What do you do for a living?

“What do you do for a living?”

The question was simple, but it seemed to have brought about a fury of emotions inside me and I couldn’t quite define them into words to answer his question. He was looking at me in confusion as though I was about to burst into tears. Looking at his face I realized that some of the inner turmoil was probably reflected on my face and I replied in a quiet voice:

“I work in a large corporation.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, they seemed insufficient to the question that had been asked. I quickly added:

“My job is in customer support. Whenever anyone needs anything, they dial for me. Like an in-house call center if that makes sense to you.”

He was not sure how to react. I could see the battle in his mind: “Should I say, that sounds interesting?” or “Should I further question as to the decision for taking up this position?” I was vaguely surprised when he looked enquiringly at me and murmured:

“And you like it?”

It seemed like I would drown under the weight of this question. “Of course I didn’t like it. It was supposed to be a temporary job. Even I didn’t know how I had spent almost five years doing it. It didn’t even pay enough to make me want to stay?” I was again lost in my thoughts. He might have guessed what was going through my mind because he suggested:

“You want a smoke?”

I nodded thinking, it couldn’t hurt.


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