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What do you do


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28 replies to this topic

#1 Mr_Freeware

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:34 PM

I want to know if anyone else is bothered by the question "What do you do? (for a living)". Asking someone how much money they make is off limits. Its rude they say. Well by asking someone what they do, one can get a good estimate of how much they earn.

The big problem is that I'm sure not everyone is proud of what they do. At least I'm not. Its easy for someone with a good job to be eager to tell everyone about it and start asking you what your job is.

What if someone tells you that they are a pilot, engineer, doctor, etc. then asks about you and you have to follow that up with garbageman, bus driver, delivery driver. What would you think if you were in that situation.

I hate how game shows always ask people that. As if someones occupation is their main identity. As if it defines them sums up all you need to know. I do not like that at all. There is so much more to people than that. When I meet people, I think things like republican or democrat. What are their interests, age, etc. I do wonder what they do only because I am interested in what jobs are out there but I vowed to myself that I will never ask.

What do you think?

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#2 rangecoach

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 01:27 PM

It really doesn't bother me when people ask what I do for a living. If it's someone that I don't really know or get a "warm fuzzy feeling" about, I just tell them that "I work". I agree that asking how much a person makes is of limits. When someone asks me, I tell them that I'm working on my second million....I just don't tell them that I gave up on the first!!
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#3 jgweed

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 05:59 PM

I always assume that if someone wants to tell me what they do for a living, they will bring it up during the conversation.
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#4 MaraM

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 06:11 PM

And when one does ask, a simply reply such as, "I do work - and you?" with a bright smile ... and have rarely met anyone who couldn't wait to tell me they all about their career.

But I chose to leave a career and become a city bus driver (loved it!) and honestly believe that it's not the name of the job one has, it's how well one does any job.

People that ask these type of questions are usually 'just making conversation' but I agree - huh duh to them! Especially the ones that ask, 'How many children do you have?'. Cripes, ask that of a woman who buried her only child a couple months before - or one who who has been trying to conceive for years. Geesh.
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#5 Zllio

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 03:40 AM

And when one does ask, a simply reply such as, "I do work - and you?" with a bright smile ... and have rarely met anyone who couldn't wait to tell me they all about their career.

But I chose to leave a career and become a city bus driver (loved it!) and honestly believe that it's not the name of the job one has, it's how well one does any job.

People that ask these type of questions are usually 'just making conversation' but I agree - huh duh to them! Especially the ones that ask, 'How many children do you have?'. Cripes, ask that of a woman who buried her only child a couple months before - or one who who has been trying to conceive for years. Geesh.



Mara,

I like your answer, that it's not the name of the job but how well one does it, and I loved it that you became a city bus driver! Cool!

I also understand why Mr. Freeware is bothered by the question "what do you do". It is often asked to make polite conversation, because it shows an interest in the other person, however, there is a stigma attached to the question itself, because it is often used to gather a type of information which allows the asker to classify a person into "someone who needs to be respected" or "someone it's okay to look down on" or "someone I could be buddies with" or "someone I should fear". It's a question which calls forth a class-consciousness that no one wants to admit exists and also brings out the worst in our attachment to clichés, for instance, that a librarian might be a stick in the mud with a full program of sexual fantasies going on in the background, or that someone in show business is bound to have drinking problems.

To Mr. Freeman I would simply say that all forms of work are a contribution, and having pride in one's work comes about, just as Mara said, by striving to become the best you can be in whatever you are able (or are given or have the opportunity) to contribute. Whether a garbage man or a president, the way you act towards the people with whom you are in immediate contact determines how you will influence the whole of life, not just your own life.

If you are a garbage man and someone asks you what you do, tell them that you're a garbage man and that you never expected to be a garbage man, that you've learned a lot about smell and that you had no idea before you started what an incredible organizational aspect of the human race this is. Then you can launch into a historical description of how the ancient Egyptians got rid of their garbage, cleaned their streets and got rid of their sewage. The person you are talking to will be so stunned, he will forget that it is his task to maintain class consciousness and will go home and Google garbage.

There is no easy way to remove class consciousness, only work to undo the ignorance of it every single day.

Zllio

#6 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 01:04 AM

:thumbsup: I very much like this thread! Very thoughtful posts from all of you!

A more polite form of topic opener would be, "What things have most interested you in the course of your life?" Then, a person could choose whether or not to bring up one's occupation.

