May I vent with you, good people? Thanks because, I just couldn’t let another minute go by today without commenting on the annoying U.S. custom of identifying oneself by one’s occupation.
Here’s an example. It’s all about egos, insecurity, you dig? OK, well, dig this scene at a dinner party, sometime after the appetizers have been served:
Woman #1: “So, I’m in sales. I love to make people break until they give in to me. What’s your line of work, by the way?”
Woman #2: “I’m a postal employee.”
Woman #1: “Oh. And what do you really want to be doing? I can’t imagine you in one of those uniforms, girl! I mean, after all —” (She’s saved from making additional asinine remarks by the entree being served.)
Woman #2: (Rolls eyes)
We are not what we do. It’s none of anyone’s business how we earn our money—and if we earn any at all. Of course, if a superficial person wishes to self-identify that way, let him/her. But he/she has no right to force that foolishness on another’s psyche. It shouldn’t matter if the person you’re schmoozing with at a private or public event is a computer technician, a janitor, an executive, a call girl or a pimp. Who cares!
God bless the child who’s got his or her own—and who has the tact not to challenge another’s dignity. Perhaps I’m a bit sensitive on this topic because I’ve been unemployed for several months now. Facing hardship in such a rotten economy, I’m not exactly tickled when a recruiter chides me with: “Chantale, you’re simply asking for too much money.”
If my rent, utility bills, credit card bills, and the occasional mani and pedi require me to earn an annual salary thousands less than what I desire, then, heck no, I will not accept only enough to scrape by. However, that’s exactly what I’m being told to do: undersell my talents, my skills, my intellectual capital. I am not my occupation, but I do know who I am. Thus, I have the confidence and inner strength to ask to be paid what those talents, skills and that intellectual capital demand in our capitalistic society of the twenty-first century.
So, for now, when I’m at some shindig, and someone asks me what I do, I’ll just say with a plateful of sass: “I do me. You do you.” Then keep it moving.