This past weekend, my wife and I watched Moonrise Kingdom. Toward the beginning of the movie, Edward Norton's character is asked what his job is (he's serving as a scout master for the summer). His reply:
“I’m a math teacher, but I’m a scout master on the side… no I take that back. I’m a scout master, and math teacher on the side."
Brilliant. With a quick turn of phrase, priorities are shifted and dreams are born.
What do you do for a living? The next time you're asked this question, answer it with the thing that makes you come alive most.
Even if you're not paying the rent by writing or designing or consulting or speaking or teaching, tell the person asking what makes your heart sing. They're not some investigative journalist and they won't subpoena your employment records.
Who cares if you have some day job you don't love? If I'm asking you this question, that's not really what I'm after. Tell me the work that you think best defines you, that you want me to ask more questions about, and that fuels you on your quest to be who you want to be.
Sometimes, the small difference between your side job and your real job is really just in your own head.