“Where do you work?” I don’t have any stats on this, but I’m willing to bet that that is the #1 most common question that dads ask (and get asked) when meeting another dad.
Here’s a scenario:
Your wife maybe meets a friend of a friend at the park or some other kid-friendly place, and they hit it off. They chat about motherhood, and kids, and the latest episode of “This Is Us” and how much of a tear jerker it was. The conversation ends by them saying “we need to go to dinner sometime” and exchanging numbers. Because moms have more drive than any other species, they end up making dinner plans. They book the baby sitter, pick the location, choose an outfit and inform their husband.
So there you are, sitting at dinner with your wife, her new friend, and her friend’s husband. At first it’s table talk, everyone is talking to the group collectively, almost as if to mitigate the risk of awkward silence. But eventually, the conversations split. The wives are talking to each other now about their favorite baby wrap and if they should vaccinate. That leaves the guys…
So where do you work?
The question gets asked. “Where do you work,” or “what do you do,” or any other variation of the same question. But why? Why is this the “go-to” question for dads (and most men) all across the world? Well… there are a few reasons:
1. I need a change
One reason this question gets asked is because dads aren’t always satisfied with what they’re doing for work, or how much income they’re making. So they ask the other guy as a way to seek opportunity. If this guy is making a ton of money, or doing something interesting, I may want to get to know him a little better, maybe add him on a social media platform, creep on his LinkedIn, exchange numbers, etc. We’re dads, we’re always gonna want to do more and make more for our families, this dad-to-dad networking opportunity could help with that (though rarely ever does).
2. The measuring stick
Another reason this question gets asked is because of our natural male competitive instincts. We may be wanting to size up against the other male at the table and see who is faster, better, stronger, or in this case, more successful (richer). This isn’t combative or rude. As a matter of fact, it’s very silent and personal and this isn’t always the reason the question gets asked, but can be a motive.
3. Small talk
Typically, within the first few minutes of meeting the other dad, you know if this is going to be a long lasting relationship, or if this is the first and last time you go to dinner with each other. If it’s the latter, you have one goal and one goal only – get through dinner. That’s where this question can come in handy. As I’ve gotten older and my jobs have become harder to explain, I usually have to make a decision. Do I take time to talk about what I’m doing which can lead to longer conversations or do I give a very generic, high-level description of what I do? Something like ‘I work for a tech company’. I usually make this decision based on how I view my relationship with other dad panning out. But this question gives you the flexibility to decide how long you want the conversation to go.
And there you have it, “where do you work?” The default dad-to-dad question. Next time you’re at dinner and the conversations split between the moms and the dads, think of me, think of this post. 😀