Talking Shop

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The official definition:  “discuss matters concerning one’s work, especially at a social occasion when this is inappropriate.”

Having completed a recent business trip back home, I made an interesting observation. I had a chance to spend time with family, both on my husband’s side as well as my own.  I realized that I rarely talk about my job with relatives at gatherings. They rarely talk about their jobs with me. When you think about the amount of time we spend at the office, it would seem natural to share what we do and compare ‘war’ stories with one another. But mostly we discuss things like travel, our kids, or the new big item we just purchased on Amazon.  I don’t think it’s necessarily that people don’t care what we do for a living, but rather our own assumption that they aren’t interested.  We, ourselves, don’t ask our fadult about their jobs, even though I’m sure they would LOVE to share the details (or not!), but we refrain from asking because we think they don’t really want to talk about work nonsense. Maybe we think we’re boasting if we do.

With all that said, here’s a recent example of how this I trumped this theory.  I had not seen a my cousin Frank in ages. Possibly 10+ years. I had the pleasure of visiting with him over New Years. He was so fascinating to talk to. His area is in professional training both in the corporate sector and academia. Now he’s executive director at a non profit. I so enjoyed talking with him about topics such as innovation in STEM for kids and his involvement in various program development efforts.  I shared some of my similar experiences with him as well.  We really had this great connection and we have continued to keep tabs with each other on our career endeavors over the last several months.

There is so much more we can learn about our family members by what they do in their day jobs but we actually have to ask. Suddenly you will see an entirely different side of someone, a deeper layer of their being that adds substance beyond the normal small talk.  It’s not to say that those other topics aren’t interesting or important, but maybe going the extra mile to learn a little more about that person through their daily grind.  Especially if it’s something they’re super passionate about.  What’s your take on this? Am I way off?  Would love to hear your thoughts!