Your responses to ? "What do YOU do?"

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by lurkernomore, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. lurkernomore

    lurkernomore New Member

    This seems to be one of the very questions which can sometimes send us right over the edge. For me, I have one day a week that I am willing to do whatever it takes to get out. That is Sunday when I go to church. Never mind that it takes all day Saturday to do the necessary preparations and getting up three hours in advance, I do it.

    And then I am often cornered and asked that sweet and lovely question, "what do you do?" Which means, "are you working now? If not, what on earth do you do with alllll that free time?" It use to make me want to jump up and smack somebody, I have to be honest here! Especially when it was spoken by someone whom I felt was asking, not out of genuine interest, but in an effort to make me feel badly about myself.

    But then I decided that was giving the *asker* far too much power. Allowing them to feel bad about myself was draining what good feelings I had left of myself and so I said "no more!" So now, when I am asked that question, I tend to get very creative, he he.

    At first, I really enjoyed the shocked look on their faces when I replied that I was a "kept woman, was pampered 24/7 and loved every minute of it." Then I grew tired of that and went to other replies, such as "probably the same things you do, except that I don't have to punch a time clock and can take breaks whenever I need to and I answer to no one." Okay, even I have to admit that one is a bit snarky, but I still giggle a bit inside when I see their gloating look fade just a little.

    So my question to you is how do you deal with this question? Do you allow it to eat away at you? Do you let it make you feel worse about yourself or do you just shrug it off, knowing that it comes from a source who knows nothing about the challenges you face?

    I want to challenge each of you (us) to think of new and creative ways to answer that question when it is asked of us. I feel certain that with all the different and creative personalities on this board, we can come up with some really funny and entertaining replies to that question! Oooh, what fun this could be! I wish I had a way of awarding a prize for the most unique and creative installment!
  2. Jen102

    Jen102 New Member

    I am always baffled by this question. Even when my doctor asks, I never know what to say and stumble and "uh" around until I feel like an idiot. People just don't get it, and frankly, how could they unless they have experienced these awful illnesses.

    My days are spent resting, and the basics of bathing and eating. On really good days I can do some laundry or cook a meal for my family. That may be all I get done in the day.

    Besides the basics, I am sorting thru vitamins, ordering and keeping track of prescriptions (several compounded thru diferent pharmacies) or keeping track of insurance claims when I can figure it out. Then there is calling insurance when they do something wrong and sitting on hold for hours. What a life!

    I really haven't come up with a good answer to others. Sorry to be a party pooper. Mostly I just say something like "I'm ill" because it seems that people just don't get it. I don't think they are being mean. I chose to think they are trying to understand, so I just try to answer in the most basic way. "What do you do?" "Not much. What do you do when you are really sick?"

    Blessings to you. Jen102 Glad you blew off some steam. Maybe you will have to go to church with your slip hanging out and your hair in curlers. Maybe they won't ask.
  3. daylight

    daylight New Member

    Let me search the Great Book of Answers.....HUMMMMM
    Don't we serve the Lord? It always amazes me when people think that they know what God wants to be doing.

    Tell them "In Love" of course with a HUGE loving grin. This is the job that the Lord has chosen for me to do right now and when I have completed my task for Him; He'll move me to another job to do even greater things for Him.=)

    People many not appreciate that answer but there is a times were are job is to rest at the Lords feet. Maybe your job is to teach them how to have compassion in this adverse times.

    Keep the faith ,
    Daniel 12;3
  4. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member


    Q: What do you do?

    A: I have a contagious disease so you better stand about two feet away.

    (Then watch them run).

  5. Toga

    Toga Member

    I always say, "I'm retired." I then quickly change the subject so they don't want more details about what I used to do.

    I would love some better answers though. So, I'm going to keep track of this thread.

  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    First, this is a good post. I don't think people are being malicious when they ask what we do, it's just a normal thing to ask so I don't want to get snotty with them, but I do feel uncomfortable with the question.

    Usually I just say, "I have some health problems and can't work" and leave it at that, and try to change the subject, which most people are happy to do. It's only when I get to know someone a bit or they seem genuinely interested that I tell them a little about what's really going on (CFIDS).

  7. kriskwon

    kriskwon New Member

    I feel the same way. Amen.
  8. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    growing my mustache and sorting my socks.
  9. Jana1

    Jana1 New Member

    I have never given this any thought as far as it making me feel bad about anything. It is only a conversational ploy..not many people really want to hear much of an answer.

    I say two things...depending on the asker.

    1. What do you do? Pretty much anything I please. What do you do?

    If they follow up with...well, it must be nice..I say, It certainly is!

    2. What do you do? I am in research. IF you need a follow up, say anything that strikes your fancy that you have seen on TV or read about. You can always say chronic illnesses. Or how different people cope with debilitating illnesses. That is very true...we are on this board a lot,aren't we??? LOL

  10. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    I do as little as possible!

  11. ksp56

    ksp56 Member

    When asked this question, I turn on a BIG SMILE and say, "I AM a domestic goddess!" Many times I hear how lucky I am and I tell them, it really is great! This seems to confuse them! It is then, I feel a huge wave of laughter starting inside!

    I don't need to explain, to anyone, what I do or don't do. I feel fortunate to be alive for another day. Even on my worse days, I find something to be thankful for, and then go back to thinking how much I hurt and HATE this stuff! LOL

    I wish you all peace...


