20 questions you've always wanted to ask people about their jobs

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Ever wondered what waiters really think of your mess? Or whether booksellers are judging your reading material? Mumsnetters have the answers.

1. Teachers 

Do you compare siblings?

"I do, but only as a point of interest. I quite enjoy it when they're vastly different. In summary, I compare, but I don't judge and I would never think less of one or more of the other."

2. Hairdressers

Do you really want to know what my plans are for the day, or would you rather work in silence?

"I prefer to work in silence - my mantra is 'pick up the magazine!'." 

On the other hand...

"Yes I like to know about your day! Working in silence is quite awkward, unless you're concentrating a lot!"

3. Waiting staff

Do you expect people to offer to clean up their children's mess before they leave, or do you just shrug it off as part of the job?

"It's nice if parents make an effort to tidy up or if they apologise if it's really messy. If they have young children who've dropped half-chewed food on the floor, putting the food back on the plate so I don't have to touch it is better than leaving me a big card saying 'I love you'!"

4. Frontline nurses

Do you ever gag or heave when faced with sick or poo?

"Poo and wee don't bother me in the slightest. Vomit I'm not over keen on, but generally can deal with it without letting my patient know."

"The only bodily fluid I really struggle with is thick, stringy sputum - but I can still eat my dinner afterwards!"

5. Dentists

Do you judge people's teeth?

"Grotty teeth don't even register, to be honest. It's the lies and excuses that go with them that piss me off. "Oh, I brush and floss three times a day." You definitely do NOT do that!"

6. Music teachers

Can you absolutely tell how much practice has been done?

"It's pretty easy to tell whether a student has practised during the week or not. Any practice at all - even a half hour spread across seven days - will make a difference."

7. Male gynaecologists 

Why did you choose that specialism?

"Gynaecology is a popular speciality as it's one of the few where you can do surgery without going down the harder surgeon's route. Plus, it's nearly always obstetrics and gynaecology together, so you get surgery plus the ER drama or labour ward. You get to save people, which I think appeals to a lot of men."

8. Booksellers/librarians 

Do you judge?

"Yes, a bit, but mostly I liked making up interesting stories about some of the regulars. There was a man who always ordered books about serial killers and cannibals!"

9. Surgeons 

What happens if you need the loo during a long operation?

"Generally for a big, long surgery of over six hours, there's a team of surgeons. This means that at less fraught parts, team members can scrub in or out for comfort breaks. This doesn't apply to the scrub nurse, though - my record before someone relieved me is seven and a half hours! Don't drink a lot before you start."

10. Morticians

Do you ever wonder if people actually aren't dead and will suddenly rise up above the sheets?

"My sister manages a mortuary, and no, they're never worried about people waking up on the slab."


11. Pathologists

Have you ever found something odd inside someone during an autopsy?

"The weirdest thing I've ever found inside someone was several twenty pound notes, in a plastic bag, in the vagina."

12. Pilots

What do you do for hours when there are no checks to do, and you're cruising along on autopilot?

"I'm cabin crew. The pilots tend to read short snippets from books or magazines - anything longer could make them drift off!"

13. Phlebotomists

What happens to all the blood after it's been tested?

"Most of the blood gets stored in a massive walk-in fridge for about 5 days, before we bin it. It then gets incinerated. We have considered making black pudding!"

14. Photographic lab technicians

What's the weirdest photo that you have processed?

"I remember a customer who paid for a disposable camera to be hand-processed, which meant I had to go through the film photo by photo, correcting each image. The whole roll was of people sticking the camera down their underwear and taking photos. Once I'd finished correcting them, you could see the veins on the penis in all their glory..."

15. Cinema workers

Theoretically, would it be possible for someone to pay for one movie and see loads by moving from one screen to another and hiding in toilets between viewings?

"That trick works - my record for this during my student days was three and a half films. The key was to go mid-week and start early so that the seats weren't all booked."

16. Counsellors

Do you find your clients boring or irritating when all they talk about is how bad they feel?

"No, I never find clients boring. It can be frustrating if they don't want to get better, but never boring."

17. Crematorium employees

When you get ashes back, is it just your family member and their coffin, or is it several people? Also, does the whole body burn or do you have to dispose of some parts that won't?

"Yes, you only get your family member - we're subject to very strict rules about cross-contamination. The coffin is cremated at the same time with fixtures and fittings. We cremate at 1000 degrees centigrade, so yes, all of the body is cremated. Gold teeth or rings all melt during cremation and it collects at the bottom of the container, so we remove it and put it in a bottle. Every year it gets recycled and the money is given to charity. Pacemakers will explode, so we need written confirmation that they've been removed."

18. Theme park attendants

Do people vomit on rides? If so, does the ride have to be taken out of service while it's cleaned up?

'Yes, yes they do! The worst one at my place of work was the chair swing ride, because the queue loops round underneath the ride, so if someone's sick... well, I'll leave that to your imagination. But yes, the ride is taken out of service and cleaned."

19. Soft-play employees

Do you ever take all the balls out of the ball pit and wash them all?

"Yes. Balls are washed regularly."

20. Zookeepers 

Does anyone ever try to steal animals?

"A few years ago, someone robbed a penguin and hopped in a taxi with it. It was found in the town."

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Last updated: 5 months ago