The Question Miami Locals Never Ask
It’s never all that difficult to tell the long-time locals from the tourists and newcomers around here. Tourists have sunburns, locals have tans. Tourists look happy to be here, locals look aggravated and beat down. Tourists are drunk. Locals are on hard drugs. But there is one question that when asked immediately gives away that you have resided in Dade County less than a year. And that question is “What do you do?”
WHAT YOU “DO” IN MIAMI IS NEVER A SIMPLE ANSWER
In most of the country, this question passes for small talk. Like “How are you?” or “How was your colonoscopy?” But in Miami, it’s not something anyone local ever asks. Ever. So when you hear somebody ask you this question within ten minutes of meeting you, the next thing out of your mouth is, “Ha. And how long have you been living here?” Because no self-respecting Miamian ever wants this question brought up in conversation.
There are a few reasons for this. First, Miami is a city where there’s a lot of people doing a lot of shady things. So your average low-level drug runner doesn’t particularly want the subject of occupation brought up in conversation. “What do I do? I’m, uh, in the import-export business.” Yeah, because nobody’s gonna figure out immediately what THAT means.
WE DON’T DEFINE OURSELVES BY HOW WE MAKE OUR MONEY
Second, for all the complaints about people trying to show off and be impressive here, no local is ever impressed by anyone’s job. Oh, you’re a surgeon? That’s cute. I work at a cell phone store and still live with my parents. And I’m still better than you. So unless your job title is “Starting Small Forward for the Miami Heat,” your fancy impressive job title is impressing exactly no one.
Third, unlike most of America, Miamians do not define ourselves by our jobs. A funny aspect of American culture as that we often describe who we are in terms of what we do. Like oh, “I’m a lawyer.” Or , “Yeah, I’m an Investment Brokering System Leveraging Analyst.” Never “I’m a golfer”, or ”I’m a guy who enjoys cooking. “ Kind of sad that we’ve come to a point that everything outside of work no longer defines us, but Miami’s not like that. Miami is a place where we work to live, not live to work. So whatever job we do to make enough money to live in this little slice of paradise, it doesn’t matter. It’s just how you pay your bills not who you are.
ITS ONLY WHAT YOU DO UNTIL YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING ELSE
Finally, on a similar note, this place is incredibly transient. So whatever job you have is probably not one you’ll hold very long. Career-driven people will likely move to another city if they want to advance. And most long-term locals are not concerned with what their “career” is anyway, but rather with their quality of life. So if another job that suits us better comes along, we’ll take it. Again, what we do for work is wholly irrelevant.
Miamians, for all our obvious flaws, at least understand that life is far more important than a job. To us, a job is just what you do to live this lifestyle. So if you come to Miami don’t ask “What do you do?” Many of us won’t even think you’re talking about work and respond with “Go to the beach and bike in the Everglades.” Or “Only the good stuff.” And even those who are familiar with this brand of small talk have an answer we’d rather not delve into. So make like a local. Never concern yourself with the work you do to live here, and just enjoy all the fun things this city has to offer.
You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
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"The Question Miami Locals Never Ask"