  12. kalina

    kalina New Member

    The first time I was asked "What do you do?" it took me by suprise. I was at some friends' party, and I had never met this couple my husband and I were talking to. I stammered a bit, and finally said that I was disabled and unable to work anymore. The guy said -- get this -- "That must be nice!"

    Now, folks, I am usually a very nice person, but this really set me off! I said, "NO, it isn't nice. I LOVED my job, and would give anything to be able to return to it." I meant it -- I knew from the time I was 5 years old what I wanted to do, and it's been a big part of my life, so I told him this too.

    I wasn't rude about it; I just explained to him in a matter-of-fact way. But it obviously made the couple very uncomfortable, and they scooted away as soon as they could. I didn't care. I wanted to let them know that disability isn't a holiday!

    Now when somebody asks me, I tell them I'm a researcher or an insurance wrangler, and then change the subject.

  13. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    NOT working!". Most people laugh. Or a good one is "My husband was taking
    applications for a lazy clinging vine who would stay home all day and need taking care of. My resume' was the best so he picked me!".
  14. Jordane

    Jordane New Member

    The question I am usually asked"Suppose you will be going back to work soon" This was asked because I was a seasonal worker.Worked in the tree yard from May till Dedember.Worked there for 19 yrs.
    So if someone asks me,and they have asked several times.I just tell them I am not well enough to go back.They do'nt usually ask any further.

  15. katdancer

    katdancer New Member

    I also am uncomfortable being asked that question - especially considering what I did BEFORE I became ill. Now, unfortunately squinching from pain has finally caused the old body to catch up with the age so I can say retired without someone saying - wow you're way to young - darn it! I guess I'm now looking like I should be retired but you are right for some reason that question sure can make one feel worthless regardless of previous life!
  16. DoveL

    DoveL Member

    I really enjoyed these posts!! I feel the same way!!

    I feel so ashamed of myself and guilty for not being able to be so 'productive in society' Like people think I am a loafer..Meanwhile, I used to take home almost $1,000 a week, when I was well!!! Go figure..from riches to rags!

    Here is my answers I use: I am trying to recover from a really bad bought of health.

    If people say'...what do you have/had? I usually say I would rather not talk about it, but I am getting by now, and then changed the subject. Then changed the subject.

    Sometimes I say... I have MS (even though I don't-I have CFS/FMS), but figure people are more familiar with that..then I changed the subject.

    I used to be such a 'go getter', that this question is so heart renching everytime someone asks this..

    Hang in there all...I think people don't understand because there is not enough awareness out there!! Even then, one never knows what it is like to 'walk in one's shoes'.

    HUgs DOVE........

  17. mrpain

    mrpain New Member

    I use to avoid people so I wouldn't have to deal with that question. Even being retired, most people will ask me, " what are you doing these days" or "how's life after retirement and what are you doing with yourself these days"?

    Now I just simply say, "Staying busy, what about you"? What they don't know is, that the staying busy part is just trying to survive every day with this illness. If I say I'm sick, they'll reply "You look fine to me" I just give them that simple answer and let them say what ever they want after that. I try to keep the spotlight on them or maybe talk about my family..

  18. sues1

    sues1 New Member

    I do what I want to do, when I want to do it, (IF I can I don't say) I am retired.

    At times I say "I have a connective tissue disease."Rarely anyone asked further and they were kind about it.

    Now days I am at retirement no problem. But before that is someone would say, but you are not old enough to retire......say "It takes money, not age to retire."
    Most of the time though I say I am disabled with Fibro/CFIDS,and not able to work. Here I was still trying to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up and Wham, that decision was taken away from me.

    If I can not do more to advance and educate people that we are here, (We being Cfiders and Fibromites)..and the problem is real...not a I am tired problem...I have done some good. I have stopped hiding it under a bushel basket.....Because of this I get phone calls from many wanting advice or information for themselfs or a loved one.

    Why hide an legitament illness? Are we embarrased? We should not be.

    I tell them of this site, of a support group, new findings, etc. It helps us to help others.......Boy am I finding a lot of folks with this!

    Blessings to all of us............Susan

  19. ckzim

    ckzim New Member

    is usually the "I'm retired" route. But a few weeks ago, my insurance agent asked?? What do you do for a living?

    When I told him "retired" he said...Noooo...and started looking for my birthdate, saying "you can't be?" How old are you?

    That really started me looking for a new answer, so now I say...I'm disabled with Fibromyalgia.

    Since they don't have a clue to what that is, they just move on to the next subject.
  20. lurkernomore

    lurkernomore New Member

    I have to say that I am just amazed by the creativity shown in the replies here!

    "Stay home and take dope all day."
    "I work for the government."
    "I am a consultant." (I want to be one too, LOL!)
    I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you."

    May I make a list of these and rotate my answers please?

    And to anyone who got upset by the thread or who thinks that we think we have to give any answer at all, the thread was started in fun. I agree that we are not obligated to answer any questions whatsoever, if they feel intrusive to us.

    In this case, I like the raised eyebrow and the "why do you ask?" response, and I have used this reply myself. I have used it when asked how much something I am wearing costs or where I bought it. There really is no end to the shocking questions people will ask.

    And this is why I began this particular thread. It was really meant as a fun way to vent and get out all the craziness that goes on when we are in public and it happens. People will ask some of the goofiest questions and it boggles my mind! I am enjoying the answers immensely though, and do hope they keep coming!