Best Responses for Awkward Questions

AlmostProductiveI’m shockingly social (for me) these days. I’m meeting new people—even networking every once in a while. I know. It’s clear that I’ve finally gone around the bend.

As this insanity appears to be part of the “new me,” I think I need to come up with a better response to a couple of awkward questions—the worst of which is “So, what are you working on?”

Better networkers can spin every assignment into a dream job with endless prospects. The response I’d most like to give is “failing at everything?”

No, I don’t think I’m failing at everything, but in pressure situations where I have to make writing about sequined wands sound fabulous (don’t ask); I like to fall back on humor. Also, it tends to allow me to turn the conversation back to the person I’m talking to, which is far more comfortable for me. Alas, that’s not the best networking tool, and if someone doesn’t know you they begin to worry that they have accidentally engaged in conversation with someone who is suicidal. So, not the most upbeat impression to leave.

I’m proud of the projects I’ve been working on—that’s not the problem. The problem seems to be getting by my reluctance to sound like a promotional poster. It just doesn’t feel real to me. So, I fall back on mumbling and boring people (and I do mean boring people—the last time this happened the person literally turned away in the middle of the conversation in what seemed like a desperate hunt for someone more interesting to talk to).

So, how do you do it? How do you strike a balance when answering this kind of question?

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