My Plea to Change the 30-second Elevator Pitch (AKA: “So what do you do?”

The only thing more painful than listening in on a Tinder date between two introverted fans of Sci-Fi and Anime is shop talk. But not the soap opera drama that is grade A airing of grievances after 4 Coronas at an office happy hour. I’m talking about the two guys on a double date who have nothing in common besides dating sorority sisters, hating when they get Outlook invites from their signifcant other for double dates and a pathetic existences in corporate America. You know, the guys who got dragged to a significant others family party who trade cubicle war stories to pass the time between sports conversations and dessert.

In the wild these two male specimens would be two ships passing in the night but under forced captivity they are engaging in a conversation that starts with “so what do you do” and ends with “but it pays the bills” and forced laughter while their girlfriend’s reminisce about nights at Sigma Chi house. The guy with more LinkedIn connections who attends networking events will typically fire the first shot: “So man, what do you do?”

This 7-9 minute conversation will consist of feigned interest, lobbing generic questions and painful faked understanding of an industry you know nothing about. The transcript would read like a job description that not even the most bright eyed and bushy tailed intern would sign up for.

Not trying to be outdone, the persecuted party is free flowing with his LinkedIn endorsements and embellishes more than he did on his Tinder profile to get himself in this predicament. His title is more misleading than a custodial engineer and his power rivals that of only Jordan Belfort. The chess match has begun, with calculated buzzword bombs and vague hints at large bonuses being dropped. This is as close as you can get to a dick measuring contest without taking your clothes off. But does this game of career chicken always need to be the end-game?

I’m a staunch opponent of this conversation that is equally as awkward as the birds and the bees discussion with your creepy gym teacher who always wore wind pants around elementary school kids. Why is this the first place we go when asked what we do? Why are we so defined by our status on the corporate ladder? God, I sound like your stoner friend who works at Taco Bell.

If I’m getting too existential on you, maybe it’s because I’ve been overahadowed by too many investment bankers or friends with “cool” jobs. So next time someone asks you what you do, tell them what you like to do in the real world and wait for the reaction on their face that screams “this guys must be between jobs.”

Your 30 second elevator pitch should read like your MySpace profile: “I am a happily domestically partnered man who has semi-regular intercourse with someone out of my league, who enjoys blogging poorly, drinking cheap beer with my friends at dive bars, making fun on people without getting to know them and judging athletes mercilessly while having no discernible sporting ability myself.”

Be part of the change, or be part of the problem. End rant.