What Your Job Says About You

“We asked 100 people what is a typical woman’s job…” This or similar was the question in Australia’s ‘Family Feud’ two days ago. Wow, did it trigger reactions!!! And not just the question. The top answer apparently was ‘cooking’…

I can see why people might have gotten upset about the question, as the way it is worded is a bit dangerous. And the answer? Did it upset me? Not really. Let’s be honest: Most often it is actually the woman, who is in charge of the cooking at home, right? And most often we actually like cooking. So what would be so bad about this answer? As long as we like what we are doing, it’s not a bad thing to say…

BUT (and here is my but): What made me actually upset was listening to a caller of a radio show broadcasted yesterday. As a reaction to the ‘Family Feud’ issue the hosts of the show asked for women to tell them about their job and why they are proud of it. I loved what the guy repeatedly said: No matter what you do, as long as you enjoy or love it, it is your perfect job. And whatever you do has value. If you want to listen to it, go to Minute 24 in the podcast (it’s the one of October 16th, unfortunately the direct link to the podcast does not work). This is the moment they start talking about the ‘Family Feud’ issue.

Now, what made me upset was the caller at approx Minute 31:20. Especially given her job. She is the editor in chief of a huge website called Mamamia. And guess what this site is all about? Women, mothers, you name it. I was actually thinking of not putting a link down, but hey… gotta be fair, right… I try to be fair, although I struggle with it, and try to imagine that she did not want to say it the way it sounded like for me: “… I have the best job in the country, it’s much better than the cleaning and the cooking…”

You know what? I don’t like an answer like this. Although she states afterwards, that she would like to cook but people might not like her cooking, it makes it sound bad. How about adding the little words “for me” to her sentence? Like “I have the best job in the country, for me it’s definitely better than…” Because by saying it the way she did (and again I am trying to believe that she did not mean it that way), she made cooking and cleaning and being at home sound bad. So if she really means, that cooking and cleaning and staying at home are worth less, then going to work every day, I find it disrespectful. I also think it is not really smart to communicate in such a way if you are in a position she is in. How many of the mothers visiting her website every day actually are stay at home moms, who “only” look after the kids, the husband and cook and do the laundry and clean all day in order to keep everything up and running? How does a remark like this make them feel? Benefit of the doubt: She did not mean it the way I understood it. Okay. Still not a smart thing to say. Make it more personal, less general and all is good.

As a stay at home mom (I heard you can call it SAHM) myself, I feel like what I do is a job as well. Sure, there is no salary. And no promotion. No vacation really. But you know what? I think, what we SAHMs do is actually a lot. And it is a 24/7 job. And I, for my part, love being a stay at home mom and I love what I am doing. I love being around the kids, I love cooking a meal, even if I feel like I am cooking the same things again and again. You know, some people (moms or dads) actually like being at home and doing all the housework. Of course we have our ups and downs as well, like everyone has in every job. I don’t have a cleaner and I don’t have a nanny. I do it because it is my job now. It is my contribution to the life we are living as a family.

People are different. People love different things and different challenges. Why is it so important what kind of job you do? I asked that question before… Does a job really define you as a person? Why is it, that people think that certain jobs are worth less than others? Does it really come down to the salary? How about the fact how much we actually like doing our job? Doesn’t that count at all? Of course in the end you have to pay your bills. But I believe that you are probably get there easier if you actually like what you are doing… If we like what we do, we do it better and it makes us proud and we are so much happier in doing whatever we have to do.

It makes me angry, to watch a person talking down in such a disrespectful way to the cashier at Coles. Does that person think the cashier is stupid or worth less? You know what, you stupid person in front of me? This cashier might be studying astrophysics or whatever and might be so much smarter than you. Maybe he/she is the daughter of of the billionaire who just bought x properties in our suburb and just wants to work a normal job. And if not: It does not matter either. That person is a human being and is worth exactly the same as you are!

It amazes me… no! It SHOCKS me, that people talk or look down at people, just because the job they do does not fit the “being a cool job” description of the other person. What the hell? Do those people realize, that nothing would work in our society, if we all would be doctors, lawyers, politicians and CEO’s to name only a few? One word: Disrespectful!

While I was studying (an attempt…) I worked for a ski resort, selling tickets. Do you have a clue how bad you get treated just because you are a cashier? Do you have an idea about how much people talk down to you? I also worked in a sports good shop, selling ski gear. Same kind of people: Same kind of behavior. Oh my! Best experience for me ever! I loved those jobs. We had a great team and it was fun. And it was truly one of my best experiences ever. Especially because I experienced this weird behavior.

I was not used to that. Both my parents grew up in very poor circumstances. Their families had close to nothing. I grew up as a spoiled kid. We had everything! And we got taught one thing in particular: You always respect others. Every job has value. No matter what. For me, showing respect was something I thought would be totally normal. So seeing how this gets handled by others was a really eye opening experience for me.

A job, a position you work in does not define your value. Your salary does not define your value. The job you do, the salary you get does not define who you really are. And working a high level job and earning big bucks does not automatically mean that you are happy. Or that you are a better person. It just means that you earn more money.

So does money really define what person we are? Does the amount of potential salary make us more interesting or a more likeable person?

