For a laugh, I imagined actually telling them the truth

Two women waving and greeting- cover photo of the blog For a laugh -I imagined actually telling them the truth

You know when someone you don’t know very well asks you a question and the truth is so bleak that you just know saying it would make everyone really uncomfortable…

…but you also kind of think it would be funny if you did?

Several years ago, I took the bold step of quitting a job with great prospects and a boss I loved, to move from Edinburgh to London. Why? Because I was DESPERATE to work at a (then new) radio station called Xfm. At the time, it felt like smart confidence

Cut to seven months after I actually moved, when I realized that it was perhaps blind naivety, coupled with an over-inflated sense of self — the result of being a big fish (one of the only indie show hosts!) in a small pond (Scottish Radio). Not least because, it turned out, everyone and their mum also wanted to work at Xfm. Lots of supply, very little demand, especially for me.

I was barely working at all, sending DJ demos to every radio station in the country, desperate to get a job ANYWHERE.

The thing I hated most, was people asking me, “So what do you do?”

I felt soul-destroyed by the idea of what I was doing. I didn’t want to admit what I was doing.

So, instead, I lied. Or, rather, wildly embellished the truth:

“What do you do?”

“I’m currently freelancing for a bunch of different people [who aren’t paying me], I’ve been doing some guesting on this digital radio network [I went in once, for free] and I’m meeting with Program Controllers of a few different radio stations [I’ve had one email from one. He rejected my demo].

“Wow, sounds like you’re really busy!”

“Yeah!” [big, fake, toothy, desperate, dead-eyed grin, followed by single, lone tear rolling down cheek]

Often, I thought about how funny it would be, if I actually told the truth.

“What do you do?”

“Well, mostly, I pace the corridors of my mum’s house — that I’ve had to move back into because I’m so unemployed — crying, wondering why I ever left my great job in Edinburgh! Sometimes I’ll mix it up a bit with panicking that, having only ever done radio, I’m completely unemployable in every field!”

“Wow, sounds like you’re really busy!”

“Um, no…hence the weeping… and the panicking… Were you not listening..?”

What I SINCE learned is that there’s a middle ground. A way to answer the question, “What do you do?” that doesn’t make me sound desperate — AND that actually leads to people offering me opportunities, whether or not I was currently employed in my dream field.

It’s how I ended up finally getting the job at Xfm — and becoming one of the longest-serving presenters the station had ever had (only leaving because I decided to move to Canada).

It’s how I often get clients and big-deal workshops from casual meetings.

And I’m going to teach it to you.

Recently, I ran a class called,“How To Answer The Question, ‘What Do You Do?'” or HTATQWDYD)(or “H’tat-qu’did,” if you prefer), and there’s now a recording of it available.

Having a good answer to this question helps you in multiple ways. For example, with it you can:

  • Get referrals without asking for them
  • Have a skeleton from which to write your bio or LinkedIn profile (what a relief!)
  • Never again feel awkward at an event where someone’s going to ask you this question

Want in? Here’s what you do:

That session of the class is now over — but there’ll be another soon! Want to find out when it’s ready and get access to Early Bird bonuses? Pop your details in below!

*You’ll also get my easy guide on the Magic Bullet when it comes to captivating storytelling, and join the Yes Yes Family with free tips on how to Be Unforgettable. It’s free, and you can unsubscribe literally whenever you like. I am not the boss of you.

Have fun!

You rule!


Ps the class was really powerful. People who came said things like “it was great, fun, interesting and really, really practical” and “it was amazing! I really loved the format! I loved hearing how you got to the bottom of the wording and what people DO. I really learn by listening to example and it’s so fun to hear your process!”

Want to hear it? Just follow the instructions above!

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