Every person living in DC has at least three distinct identities. I’ve lamented about how people here love talking about their jobs, making a bore out of themselves and your happy hour. So this may seem like a direct contradiction to what I wrote in that post. But it’s true.
Take, for example, BBB’s photographer, Steve: To his co-workers he’s an IT director who knows how to fix shit. To his friends, he’s a kick-ass photographer who makes everybody look like rockstars in his pictures. And in another circle, he’s a motorcycle enthusiast with a sweet ride. There are people like Steve everywhere in the city and its surrounding areas (in fact, “the DC Metropolitan Area” also has three identities: DC, Maryland, Virginia.) All you have to do is look, listen and ask.
Your single-mom co-worker may also be a founder of a nonprofit organization with an alter-ego as a graffiti artist. Or that law student you met at a party is also a ukulelist who posts videos of her singing pop songs on Youtube and a blogger. Both, people I know, by the way.
People like these are the reason why I love this city. I know I probably sound like some motivational speaker telling you that we’re all unique fucking snowflakes, but to an extent, it’s true. We all eat, sleep, fuck, shit and die, but what we do in between, it’s all pretty cool. It’s all you.
That’s why I hate so much when people insist on talking about their jobs. Just like the people above, we all have three mutually exclusive identities at least. Even though, we can be one without the others, they still somehow combine to make us unique individuals.
Maybe we’re afraid that people won’t “get it.” Or maybe there’s so much pressure at work for all of us that we convince ourselves that if we’re not thinking and talking about work all the time, our cube-mate will take that promotion we’ve been waiting for. Or maybe we think that people won’t find our other identities interesting or worthwhile. I don’t know.
Since we launched BBB, I’ve met many incredible people with very cool identities, including our bachelorette Rachel, awesome cook/baker, athlete and the first volunteer for our BBB-Match-DateLab experiment. And I’m expecting to meet more at our next party.
I guess this post isn’t so much of a contradiction to the previous post (linked in first paragraph), but rather a reinforcement of its message. Stop talking about your jobs and stop asking people about theirs.
I’m a writer, a corporate monkey and an immigrant. What are your three lives?
- Eric Wang