This thread has been an interesting read.
I agree to an extent. Perhaps the initial question of what you do for a living is not the point to turn away from the conversation, but rather the follow up question is more crucial - i.e. what is her (/his) underlying intention in asking you about what you do for a living? I personally think intentions are usually good and that its a way of starting a dialogue, but the question is usually framed poorly. I prefer to ask something more vague, along the lines of "What do you do with your time?" or the even more vague "What's your story?". Does anyone else approach this differently?
Oh so true. It's not easy to paint yourself in a positive light when you're out of work. Often, there is nothing wrong with being unemployed. Sometimes people need a break or whatever. I've done it, and I can say dating gets a little more difficult, just because of this damn question...
Once again, I agree to an extent, but would rather phrase the question differently to eliminate money (i.e. "a living") from the equation.