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To think it's rude to ask a stranger what their parents jobs are?

(69 Posts)
Terfing Fri 06-Oct-17 11:02:07

I've had this a few times and it has always wound me up. I'm a phd student, so work in academic circles. At two conferences recently, I have been asked this by strangers! And it is always by people whose parents have "high-up" jobs.

AIBU to think that you shouldn't judge one on their dad's job?

I get that if you were building a friendship, then this would naturally come up; but asking a stranger? No!

By the way, I am in no way embarrassed about my dad and what he does for a living! He was a retail store manager, a decent profession by all means!

BTW, fuck the Daily Mail! (To stop them lifting this thread!)

TheGuffalo Fri 06-Oct-17 11:04:02

I can’t think how its slightly relavent. Never had it before. I often get asked what Dh does though hmm

existentialmoment Fri 06-Oct-17 11:05:03

I don't think it's rude, no.

PinkHeart5914 Fri 06-Oct-17 11:05:44

I don’t think it’s rude confused

Shakirasma Fri 06-Oct-17 11:07:11

Yes it's rude, because it's irrelevant in the context you describe so the only reason for asking is to judge.

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 11:07:26

it sounds very much like an attempt to 'place' you, do you feel they are being snobbish when they ask?

hazelnutlatte Fri 06-Oct-17 11:09:23

I don't think anyone has ever asked me what my dad does for a living, I can't imagine how this would come up in conversation?

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 06-Oct-17 11:11:54

Yes it's an attempt to place you. My young adult kids often report friends' and boyfriends' parents doing it. Always the snobby ones too. I think it's quite gauche. I would never ask one of their friends what their parents do. It's tantamount to asking, "Are you rich then, are you middle class?".

pigsDOfly Fri 06-Oct-17 11:11:56

Yes agree, it is an attempt to place you in what they probably see as your social position.

I was asked what my father's job was many years ago during a job interview and it really annoyed me. My father wasn't involved in the interview and what he did for a living was totally irrelevant to how I would perform in the job.

TeaPleaseLouise Fri 06-Oct-17 11:12:38

That is bizarre, there's no reason to ask that unless it's a wierd boast...

They'll be noted and not in a good way if they keep doing it though. I worked in a company with a placement student who took the introduction email template "I'm Ben, I study at x and enjoy football" and turned it into a massive tribute to himself including the fact his mother was CEO at x place and his father had his own company doing y. Then he finished with the statement that you should be nice to the placement student because one day you could be working for them.

It became legend. Unlike him grin As far as I can remember he managed to narrowly avoid being given the boot for his poor work ethic.

Firesuit Fri 06-Oct-17 11:12:38

I knew someone who as a school-leaver was asked this during an interview to go to Oxford. He told them it was irrelevant. (He didn't go to Oxford.)

ButchyRestingFace Fri 06-Oct-17 11:12:55

Yes and no.

If you were studying a very niche area, I can imagine someone perhaps thinking “I wonder what sparked that interest, I wonder if it’s something they grew up exposed to through a parent” and then asking the question.

Actors get that a lot. 🙂

Luxembourgmama Fri 06-Oct-17 11:13:11

I’ve been asked my parents exact street address before! Nor relevant ever to any conversation. These people are just pricks

ButchyRestingFace Fri 06-Oct-17 11:14:52

Then he finished with the statement that you should be nice to the placement student because one day you could be working for them

That would have made me laff. grin

Firesuit Fri 06-Oct-17 11:15:09

I agree that people are doing this to find out if you have the right class background to be worth talking to. So, rude.

Sandsunsea Fri 06-Oct-17 11:16:04

I think it's rude to ask anyone what they do. Its plain ignorant to judge them on it.

existentialmoment Fri 06-Oct-17 11:17:10

I think it's rude to ask anyone what they do

We'll have to add that to the list of "Things MN'ers think it rude to say to people".
If you follow the list you are now only allowed to say hello and goodbye. Every other thing you can say to someone you don't know well is RUDE.

SloeSloeQuickQuickGin Fri 06-Oct-17 11:18:43

Many moons ago, I rememebr you job application form asking for your parents professions. And that was just a low end bank clerk

TrueSojourner Fri 06-Oct-17 11:19:36

Just reply, ‘he’s a Bank robber’. smile

MidnightAura Fri 06-Oct-17 11:20:04

I've had this growing up and I find now strangers don't ask what my dad does but rather what my DH does for a living.

Some people I've found like to define you by what you do for a living or in this case what family do for a living.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Fri 06-Oct-17 11:22:55

I was always taught by my parents that it was rude to ask any questions. Especially questions that could put people on the spot.
So I'd have to say YANBU.

Deathraystare Fri 06-Oct-17 11:23:18

Perhaps they want to see if you are the same social class - one of them!

ToffeeCaramel Fri 06-Oct-17 11:24:27

Someone said on mumsnet that people put what their parents do on their CV in Germany!

clearsommespace Fri 06-Oct-17 11:25:10

I've only ever had to answer this question in foreign language lessons. Half the class were the offspring of a postman because it was easy to remember 'mon père est facteur'.
I've found out since living in France that they joke about the postman fathering lots of children in the way that they joke about the milkman in the UK!

Mittens1969 Fri 06-Oct-17 11:25:26

Marriage certificates still include details of father’s job for both bride and groom. I remember wondering at the time why it was relevant?

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