‘Ick’: 29-year-old blasts Australian work norm

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“What do you do for a living?”

In Australia, the question “What do you do for a living?” is a classic icebreaker, right next to “How good is the weather?”

However, one Australian woman sparked a debate by expressing her frustration with the question.

Llani Belle, 29, from Queensland, explained on social media that she believes this question is not normal.

Ms Belle said she knew the question was sometimes asked without any malicious intent, but she felt it was often asked so that people could “judge you” and she was no longer willing to answer the question.

“I just decided that my only answer to that question going forward would be to do my best,” she said.

Ms. Belle is all for “women empowerment” and doesn’t want to downplay her success. She is proud of everything she has accomplished and the fact that she makes six figures a year, but she wants to get away from the hustle culture and being defined by a job.

“I just want to be less identified with my career,” she told news.com.au.

According to Ms Belle, Australians “focus too much” on people’s career choices and treat each person differently depending on their profession.

While on the surface this sounds like a question you’d ask when you’re desperate for something to talk about, Ms Belle believes it’s also an easy way for people to determine whether someone is worth talking to.

If you ask someone what they do for a living, you can also guess which tax bracket they fall into and therefore which class they belong to.

Ms. Belle has worked as a real estate agent in luxury real estate and for influencer Kayla Itsines’ fitness app Sweat. She has always felt that her career sounds cool in a social setting and she doesn’t like the way she is treated because of it.

“I’ve always had a very impressive career, but I still don’t enjoy the conversations about it and the way I’m treated has changed after I said what company I work for,” she said.

The young Australian said she noticed how “people’s eyes light up” when she mentioned what she does for a living.

“That’s because there’s a lot of money involved and people’s opinions change,” she explained.

It’s not a reaction she likes.

“It disgusts me that people treat me differently because of my profession,” she said.

Ms. Belle experiences this in her social environment when one of her friends, who works full-time as a barista, reveals what he does for a living.

“People turn up their noses at him,” she said.

She finds such reactions “yuck” and is unimpressed when people are overly enthusiastic about her career because she feels it reinforces the idea that one’s worth should be determined by how much one earns or what one does.

“I judge people by whether they are good people or not. I have met successful people who are terrible,” she said.

She hopes this question won’t be asked as often as Generation Z and Millennials are beginning to reject career culture.

“We’re coming out of this phase of hustle culture and people want to have a life and a job. As we move away from that, I would like to see the conversations focus more on our lives,” she explained.

People on the Internet were quick to comment on Ms. Belle’s job question.

“I absolutely believe this is about judging and categorizing you based on your job,” one person wrote.

“How you spend your time is a better question,” shared another.

“This will determine how much respect they have for you,” said another.

“Personal questions are considered small talk in Australia. I can’t stand that. I will not answer your question and change the subject. That’s how I do it,” claimed another.

“Personally, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking something like that. If you do, the problem is with you. Maybe it’s a job you’re embarrassed about, or no job at all,” wrote one.

“Only people who contribute [nothing] “People who face society don’t like to answer this question. Our work clearly defines us because we dedicate most of our lives to it,” said one.


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