Dating: The Elusive “What Do You Do For a Living?” Question

Have you ever experienced this on a date?  One of the questions you ask is, “What do you do for a living?”  It seems like a simple question.  Over the years I have had various ANSWERS to this question that sometimes had me scratching my head.  Why?  Well in some cases, many men didn’t want to come out and say they were unemployed.

Ladies, we measure men by their accomplishments, achievements and their ability to earn (work, bring home the bacon, whatever).  Let’s face it, that is the truth.  Sometimes we fall in love with deadbeats, believing if we just “stand by our man” that potential that we love in them will become a reality – Yes! they will succeed in their business, or Yes! they will work hard at this job this time and get promoted.  Only to be disappointed by the man’s failure to get the job done and you are left holding the bag.

So, I believe this question is probably one of the top 5 questions that needs to be asked when on a date.  Any other answer besides a straightforward one, needs to be accepted with skpeticism and further evaluation of the person you are on a date with to determine if you want to continue dating them.  So here are a few tips and funny stories on how to bridge this question on the first date and subsequent dates afterwards and get the answer that reveals the most details to you.

First of all, it should not come as a surprise that in this economy, you will have many unemployed individuals.  There are statistics that show many more women attending college and graduate school than men and the unemployment rate for men in 2009 was 10.9% which is 2.7% higher than women.  So inevitably, you may meet or date someone who is unemployed.  We need to keep an open mind, if you are responding to an online dating ad, I can assure you the unemployed individual is NOT going to state they are unemployed on their profile because they know nobody will communicate with them.

Conversate (Is that a word?) ASK, ASK, ASK! – So rather than just ask “What is your occupation or what do you do for a living,” ask something a little different.  You can ask questions such as, “So what takes up most of your time?”  When they tell you work, ask HOW?  Another good question is what are your goals for the near future or 5 years from now.  If they did mention an industry they work in on their profile, ask them how do they like what they are doing?  What is the most challenging project they’ve worked on?  What kind of people do they work for or work with?  Questions like these at least can establish some answers that they are doing something productive every day.

Elusive answers you need to be aware of? Sometimes if you ask them what they do for a living, they will give you a few responses.  For your enjoyment, here’s a few that I have heard and what it really meant:

1)  I’m a financial consultant - (I have to admit, this is what my ex husband told me, yet after a while of dating and in a relationship I found out he was not licensed nor doing anything remotely related to financial advising, but that’s another story) for someone like me, this makes me think this person is intelligent, money savvy etc.  However, as in my case, sometimes nothing could be farther from the truth.  ASK, ASK, ASK!  Wow, for what company?  What do you need to become a financial consultant?  These are questions you should ask upfront. A term like financial consultant or advisor is very vague and could mean a number of things. Are they one of those scammers that remove items from your credit report, do they work for a credit counseling agency or are they a licensed financial advisor, these are things you should inquire more about.  How hard was the licensing exam?  What office or general location do they work out of?  If you get emails from them and it’s their work email, does it have the workplace domain name in it.  (simple but effective)

2)  I own my own business/I’m a partner in a busines – OKAY!  once again, ASK! ASK! ASK!  Doing what?  How is your business doing?  What’s the name of your business?  Now check to see if this business exists.  Do they have a website?  Do they have a yellowpage listing?  If it’s a corporation or an LLC they are required to be publicly listed wtih the state.  You might think this is overkill but a business is in the business of making money and so surely they will advertise.  If you can’t find a listing for the business anywhere then it’s NOT a business and they are NOT in business.

3)  I’m a promoter – I heard this one on Judge Judy the other day from a man that didn’t have any money and didn’t pay his child support.  I’m never quite sure what this means as there are some promoters that actually make a living representing musical talent, sports stars etc.  I also know promoters that put out a few tweets on Twitter and call themselves a promoter.  Anyone can flash a business card around, but investigate and ask about who they promote, what kinds of strategies do they use. etc.

4)  I’m a professional blogger – Don’t write this one off, this is actually a legitimate occupation depending upon how hard someone works at it.  Blogger make money monetizing their sites, using affiliate marketing tactics, writing ebooks, etc.  For this one, visit their blog and  you’ll see the amount of effort that goes into it.  A really good blogger will have a lot to say about their blogs and sell a variety of products.  Also, blog are ever changing, ask them abot what they envision for their blog and what do they see in the future of their blog.  Check for the content of the blog.  I dated a man that owned and operated a “flaming” site.  I didn’t know what it was, until I researched it and it really turned me off, so remember, when dating a personal blogger, the personality and character of your date can be found in their blog – that’s who they reallly are.

5)  I’m a student – Don’t write these individuals off either, unless of course they aren’t in school or haven’t signed up yet – but they are going to.  Many individuals are going back to school so it’s not unusual to have older individuals giving up work or working part-time to go to school.  I think an individual who has a clear goal of the changes they want to make in their life and their career is on the right track and a good person to date as you hear about their experiences.

6)  I’m a licensed (fill in the blank) – my example will be massage therapist.  OK, so does that mean you are working?  The person may be licensed or they may even have a PhD but are they working.  I know of a lot of people that are licensed in many things, many different software types, have certifications etc but are still unemployed.  I dated a massage therapist, he had a business card, he knew what he was doing but he was not bringing in money.  As in the business owner reference above – if you are not advertising, if you don’t have a place you go to everyday to drum up business (home, starbuck’s etc) then you are NOT working.

The If, THEN statements – Be aware of the “If, Then” statements.  If, Then statements are usually made by individuals looking for someone to bankroll or emotionally support one of their ideas.  Have you heard these before, “If only the economy was better, then I could . . . . ”  or “If only I could go to school and get my culinary degree, then I could do . . .”  and “If only my rent was cheaper, then I could use the extra money to . . . .”  The IF is usually some circumstance they believe is out of their control that if satisfied would guarantee a successful outcome.  Don’t believe it.  It sounds foolish of me to have to warn you but don’t believe it.  They are gauging your level of support.  I have fallen in love with so many IF, THEN statements of self entitlement and my gullibility has left me with empty pockets.  If the person you are dating doesn’t have a clear plan of action, a timelines, milestones for accomplishments, and a drive or willingness to do it on their own then they are not worth your time supporting or dating.

Was he employed before? Simple question but someone who has worked before can surely get a job again.  I would not necessarily get rid of someone like this because if they were working, they can surely get another career.  Also, there may be circumstances that resulted in them getting laid off or fired and some of these may not be divulged so easily.  If it was a co

So, for the reasons that I mentioned above, you can gain a lot about someone by a little question with regards to what they do for a living.  Typically any kind of lying should not be tolerated, but men may be elusive about their current situation because they really want to take their mind off of things and find themselves while finding a new career.  Dating is about finding out what you like and what you don’t like contributing to your future you.

However, not all unemployed individuals should be dismissed.  You have to gauge whether someone is elusive in order to be truly dishonest OR you can coax the truth out.  A genuine person will reveal the truth when they are comfortable with you.  Some men are truly in between jobs and they have a strong desire for success.  Dating may seem as a way for them to forget about their troubles and they might just be more carefree and be more apt to building a long lasting relationship on something other than finances.  You can create lasting friendship that is an important part of the relationship process.  However, dating an unemployed man is a risk.  They may require extra emotional support and are less willing to commit because they can’t provide financial support or are depressed that they can’t provide emotional support to you as well.

For more great dating stories or to ask for advice, please feel free to visit my personal blog at Dallas Single Mom.