Often, I get asked the question, "what do you do?" My immediate response used to be 1 of 3 standard answers: (1) I'm a Doctoral Student (recently graduated so can't say this anymore), (2) I coach girls basketball (the girls are now in 8th grade and do not require my coaching anymore), and (3) I work at a Tax and Accounting Firm (still do, but contract work).
If I replied to the question with number 2 or 3, the conversation normally went down a rainbow-filled kind of happy path, that led to discussion about sports, children, taxes, or some other non-depressing topic. However, if I replied to an individual using answer number 1, 60% of the time, the conversation went something like this:
"What are you studying?"- Management of Homeland Security with an emphasis in Human Trafficking.
"Wow- Homeland Security. What do you mean human trafficking? Like, the stuff you hear about happening overseas?" - Yes and No. I specifically focus on domestic minor human trafficking. Meaning children under the age of 18. Children from America, being sold in America.
***At this point, most conversations went 1 of 3 ways: (1) I can't believe that happens here. - Convo over; (2) That's depressing; I don't want to hear about that.- Convo over; or (3) Wait, you mean this is happening in America? What do you mean?- Convo continues.
After being shut down in conversation, I have since learned to filter what comes out of my mouth and to get to know the individual a little before 'going down the dark and depressing conversational path.' At the same time, I need to remember that while human trafficking can be depressing . . . it's happening and people need to realize life isn't always filled with dancing unicorns and rainbows. It may be a depressing topic, but someone has to talk about it.