I remember hearing a story when I was a child. The story was about a guy whose job it was to clean the street. With a broom. He had to clean the streets of the town he lived in every day. Every single one of them. Of course his overall was always dirty, as he was doing a dirty job. He was always dusty, sweaty and depending on the weather sometimes soaked. But he kept doing it. He always had a smile on his face. People made a big circle around it. They felt sorry for him, because he had to do this crabby job. They did not stop to talk to him because they thought he is slightly crazy. Why else would he always have a smile on his face?
One day a business man stopped the guy and told him that he would make his life easier. He bought him a machine to clean the streets. The guy started using it. He was done much faster with his job. I don’t remember exactly how it went but the guy ended up being in charge of a street cleaning company for his town and the surrounding towns at a certain point. Making money, with the business man as his partner. The guy was no longer cleaning the streets. He was wearing a suit and he was sitting in his office all day long. The business man was really happy about what he had achieved (probably as well about the money he had made). But the guy was not. His smile had disappeared. He seemed very serious and he was sad. Something was missing in his life. No matter what he bought, it did not help. He did not like to get up anymore and go to work. He did not like being at work.
One day, when he got to his office, he looked at his old broom and overall, which were framed in his office as a reminder of where he came from. And he suddenly knew what to do. He took off his suit, put on his old and dirty overall, took his broom and started cleaning the streets again. And although his company was still up and running and cleaning all the streets in the area, the guy kept cleaning them too. With his broom, every day, morning till evening. And he started smiling again. He had found happiness again. One stroke after another… Because in the end, this was what made him happy. What made him feel whole again…

12 thoughts on “What Your Job Says About You

  1. A really excellent and thoughtful post! I love how you said “it is my contribution to how we are living as a family.” A mom who works inside the home raising children is VALUABLE to society and to the family. Bravo that you have that choice. I always had to work because my deadbeat husband couldn’t be bothered to hold a job long enough. After I filed for divorce, not only did I work full time, I still had to cook and clean and drive young kids to the doctor or sports activity. I had no alimony or child support to help me and no family of my own in the area. Time has a funny way of quickly going by anyway. My oldest daughter graduated from UCLA and is an aerospace engineer in Silicon valley making an obscene amount of money at age 29. My youngest daughter is finishing her degree and wants to work in the juvenile corrections system as a recreation therapist. Mothers, whether working, SAHM or both INFLUENCE their children and God provides the rewards to all. God bless you for what you can do for your family. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so admire single Mom’s…I was a single mom for a while. I think it would be lovely if Mom’s could stay home with their children if they want to, it is great for the child to have the security, but we live in a world where that is not possible in many (most) families., plus a lot of women do not want to stay home and are unhappy in that situation. I do feel that Mom’s can be proud of the roles they choose as long as they are doing their best with the kids, I think the kids will know this inherently and are resilient enough to adapt to the situation as it is. It doesn’t hurt to involve them with the household responsibilities either :-).

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  3. Thanks for this from the heart and yet thoughtful post.
    You’re absolutely right; jobs don’t define people’s worth although many people feel otherwise.
    I have been been working for over 25 years as a global executive, and countless times was invited to speak about women and the glass ceiling.
    There was always a heated debate with those who believed that every woman should want a career and go straight to the top, because I disagreed. I believe that people should do what they love and are good at. And that can mean many different things, including being a SHAM. All occupations deserve respect.
    People can be extremely unhappy and devalued, even having a job and having reached the top.
    Provided that one is not doing anything as an obligation or imposition, the best choice is to follow your direction and give no importance to the biased and crooked minds out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lucile, for this! You are so right. And I think same goes for stay at home dads. Or dads who decide to step back from the rat race and maybe take on a job where they earn less but have to work less hours just to be able to spend more time with their loved ones. Or avoid a burn out. There is so much pressure out there… And it does not seem to get easier.

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  4. I don’t think that a job defines the person, I don’t think that people that are in high paying jobs are better than those in low paying jobs, and a high paying job certainly doesn’t mean that you are happier than a person in a low paying job. But in some cases I think that a job can define your happiness, but at the same time money doesn’t buy you happiness.

    I know that sounds like two contradictory terms but ill explain. If you are a natural miserable person, or if you are just not happy, be it depression, be it something else then having tons of cash will not solve that, I remember that Robbie Williams was not happy and being treated for depression and I remember thinking why, he was young, good looking guy, minted with a load of dough, could have his pick of many a beautiful woman, big houses, cars etc and yet he was not happy. I couldn’t understand.

    But a person who is a glass half full kind of person, well more money for them will grease the wheels in allowing them to do what makes them happier. If they are in a low paying job they may not be able to afford to do all the things that make them happy, by getting a better paying job, they will have the funds to do that.

    This is not the same for everyone of course, like your story of the cleaner, he was happy in a low paid manual job, he become better off financially but it killed his happiness. But if you are poor, to the point where it’s do I turn the heating on or eat a meal then that (I am sure) would make the happiest person unhappy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately there is never a black or white… I just think people should be recognized for what they do. No matter what it is. And you are right: In order to survive you might have to do a job you are not happy with. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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