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To ask whether you judge someone based on their occupation?

(389 Posts)
lushilaoshi Mon 29-Jun-15 21:58:36

I am sometimes judged (I think) a bit harshly based on my occupation. It can be a bit of a conversation killer, sometimes.

So without revealing yet what I actually do, if I were to say (for instance) that I am a City lawyer, what assumptions would you make about me? Would you take an instant dislike? Versus if I were to tell you that I am, for example, a languages teacher?

I think I can predict some answers, but I am curious about what characteristics are attributed to certain occupations, and whether justified. And in particular, whether gender makes any difference to your judgement?

Suefla62 Mon 29-Jun-15 22:02:57

Who likes lawyers, city or otherwise, and a language teacher (not in a real school) I'm ambivalent about. A language teacher in a real secondary school has my admiration, because anyone who is a teacher these days deserves admiration with all the crap they have to put up with.

TheEmpressofBlandings Mon 29-Jun-15 22:11:23

I think it's an inevitable part of human nature that you make some judgements about people you meet based on information you find out about them.
I'm struggling to think of an occupation that would make me judge someone particularly harshly though...

manicinsomniac Mon 29-Jun-15 22:12:01

I'm not sure about judge. Make assumptions about - yes, I think I would.

Conversation I had with an elderly relative (who hadn't seen us sicne we were kids) and my sister a while ago:
Relative: So what do you do with yourself?
Me: I'm a teacher
Relative: (eyes glazing over with boredom) Oh. (to sister) And how about you, dear?
Sister: I'm a geologist with a gold exploration company
Relative: (eyes lighting up) Oh how fascinating! And what a great career for a young woman to get into. Tell me more, dear .... and on and on and on
grin

I get different reactions when I say I'm a teacher to those I get when I say I'm a performing arts teacher (people seem to find the latter much more interesting)

My assumptions (based on nothing but sterotypes)
Lawyer: Really intelligent, university educated, highly interesting and articulate. Great person to be friends with. Would have lots of interesting stories (unless in corporate law!)
Languages teacher: I'd be insanely jealous that you were at least bilingual. I'd think we'd have quite a lot in common. Probably quite a sensible person. Politically left or at least liberal. Compassionate and organised.

hibbledibble Mon 29-Jun-15 22:12:26

Are you a traffic warden? wink

Yes, I do think we all make judgements.

Hussarsataparty Mon 29-Jun-15 22:13:28

Director of a bank, maybe?

FarFromAnyRoad Mon 29-Jun-15 22:13:59

Unless you were a puppy shooter or the World Champion Snot Shunter of the Universe I don't think I'd judge grin

SweetAndFullOfGrace Mon 29-Jun-15 22:14:51

I'm in IT. People have been glazing over with boredom for years. You get over it!

squareheadcut Mon 29-Jun-15 22:15:58

What do you do???

Sleepsoftly Mon 29-Jun-15 22:16:17

No, never.

LadyCuntingtonThe3rd Mon 29-Jun-15 22:16:28

I would judge you if you were a Tory MP. Apart from that you can clean toilets or be a super model - I don't care. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Jun-15 22:17:48

I wouldn't judge but may make the wrong assumptions.

The lawyer I would imagine to be shrewd and manipulative but in a nice way to stand up for justice for somebody., I would respect their dedication and years of hard work.

The language teacher I would respect because I know in particular their subject is often over looked in favour of Maths. I would admire their passion for their job.

GGabcd Mon 29-Jun-15 22:18:00

I have friends whose jobs range from SAHM to owner of a very successful PR company and everything in between.

None of us care what the rest of us do. It's not why we're friends!

chandelierswinger Mon 29-Jun-15 22:18:38

I feel I get judged in the opposite way tbh. People are often surprised by my job (and qualifications I had to have to get there) and I find myself wondering what their original judgement was when they asked me "So what do you do?" hmm

TTWK Mon 29-Jun-15 22:19:14

I think it was Hugh Grant, tells a story about his dad at a dinner party sitting next to someone he didn't know. Conversation went something like this.

Old bloke: So do you have children?
Hugh Grant's dad: Yes, I have 2 sons
OB: how wonderful, what do they do?
HGD: Well one is a merchant banker, and the other is an world famous actor.
OB: How fascinating. Which bank?

klarabelle Mon 29-Jun-15 22:19:42

It happens and it is so weird in this country no body asks those kinds of questions straight away "so what do you do" (so I can mentally pigeon hole you) in France or Italy like they do here.

Dothetwist Mon 29-Jun-15 22:20:07

I've had two very different jobs in the same sector which have had very different judgements...

1st - childminder... Main responses - "oh but baby sitting isn't really a job" "oh how easy you have it playing with children all day" "do you think you will get a proper job eventually?"

2nd- finished my degree and became a Manager of a pre school... Responses "wow fantastic how interesting" taken much more seriously when dealing with other health professionals.

Thing that bugs me, is a childminder & pre school manager is pretty much the same job just different scales and property

EggOnTheFloor Mon 29-Jun-15 22:20:40

People do judge - when I tell them what I do I normally get "I could never do that ".

The most irritating one is when people declare 'I work in IT' - doing what? its such a broad and fascinating area, but it annoys me because the person assumes that everyone outside IT is too stupid to work it out. No word of a lie I have had about ten people tell me they work in IT and then refuse to elaborate.

I tend not to judge other careers, but I am always intrigued as to what other people do.

EmpressKnowsWhereHerTowelIs Mon 29-Jun-15 22:21:20

Scientists experimenting on animals, definitely. And people working for bastarding tobacco companies... although I know it's not that simple if you have DCs to feed. Still a scummy business though.

HorsesDogsNails Mon 29-Jun-15 22:21:27

I'm a Nail Technician and there are people who assume I'm thick (I'm not!). I've learnt, by having a wide client base, that people do a wide variety of jobs and any assumptions you make about them are usually wrong.....

lushilaoshi Mon 29-Jun-15 22:21:47

Not a traffic warden!! Sue, what makes you ambivalent about language teachers but dislike lawyers?

I'm guilty of judging people based on their occupations, definitely. Aside from the obvious things (like a doctor would be smart and a firefighter brave - certain jobs demand certain qualities, right?), I totally judge estate agents as being untrustworthy, social services as being jobsworths, and bankers as being greedy. I know I'm being unreasonable.

chandelierswinger Mon 29-Jun-15 22:22:01

So no, op, I wouldn't judge. I enjoy talking to people about their lives and work. If only our careers advice had been better at school, it could've opened up so many possibilities.

leccybill Mon 29-Jun-15 22:23:36

Haha - loving this thread, I am a languages teacher in a real secondary school! And manicinsomniac has me spot on :-)

Passmethecrisps Mon 29-Jun-15 22:24:55

I certainly make assumptions. Some of those might be judgey but I love hearing about what people do.

When I ask for details people often clam up and get shy. I want to know!! I have only done one proper job so i love to what how people spend their day

FunkyPeacock Mon 29-Jun-15 22:25:12

I don't judge (unless perhaps you're a lap dancer or a bailiff), but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't make assumptions.

In general if I meet people socially I don't tend to ask what job they do unless I am really struggling to make conversation. If it comes up in conversation naturally then fair enough but hate it when it's one of the first things a person you've just met asks you. It makes me feel that they are trying to establish whether I am worth knowing confused

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