Occupational Hazards

No matter what your job, there are some frequent questions or comments from the general public that get, shall we say, a tad tiresome.

I thought it would be interesting to make up a brief questionnaire and select a few nominees.  If you would also like to join in, please do!  Just post your answers below, or put a link on your blog to this post.

Q.: What term or phrase from your job/occupation do people mangle?

A.:  Entomology often gets changed to “Ant-o-mology”, as though we only study ants.  Not even Edward O. Wilson is an “antomologist”; he is (among other things) a myrmecologist.

Q.: What broadly erroneous assumption do people make about your preferences and your career choice?

A.:  That I love all insects.  Really, I don’t. (Although I will be quick to point out that only 1 % of the insects are pests.)  I do find grasshoppers to be kind of gross, especially after scrubbing their encrusted remains off my automobile windshield, and spending hours driving a riding mower and having them bounce off my face.  Blech.

Q.: What trivia challenge do people pose when they hear about what you do for a living?

A.:  “Wow, I bet you know all the bugs!”  No.  There are over one million species, mostly beetles, and I’m more familiar with butterflies.

Q.: What basic fact about your job/occupation do people rarely understand?

A.:  That insects are animals.  “Yes, they are.  They’re not plants, not fungi, not single-cell organisms.  They have organ systems and behaviors, and are not photosynthetic.”

Q.: Did you always want to be a/n  ___?

A.:  “Huh?  Sorry, distracted watching this bug.  Look here at what it’s doing–“

Q.: You musta been a weird kid, huh?

A.:  Yeah, but now I get paid to teach the other weird kids.

Q.: How did some totally unrelated previous job prepare you for your current occupation?

A.:  I went from doing behavioral observations of insects to behavioral observations of students with severe emotional and behavioral problems.  There are more similarities than you’d imagine.

Q.: So what do you do for a living?

A.: Do you mean my daytime, evening, or weekend job?

I would love to hear the answers from Dave Hingsburger, Bug Girl, Dean Dad, Wheelchair Dancer, and YOU.

7 Comments

  1. Stephanie said,

    3 January 2010 at 23:16

    Q.: What term or phrase from your job/occupation do people mangle?

    A.: Copyright and copywriting. Take your pick. They are two very different things, but especially aloud they are taken to mean the first when I say the second.

    Q.: What broadly erroneous assumption do people make about your preferences and your career choice?

    A.: That when I am reading/staring off into space or otherwise feeding my brain or letting loose my imagination I am not “working”.

    Q.: What trivia challenge do people pose when they hear about what you do for a living?

    A.: None that I’ve encountered. Usually the response is something to the effect: “That’s a job?” As if the words write themselves.

    Q.: What basic fact about your job/occupation do people rarely understand?

    A.: That businesses really do pay freelance writers to write materials for them–that the services I offer really are in demand.

    Q.: Did you always want to be a/n ___?

    A.: I’ve always wanted to write. I have not always wanted to do business writing. Business writing is a good way to support a family, much less hit-or-miss than fiction writing and article writing.

    Q.: You musta been a weird kid, huh?

    A.: Yes, but I’m not sure that has anything to do with my career aspirations.

    Q.: How did some totally unrelated previous job prepare you for your current occupation?

    A.: I’ve worked for a few small businesses in the past. While my jobs did not involve writing (at least not the kind I do know), it did help me realize that finding a way to meet their needs is a worthwhile long-term endeavor.

    Q.: So what do you do for a living?

    A.: Right now, I’m primarily a student. However, very soon I will be launching a business writing business, which will involve (among other things) offering copywriting (advertisement, marketing, and public relations writing) and technical writing (manuals, stakeholder relations, and other business writing) services. In time, after I’ve built up my qualifications, I will add consulting services to my portfolio.

  2. meep said,

    2 January 2010 at 20:34

    Q.: What term or phrase from your job/occupation do people mangle?
    A.Ironically enough, people tend to turn Etymology (the study of word origins) into Entomology.

    Q.: What broadly erroneous assumption do people make about your preferences and your career choice?

    A.: That i must speak 30 languages and spend all my time learning new ones.

    Q.: What trivia challenge do people pose when they hear about what you do for a living?

    A: The “identify the accent” game.

    Q.: What basic fact about your job/occupation do people rarely understand?

    A.: I study facets of language, not languages. Languages have order, rules, symmetry, and history.

    Q.: Did you always want to be a/n ___?

    A.: Since i was 10 and my father showed my how to write my name in IPA(International Phonetic Alphabet).

    Q.: You musta been a weird kid, huh?

    A.: Is following the other kids around the playground with a tape recorder wierd?

    Q.: How did some totally unrelated previous job prepare you for your current occupation?

