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Russian Vocabulary: Talking about Your Job

“What do you do?” is one of the most popular questions people ask each other when they first meet. In this post, we learn how to ask this question in Russian—and how to answer it.

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Talking about Your Job in Russian

In Russian, you can use two questions to ask someone about their job:

  • Где ты работаешь? (Gde ty rabotaesh’?) – Where do you work?

  • Кем ты работаешь? (Kem ty rabotaesh’?) – What do you do?

To answer this question, you can simply name your profession, like in the example below.

  • Я врач. (Ya vrach’.) – I’m a doctor.

  • Я работаю учителем. (Ya rabotaiu uchitelem.) – I work as a teacher.

  • Моя профессия дизайнер. (Moya professiya dizainer.) – My profession is designer.

Here is a short list of professions in the Russian language to get you started:

  • Инженер (inzhener) – engineer

  • Журналист (zhurnalist) – journalist

  • Продавец (prodavets) – seller

  • Тренер (trener) – coach

  • Адвокат (advokat) – lawyer

  • Судья (sud’ja) – judge

  • Медсестра (medsestra) – nurse

  • Менеджер (menedjer) – manager

  • Бармен (barmen) – bartender

  • Официант (ofitsiant) – waiter

  • Повар (povar) – cook

  • Бухгалтер (bukhgalter) – accountant

  • Гид (gid) – guide

  • Консультант (konsul’tant) – consultant

  • Водитель (voditel’) – driver

  • Парикмахер (parikmakher) – hairdresser

  • Переводчик (perevodchik) – translator

  • Копирайтер (kopiraiter) – copywriter

  • Полицейский (politseiskii) – police officer

Apart from naming your profession, you can describe where you work:

  • Я работаю в офисе. (Ya rabotaiu v ofise.) – I work at an office.

  • Я работаю в школе. (Ya rabotaiu v shkole.) – I work at a school.

  • Он работает в библиотеке. (On rabotaet v biblioteke.) – He works at the library.

  • Фрилансер работает через интернет. (Frilanser rabotaet cherez internet.) – A freelancer works over the Internet.

  • Профессор работает в университете. (Professor rabotaet v universitete.) – The professor works at the university.

As you can see, the verb “работать” (rabotat’ – to work) is used in nearly all the sentences, so remembering it is half the battle.

More Russian Vocabulary Examples

What if you’re not working, have your own business, or are studying?

If you’re temporarily unemployed, say

  • Я безработный. (Ya bezrabotnyi.) – I’m jobless.

  • Я ищу работу. (Ya ishchiu rabotu.) – I’m looking for a job.

If you’re a homemaker and a woman, say “домохозяйка” (domokhozyaika – housewife). There is no Russian word to describe a male homemaker. You can only say,

  • Он не работает. (On ne rabotaet.) – He doesn’t work.

If you're a businessperson, you can say the following:

  • У меня свой бизнес. (U menya svoi bizness.) – I have my own business.

  • Я владею небольшой компаний. (Ya vladeiu nebol’shoi kompaniei.) – I have a small company.

  • Я владелец крупной компании. (Ya vladelets krupnoi kompanii.) – I am the owner of a large company.

  • Я работаю на себя. (Ya rabotaiu na sebya.) – I’m self-employed.

If you’re a student, you can say where you study:

  • Я учусь в университете. (Ya uchus’ v universitete.) – I study at the university.

  • Я учусь в школе. (Ya uchus’ v shkole.) – I study at school.

  • Я учусь в колледже. (Ya uchus’ v kolledge.) – I study at college.

  • You can also say,

  • Я студент университета. (Ya student universiteta.) – I’m a university student.

  • Я студент колледжа. (Ya student kolledga.) – I’m a college student.

Further Expand Your Russian Vocabulary

Now you can say a couple of sentences about your occupation. Remember, you can describe your place of work or name your profession. Don’t forget to further expand your Russian vocabulary with the help of dictionaries and our teachers, who are always here to help you. Order a lesson to learn Russian with an expert.

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