Monday, June 9, 2008

How's businesss?

Whenever I see friends or acquaintances at social occasions, I'm usually asked "How's business?", and I never quite know how to answer.

On the one hand, the question is kind of like "How are you?", a question we ask each other every day without really caring about the answer, so the correct response is "fine," whether you are or not. So in this case, the answer to "How's business?" is "great" or "fine." But is that the right thing to do?

When I was in my 20s and working freelance or on contract, I always said business was great, because you don't want anyone to think you're not doing well. At that age, one does not ever admit shortcomings. Life is perfect, just like in the magazines and in movies, and if you're unhappy/alone/out of work/etc., you'd never admit it.

In my 30s, as I got more experienced and more mature, I began to tell people that things were less than perfect. Some admissions are easy -- Raising babies is hard and I'm tired, I can't afford the home I want, I'm out of shape -- these are common social complaints that actually can bond you with others in the same situation. You have a reason for parts of your life not being perfect -- you're 30-something with kids.

But with business, it still took a while for me to admit when business wasn't great, but lately I've started to come up with better answers. Like "I'm having a slow quarter", or "I could be busier", or "I'm looking for some new projects now." I find this way the people I network with, whether business or personal, will know that I'm open to new challenges. Still, it is admitting a failing on my part, and it takes a certain ego to do that, something I only have on odd days of the week.

It can also come off as whining, I guess. I'll have to think about this one some more. How's your business going?

1 comment:

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