Saturday, August 30, 2008

You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet.

Why is it that when we meet people, the first (or close to the first) thing they ask is "what do you do for a living?" or, on occasion, "What do your parents do for a living?" When we introduce ourselves to people and they ask the horrid question of "tell me a little about yourself" why is the answer always "I'm a (fill in the blank with job title here)"?

This societal ritual makes me very uncomfortable, especially because I have what people perceive to be a 'boring' job. There are disinterested nods and glazed-over expressions. The image that pops into their head is inevitably this or something very much like it:


The thing is, I love my job and I get very tired of defending it. I'm even abused for my job by OTHER ACCOUNTANTS because I chose tax as my specialty. I considered not even putting my actual job in the profile of this blog for fear of losing readers.

Should I stop introducing myself as an accountant so I don't have to deal with this problem?

"Hi, I'm Jen. I enjoy photography in all forms, decoupage, science fiction and drama shows, cult movies, indie and punk music, museums, and my newest passion, blogging. Also, I work at a Big 4 CPA firm." and then segue into a discussion of how I made my coffee table, brilliant!

... that sounds infinitely better than "I'm Jen, a tax accountant...(blank stares)... but I really love my job! It's so interesting! Really!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!"

Does anyone else have this or a similar problem? What do you do when faced with job judgmentalists?


  1. Awesome post. It's so true. People get so tied up in the wrong things. And the older I get, the more I find that a well stocked resume does NOT equal an interesting personality.

    p.s. The classes haven't started yet, but I have high hopes!

  2. i know this is HIGHLY unrelated, but high five to the indie music-liking!
    i'm gonna start following your blog, by the way :)

  3. Ooh, just had to reply to this one too.... This has been a huge problem for me because I've been on disability for the past couple of years. DC is one of the worst places possible for getting the "What do you do" question within the first 5 minutes of a new conversation, and what happens when your answer is "nothing"?

    No answers to your question, sadly. Mostly I just had to get that off my chest!


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