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So what do you do for a living?

So what do you do for a living?

It’s an oft-quoted cliche that one of the first things British people ask each other is what they do for a living. Which is a wee bit annoying when you work in weird non-descriptive roles in companies because it makes you sound extraordinarily weird or dull.

I remember one work outing to a comedy club, where Rich Hall (superlative American comedian with a sour face permanently based in the UK) asked our party of web geniuses what we did for a living. Dylan piped up that he was a website writer. The look on Hall’s face as he realised that he’d have to spin some kind of song or riff on a very dull-sounding job was just priceless – although he did manage it, something throwing in references to yarns of wool and sheep-rustling en route. (Don’t ask me how, I was very very drunk)

Fast forward to this morning, and I suddenly find myself on local radio station Coast FM identifying a Take That song for the chance to win some cinema tickets to go see Blades of Glory. Despite being sleep-befuddled, I do my best to sound lively and interesting, mostly because I’ve listened to independent radio enough to categorise the listeners into being either:

  • dull and dull (“Hello… Ta for the tickets.”)
  • lively but dull (“Gosh, I’m so wacky me, I’m a party girl. I love to party and I rilly rilly want to hear Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars!”)

(wait till I write the blog post about the inanity and stupidity of listeners to independent local radio!)

But then he asks what I do for a living – and it’s too early to think of a reasonable answer, so I reply project management. Somehow he mishears this as product management, and then somehow asks me about octopuses. And in my own imitable fashion, I talk about eating them or something like that – possibly not the best idea on a radio breakfast show.

3 Comments

  • I don't do anything for a living!

    you forgot the people that scream and scream until the presenter goes to the next caller!

  • God, Coast FM is terrible! I listen to it occasionally and it's an embarrassment to this area. Especially the breakfast show.

    We manage to get a coded message onto Coast a few years back.

  • Dylan

    I've only just seen this post, and its brought back horrendous memories of being the subject of Rich Hall's song in the Glee Club. I really should point out though that I didn't "pipe up" – I was cornered by the bastard, because the person who was meant to sit to my right hadn't turned up; I was conspiciuosly therefore sitting right in front of him, the only person sitting next to an empty seat in the whole "joint" as an American might say. Still, I can think of worse comedians to be humiliated by.

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