Erika Ettin column: Your work isn't your whole life

Erika Ettin helps people navigate the world of online dating.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.

While browsing through recently, I came across a profile for a man with an attractive main photo. Thinking this could possibly be a good match for a client, I clicked through the other pictures. While I thought he was normal (always important) and handsome, his photos were all standard headshots that didn’t tell me much about his interests or hobbies.

As I started reading his bio, he started with common remarks about growing up in the area and mentioned his job. But then he kept talking about his work — being at the same company for a number of years and often spending long days at the office. He didn’t even seem like he was passionate about this job — or honestly, he didn’t sound like he even enjoyed it! But still, this man rambled about his career for an entire paragraph … about half of the entirety of his bio. (It was a long paragraph!)

I’m not sure if this man thought that talking about his job made him sound hard-working and financially secure, which are two traits that would seem appealing about a potential partner. However, to me, his profile made him sound unfulfilled, uninteresting and maybe even too busy to dedicate time to a new relationship.

This man is not alone. I often see profiles that make it seem like someone wakes up, works, then goes back to sleep. Where’s the fun there? And the time to date?


Everyone’s work plays a big role in who they are. After all, most of us spend at least 40 hours per week (or oftentimes, more) at our jobs. It’s what we are experts in and how a lot of our time is spent. After sleeping, it’s probably what you spend the most time doing in a standard week.

But here’s the thing: A job doesn’t define you. People change jobs all the time, whether just switching companies or getting a promotion or going back to school to study something completely different. That doesn’t mean you are a new person.

Sure, you may not play golf 40 hours per week — and most of us definitely don’t get paid for being good at it — but if that’s something you enjoy, it means more than the time you spend at the office doing a job simply because you have to pay the bills. In fact, if someone writes in their profile that they like playing golf, it tells the reader a few things: that they’re active, likely enjoy the outdoors, and are usually pretty social.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t mention your work in your profile, especially if it’s something that you’re truly passionate about. For example, many teachers feel their careers are just as much a calling as a job. Keeping with this example, an educator could write something like this in his or her dating profile: “I’m currently fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a teacher, where I get to mold young minds … and sometimes even join in a game of four square at recess.” It tells people what you do and shows that your job is more than just showing up to collect a paycheck.

There’s no doubt that a career plays a big part in a person’s life (it certainly does for me), and it’s wonderful when someone finds a job they truly enjoy and blends well with who they are. But when it comes to dating profiles, share more about what makes you … well, you. A job can be a part of that, but so can that one vacation you take per year or the people you most look forward to spending time with.

At the end of the day, do you most look forward to a holiday with family and friends or a Monday morning meeting with your coworkers?

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. ©2020 Erika Ettin Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Related Topics: FAMILY
What To Read Next
Old-Fashioned Beer Beef Stew and Beer Chocolate Cake hit the spot.
With its soft and gooey center surrounded by a crisp exterior, kladdkaka is the perfect cross between a brownie and a molten lava cake.
Members Only
In the hours before dog teams arrived, a John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon checkpoint in Grand Marais became a buzzing hive of activity. "It's like a family reunion," said one volunteer.
As I get older, isn’t it only natural that my coffee mug collection continues to expand? Isn’t a cupboard bursting with mugs a sign of a life well-lived?