Here’s a typical introductory conversation with me:
Nev: Hi, I’m Neville.
Person: Nice to meet you, what do you do?
Nev: I own the largest online rave company.
Person: Rave company!? ::eyes bug out::
Nev: Yes, rave company.
Person: So, do you…like…throw rave parties?
Nev: Nope, I’ve never been to a rave in my life.
Person: Then what do you do?
Nev: I sell light up stuff.
Person: So you sell glowsticks?
Nev: That’s part of it. The store mainly sells hard to find lightup novelties.
Person: So are raves still popular?
Nev: Not really sure. Most of my customers aren’t ravers.
Person: So do you keep all the stuff in your garage or a warehouse?
Nev: It’s all drop shipped. I rarely touch any of the products.
Person: That’s so (cool/odd/interesting).
Ever since high school I’ve been running some small business or the other, but I’d always considered myself a student first. No longer a student, that response doesn’t work, so I started saying I was a “business owner” or something like that, but that elicits an avalanche of questions about every business I was involved in. Much as I enjoy talking about them, it became a cumbersome question.
So over time I’ve just started saying, “I own a rave company”
which is actually pretty fitting for what I do (HouseOfRave.com
). This response is interesting enough to keep the conversation going, keeps the questions fun to answer, and allows for an easy segue into another conversation.
One trick I learned to avoid the whole “what do you do” conversation is say, “I’m unemployed.” The conversation generally stops immediately! Great for people you don’t want to speak with or when you’re in a hurry to leave.