As a person who has been to law school but chose not to take the bar because of health concerns, I heard a lot of people complain about dishonest and unethical and litigious shysters. There are certainly plenty of those to go around. I live in one of the 2 more litigious states in the U.S. (California). However, there are a lot of lawyers who have found ways to make decent livings by protecting the public interest, whether in private practice pursuing consumer protections, having a small private practice and doing some pro bono work, filing class action lawsuits, donating or working full time for social reform organizations, of various persuasions and philosophies, working as a public servant, etc., etc.

And as you folks pointed out previously, there are a lot of misconceptions and unfounded prejudices out there.

I am now on disability again, and, due to my age, it looks like I will not be working for pay ever again. I hope to be doing volunteer work again in a few months, a few hours a week. But if you mention disability, people want to know what the disability is. They get pretty nosy. They even have some pretty far-fetched ideas.

#7 Andrew

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:40 PM

When I'm asked, I simply state that for my living, that is to say my "job" as it were, my primary responibilities include: showing up, working a bit, drinking coffee, and leaving before security escorts me out.

Edited by Amazing Andrew, 23 December 2008 - 08:40 PM.


#8 athelos

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 06:35 PM

I can never understand these sorts of questions and why people get offended by them. If I were to ask what someone does for a living its all about the conversation, usually the icebreaker with someone that I dont know. I then have follow up questions about the job as I like to take an interest in what people do. Its not the question thats rude, its whether the person asking is rude. I had my GP ask me where I work before and I told him that I work for the post office. He then asked whether I delivered the mail or sorted it and I told him that I was a counter clerk/subpostmasters assistant. I thought he was just making conversation and was fine with it. However, after I told him my job title he turned round and said "Oh, youve got brains then." I completely ripped into him told him that I was good friends with the postmen/woman that collected for us and he shouldnt be such an arrogant p**ck. I no longer have him as my GP.

Its the same as the wage question. Why is this rude? I dont care how much people earn and I very rarely ask the question. But I'm not going to look down on someone if they earn less than me and anyone whos about to say thats easy for me to say if im getting a decent wage can stop because I'm earning minimum wage. Again its not the question thats rude its whether or not the person whos asking it is going to judge the whole persons life and attributes on how much this person is worth.

Same again with age. Its just a number! Your only as young as you feel in my mind but why do people get annoyed if you ask this question?
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#9 Queen-Evie

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 07:07 PM

My reply to someone who asks me:

I am a chef,, and can also be a short-order cook.
A taxi-driver, teacher, nurse (or sometimes a doctor), accountant, referee, mechanic, plumber, electrician.

I wear many hats. And I wear them proudly. I work every day, I wake up and hit the ground running.
I get no money from my job, I get no vacations, I'm on call 24/7-365 days a year.
But the benefits have been great.

#10 rangecoach

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 08:35 PM

My reply to someone who asks me:

I am a chef,, and can also be a short-order cook.
A taxi-driver, teacher, nurse (or sometimes a doctor), accountant, referee, mechanic, plumber, electrician.

I wear many hats. And I wear them proudly. I work every day, I wake up and hit the ground running.
I get no money from my job, I get no vacations, I'm on call 24/7-365 days a year.
But the benefits have been great.


Mom??? :thumbsup: What are you doing on this forum?? :flowers:
The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.

You are never defeated until you admit it. Gen. Patton

#11 Poppy32174

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 02:44 PM

First, I tell them I'm retired. Then I tell them. That's on a need to know basis and you don't need to know... :thumbsup:
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#12 KoanYorel

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 02:57 PM

Too Funny there Poppy...

You left out - If I told you, I'd have to kill you.... ha ha ha
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#13 Poppy32174

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 04:11 PM

That's Right Koan... :thumbsup:
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#14 rangecoach

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 12:02 PM

- If I told you, I'd have to kill you....


And we know more ways to kill you than you know ways to die!
:thumbsup:
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You are never defeated until you admit it. Gen. Patton

#15 DnDer

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 12:59 PM

Why bother taking the high road? Be passive-aggressive and inflate your job titles and responsibilities. You're not a "garbage man," you're a "sanitation engineer." And you're responsible for, "refuse reclamation and disposal."

If you can sell it, they'll be blown away by your actual job duties. You just have to make it sound right, without making it sound like you just pulled it off a resume site. It'll help put down those jerks at the reunion who said you'd never amount to anything. :thumbsup:




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