Saturday, May 26, 2012

Who are you? Wait, I already know!

I recently read a couple of articles on how people tend to define others by their jobs (see here) or social status, and how they quickly compartmentalized them based on that information. There was a hilarious TED talk that touched on the topic of job snobbery.

I think most of us are guilty of doing the same. I know I am but my defense is that I need this information to see how best to connect with people (IT? working woman? mother?). But there is something else I have noticed related to this that I find so strange. Even before you have been introduced properly, some people seem to have figured out what type of work you do and can't wait to prove themselves right.

Once I was at a Diwali party organized by the residents of our condominium in Newton. As I was introduced to a lady (I have forgotten her name for obvious reasons), she asked me what I did, to which I responded that I worked at an e-learning company. Her response- "Oh a programmer?"- was pointless and presumptuous.

Recently, a similar incident happened when I was leaving Aloka at her pre-school one morning. A mother of another child asked me if I worked. When I said "Yes, at HP", her response was equally pointless and presumptuous. She said- "In admin?".

Don't get me wrong. I have respect for programmers and administrators and don't consider what I do any better or worse than these jobs. But the impatience of people in proving themselves right does get my goat. By assuming that they know it all, such people not only disclose their over-confidence in what they know, they also convey their lack of interest in anyone else except themselves.

No quicker way to close hearts. 

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