Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Looking Back

This post is a part of 20SB’s Looking Back Blog Carnival, and Ben & Jerry’s is awarding free ice cream to lucky bloggers and readers! Here is me last August, ranting and raving about people judging me based on my job...

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. Hopefully by now you're more confident in telling people what you do for a living. I'd tell them who you work for and not what you do--I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who watch the PGA Tour and see marketing materials for E&Y yet have no clue what your firm actually does.

  2. I just mainly tire of people not knowing what GIS is and constantly berating/questioning me about my choice of majors in college. People that truly understand what I do think that my job is boring too. I know where you are coming from.

  3. My problem is more in the other direction: I wish people would be less interested in my job.

    Them: What do you do?

    Me: I work at the library.

    Them: Oh, really, what do you do there?

    Me: ...I put books on shelves in alphabetical order. I am the lowest man on the totem pole. A trained monkey could do my job, and if they ever figure that out I'll be out on the street. But it sounds way better and more professional when I say, "I work at the library," so can't we just leave it at that for once, you inquisitive S.O.B.?



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