    A.: I haven’t really had any other jobs.

    Q.: So what do you do for a living?

    A.: Aspiring linguist ( Only two more years to go.)

  3. 2 January 2010 at 5:52

    Hi Andrea!

    I took the liberty of posting this on my blog. the URL http://cripwheels.blogspot.com/2010/01/occupational-meme.html should take anyone who’s interested there.

    Still reading your blog when you post — lovely to know you are out there.

    WCD

  4. Kassiane said,

    28 December 2009 at 20:11

    Just call me YOU:

    Q.: What term or phrase from your job/occupation do people mangle?

    A.: There are so many terms in gymnastics. Either people think I’m a gym (as in PE) teacher, which is patently understating it, or they get all vague about “the flips and stuff”. Yes, I teach backflips. No, I have no blinking idea what kind you’re referring to.

    Q.: What broadly erroneous assumption do people make about your preferences and your career choice?

    A.: That I want to teach Olympians (I don’t. I like my kids to enjoy themselves, not dedicate themselves to sport), that I teach generic PE (I don’t, I teach bars, beam, floor and vault), that somehow being a gymnastics coach makes me a professional gymnast (lol. no. juuuust no). That coaching isn’t a “real job”, even after I just spent an hour explaining why science makes what I’m asking their kid to do work, and exactly why what said kid is trying to do isn’t ever going to work, thanks to physics.

    Q.: What trivia challenge do people pose when they hear about what you do for a living?

    “So can you do the splits? A backflip? And you teach other people to?”
    They never fail to be shocked when the answer to all these questions is yes.

    Q.: What basic fact about your job/occupation do people rarely understand?

    A.: There are progressions & safety rules that we absolutely must follow so people don’t break their necks. No, random stranger with over 100 pounds on me, I can’t teach you a back tuck. You don’t know the prerequisites, you probably aren’t strong enough or coordinated enough to just do it, and I’m sure not able to just toss you head over heels. This stuff takes muscle, time, & persistence.

    Q.: Did you always want to be a/n ___?

    A.: It was always on my list.

    Q.: You musta been a weird kid, huh?

    A.: Phenomenally. This is one of my better attributes.

    Q.: How did some totally unrelated previous job prepare you for your current occupation?

    A.: All of my jobs have been with kids. I just get to throw this set.

    Q.: So what do you do for a living?

    A.: I throw, rotate, catch, and assist to the ground heavy sentient beings until they can throw & rotate themselves.

  5. wheelchairdancer said,

    28 December 2009 at 15:16

    OOOO. THis is my project for the day. We’re leaving for a trip right now — i’m on my heating pad reading blogs. But this is AWESOME.

    WCD

  6. Bug Girl said,

    28 December 2009 at 0:32

    Oh, I’ll have to think about this one….

  7. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. said,

    28 December 2009 at 0:09

    Q.: What term or phrase from your job/occupation do people mangle?

    A.: For some reason, people to mangle the notion of psychology as a science of mind and action with the illusion of mind-reading! That’s one of them – there are many more…

    Q.: What broadly erroneous assumption do people make about your preferences and your career choice?

    A.: That I’d want to analyse them (as in psychoanalyse) or that I’m making some sort of observation of them; most of the time, I’m people watching but that’s so that I can tell when to leave a place – either because of erupting violence or an impending bus!

    Q.: What trivia challenge do people pose when they hear about what you do for a living?

    A.: “What am I thinking now?” – no, really. I get that asked a lot.

    Q.: What basic fact about your job/occupation do people rarely understand?

    A.: That psychology isn’t about making automata out of people, and it isn’t about prescribing medications to people. Most of what psychology is seems to elude the everyday person. This is not necessarily a fault of the everyday person as much as it is an issue that psychologists ourselves haven’t managed to enable people to understand what it is we actually do. We need to demystify our science and make it accessible.

    Q.: Did you always want to be a/n ___?

    A.: No. Initially I wanted to fly in the RAF, but wearing glasses put paid to that.

    Q.: You musta been a weird kid, huh?

    A.: You think?

    Q.: How did some totally unrelated previous job prepare you for your current occupation?

    A.: Interesting question… working as a research technician in a hospital physics department enabled me to understand methods of imaging for the brain; training in archaeology enabled me to understand behaviour as the physical expression of a person’s history, and to see that what they produce as permanent product is in fact trace of behaviour, which is trace of development; training in teaching enabled me to understand what psychology is in relation to learning processes and issues that can affect how people progress through such processes.

    Q.: So what do you do for a living?

    A.: Such as it’s a living, I’m the only psychologist working in the South-East Finnish Social Psychiatric Association, basically as an intern.


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