A couple weeks ago I was thinking about how when we meet someone and do the typical introduction and small talk, we almost always ask, “So what do you do?” To which the person usually responds, “Oh I’m a (insert job title here).”
I probably thought about it because I’ve been introducing myself as “a student journalist at ASU,” so much lately for interviews, and it feels weird because I don’t identify myself as “a journalist” in real life.
I am not a journalist. I am a human, and I do journalism. I’m more than a job title or career. There’s so much more to all of us.
Anyways, I haven’t decided yet if it’s the question that bothers me because it implies, ‘How do you make your living?’ or if it’s the response that starts with “I am a ….”
I guess it’s both.
I guess I’m slightly bothered that so much of who we are seems to be judged by our occupations. And of course those are important parts of our lives, I understand that. But it feels like as soon as you let the person know you’re a lawyer or a drive-thru attendant, an instant perception of who you are is made.
And I think it’s wrong.
I don’t think what we do entirely constitutes for who we are.
Who we are as human beings on this earth should be dependent on so many other things, and we should all seek to know and understand each other and ourselves for that matter, on a deeper level.
Instead of what do you do, I wish it were more natural to ask ‘What are your passions or hobbies? What inspires you?’
A couple weeks ago I had a professor say something along the lines of so-and-so didn’t go to college and work hard and now they work at a fast food joint flipping burgers, with a chuckle of superiority to go along with it.
And it really, truly offended me.
There are so many reasons why a person could work at a fast food restaurant, and whether it’s because they flunked high school, just got out of jail, or just really have a passion for fast food, I don’t think we have the authority to place ourselves in a position to judge.
And to go even further – What does it matter they flip burgers? Why is that inferior? Whether they’re doing it because they didn’t want to study and get into college or they have to make ends meet for their family, it just doesn’t matter.
The only thing I think should matter is whether or not someone’s a good person. Which is an even longer conversation because what makes a good person? I honestly believe it’s just having good intentions. Even if you make awful mistakes… if you have good intentions and you try to contribute positively to the world, I think you’re good. And that matters so much more to me than your job title.
And I honestly don’t hate this teacher. I don’t even dislike the teacher because I know I make over-generalized comments too. None of us are perfect or politically correct all the time.
That’s not even what this is about. It’s just about being compassionate and understanding of our own privilege.
If you have been so lucky to attend college, even if you are paying for it on your own or worked your butt off to get a full-ride, it’s foolish to think you’ve done anything entirely on your own.
We are all a result of our work ethic, yes, but also of our environment and atmosphere and people we were raised with.
It’s really sad when snap judgements are made because I think they perpetuate unnecessary stereotypes.
No matter what job we have or aspire to have, we are humans above all else.
We are complicated and complex and beautiful. And we are certainly more than the job titles we hold.