Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Hey. Here is something that you shouldn't say to people, because it can come across as kind of insulting and make you seem like you think you're better than everyone. People say it a lot. The thing that people say is "I don't know HOW you can stand having a job where you're stuck behind a desk all day. I could NEVER do something like that - I need to be involved in all the action" or something along those lines.
It sounds harmless enough but sometimes when people say it you can tell that their implication is "Your job is so BORING and my job is so EXCITING" or worse "What do you even do, just sit on Facebook all day?" A lot of the time, I get this comment (from the first paragraph) from people who I doubt have any idea of what it is I actually do.
Perhaps an approach such as "I'm glad we have smart people like you doing the behind-the-scenes work" or just asking about what the person is currently working on would be more appropriate, if you feel like the situation is something you want to comment on. Personally I am always happy to tell people what I'm working on if they pop into my office and want to know, but I just get annoyed when they pop in and say "Don't you get tired of sitting at this desk all day? I could NEVER do that - I need to be out in the field or I'd go crazy" (which happens more often than the former).
The fact is, some people enjoy desk jobs. Sure, my day is usually a bit more exciting when I get to go out in the field for a bit, but when it comes down to it I like number crunching and spreadsheet making and writing documents. This does not make me boring, just like having a field job does not automatically make a person interesting.
The moral of the story: if you're not even going to try to find out what a person does, don't go around telling them how much their job sucks compared to yours.