Talking Shop

It must be apparent to anyone following my blogs (if that is indeed anyone at all), that I don’t usually blog about work related things. Even Web 2.0, which is a fun thing. Somehow when you institutionalize something, it takes all the fun out of it. For instance, reading Melville’s MOBY DICK can be fun, but not if it is required reading for a class. Go figure. But the upshot is I really don’t fancy blathering on about job tasks. I’ve had so many different jobs, I don’t really see myself categorized by occupation. Some folks actually identify themselves with their job title, as if that is all that they are.

I meet people at trade shows, receptions, even dinner parties who commonly introduce themselves with their job title. “Hi, I’m Clarence Darrow, I’m a lawyer.” Or “Hey, glad to meet you, I’m Al Moxton, I’m a bookie.” Well, maybe not. I notice that if their chosen profession is not prestigious enough, folks dress it up with a euphemism. Al might say he’s a “turf accountant” . A janitor would say he’s a “resident stationary engineer”. A prostitute might be in “public relations”. You get the idea. I guess folks know that people are so married to the concept of labels that they want to label themselves before you do it for them. If a guy introduces himself as Larry the Gerbil Trainer, you would be more likely to refer to him as that in conversation instead of calling him Larry Big Nose.

In any election year you’ll always notice the race each party runs to frame the other’s issues. They have to get those labels in early in hope that the negative ones will stick. We end up voting for “tax and spend liberals” or “gun-toting creationists”. Sigh. Labels just don’t make it easy.

But as I said, I don’t enjoy blathering about work. You ever sit next to someone who can only talk about their job? You ever see the movie LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN? There’s a scene early on with Jon Lovitz on a train. This well-dressed businessman is next to him talking about his job as a salesman. Lovitz replies “If I were you, I’d kill myself! Wait, let me go in the back and see if I can find a pistol!” Yeah. I don’t want to be that guy.

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Allen Sheaprd


Good post – keep it free flowing and not so much about work. Those where some funny euphnisms though janitor may say Custodial sciences for CS degree.



That’s why I always say “I work for the government” and try to change the topic to sports, etc. I’d rather listen than talk about my job.