Monday, February 6, 2017

And What Does Your Father Do for a Living?

One of the first questions many people ask you when you are young is, "What does your father do for a living?" We all know that this question is just a euphemism for, "How much money does he make, and are you rich or poor?" Coming right out and asking how much salary he brings home every month is an outright "no-no," but the job question is "Kosher."

While riding here in the taxi to the Beltway Apartment from the airport last Thursday, the Dutch taxi driver politely asked my Dutch husband what kind of work he used to do before his retirement ten years ago. My husband proudly told about his lengthy employment in the travel business, and then I chirped in with my equally lengthy employment in the field of education. If it weren't for both of us working all those many years, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Back in the fall when L. found me/us, one of her questions was, "And what kind of work did your father do?" Hopefully by now L. knows that our family managed on Dad's meager salary until I went off to college, and then my mom went to work to supplement our family income. My parents would have never done as well as they did if it hadn't been for their double-income family situation.

And then this morning my Dutch sister-in-law had a question about what L. did for a living. I chuckled to myself. I do not really know. I can see what L. has on her Facebook page, and she told me what she studied in college, but I never asked her what she really does every work day. Basically the same is true for her husband, although he did share that information with my husband when they chatted on our first meeting.

When was the last time someone asked you what kind of work you do/did? Does it really matter? I am always tempted to ask, "Would you like to see my monthly bank statement? Can I introduce you to my friend/relative/someone I know who hasn't worked a day in his/her life and is richer than you are?"

My mom never knew what any of her grandchildren were studying in college or what her children actually did at their jobs. