So, Mr Pierson, what do you do?
If someone asks me this question in a social gathering as a way to start a conversation, they are actually asking: "So, Mr Pierson, tell me about your MC"
According to my answer, they will decide whether it's worth talking more or look for someone else to engage with, and this will have nothing to do with the goodness of my heart or how clever I might be. It's just a question of social status.
As the house system I use is the most commonly used, that is Placidus, the MC is the cusp of the 10th house, and the meaning is the same. As an angle, the MC is more powerful.
Traditionally, the 10th house is the house of career, status and reputation. It also often means the mother, which is a bit baffling for the house naturally associated with Saturn, unless you think that the mother is not only the one who nurtures and cares, but also the one who shapes her child's behavior through demands and interdictions...
It's in fact the shaping function that is represented by the tenth house.
The way we are shaped determines our social status.
We learn our place in society in this first society which is our family; unless we work hard later at changing the one thousands habits we learned as melleable children, we become the kind of citizen which corresponds to the kind of member we were in the family-society. (Nothing is more similar to something than their exact opposite, so if that's your case, there is no contradiction.)
The MC is how we appear from a greater distance. When I was young, growing up in a small town, everyone knew the Doctor Stock. He was the most trusted and the busiest Doctor. He was serious, friendly, competent. Who knew about his moods, tastes, worries, hopes, hobbies? Who knew about his beliefs, his philosophy, his emotions? Most people knew only his MC. He was THE Doctor. He was well loved. He fulfilled his function.
The social roles we play are more than just the jobs we do, they can be anything we are known for. Being a committed activist, the best football player of the local team, the winner of one thousand beauty prizes, the one who is always seen feeding the pigeons and talks to nobody...
If a movie director needs background actors s(he) will define them in MC terms: "Send me three soldiers, a rapper, two cyclists and a beggar!..."
If, in the movie, the three soldiers who first appeared in the background were now interacting with a beautiful girl, the Ascendants would appear. One of the soldier could be cheeky, another play wingman and the third wait for his moment. The girl could be flirtatious or reserved, friendly or haugthy... We now see less of the MCs and more of the ACs.
In sociology, role theory considers that most everyday activities are actually nothing but acting out roles (mother, teacher, waiter, CEO...) Once the role is known, the behavior can easily be predicted.
Whether we fit into the mould or don't is a MC problem. If we don't, we fall into another category... We can be a rebel, an artist, a fool, a special need... I keep using labels. Saturn is the natural ruler of this house associated with Capricorn. It's all shapes and structures. You're heart is in Leo and the fifth house, if you've managed to channel it here, well done, not everybody does! You may have to tie a knot around your neck every morning. Maybe you have to wear ugly black shoes that hurt your feet. I never wear suit and ties, but now, I'm a Pisces MC. I hate tight shoes and ties.
Our role, our social status can be subtle as well. In a group of humans, we can be a leader or a follower, an eccentric, a neither dominant nor submissive, or an outcast, a scapegoat...
Such roles exist in the animal kingdom as well, as a deer or a wolf you can be an alpha male or female, or a beta one, but you see, I'm still talking in terms of labels and categories...
To know more about all that, it's time to take sociology classes.
Group dynamics and role theories should be the most relevant subjects..