentence silently but only say, “sure”. I appreciate the disingenuous individual’s intent to be nice and do a favor, but the end result is normally a resentful friend and my children subjected to an evening with an individual who does not like them. In such an instance, just say no. I appreciate an individual who says no; it means I can trust them when they say yes.

Sitting in a chair before a person of some power, evaluating me for possible employment or maybe just assisting me in gaining employment, I have been asked, “So what sort of work are you looking for exactly?”

Were I to be honest I would reply, “Anything that provides a paycheck and does not require me to perform tasks I despise.” That would be shallow truth. Make no mistake, it is truth. I have had one of the jobs I say I do not want and all involved would agree it was a mistake.

Deeper truth would be me expressing my desire to achieve some tangible but  unnamed greatness that I have fooled myself into believing I am capable. Somewhere deep inside I have this nagging idea that I am capable of contributing to society in a way greater than a blip in mid-management or humbly bringing checks back to my wife and children after a day’s toil in cubicle fields.

I want to shove American society toward racial inclusiveness and crush the obstacles standing in the way of poor people’s pursuing opportunities for self determination. I want to write the next great American novel, paint a work of art worthy of a museum or maybe just mass popular consumption, and I want to play middle linebacker for the Bears.

I want to see every world capital. Istanbul, Jerusalem, Rome, Buenos Aries, Rio, Delhi, and Cleveland. I have this idea where I throw a dart at a map, where the dart hits becomes my starting point. Me and my friends then fly to that point spin a bottle, and hike 100 miles in that direction making  as straight a line as possible, just for the experience of it. I also want to spend a month in Tonga playing rugby on a local men’s club. That one may need to be last on my list.

I have no desire to ride motocross, which for some reason makes me think I should at least try it, but do want to jump out of an airplane. I want to sail from Maine to Miami. I want to learn how to sail. I want to spend evenings at cafe tables having great conversations with my wife and Saturday mornings going out to breakfast with the whole family.

I don’t really want to be famous or rich, but I do want to live free from financial restrictions and be able to influence greater society.

That is what I want to do.

Sitting in a chair in front of a potential employer I can’t say all that. I have to say, “sure I’d love to watch your kids.”

8 thoughts on “So What Exactly Do You Want to Do?

  1. Great post! I turned forty in April, and I have been thinking about that question too.
    I want a SAG card. I’m trying to get one by auditioning for local tv commercials.
    I want to know what its like to be a husband and a father. And I want to retire in Newport, Rhode Island.

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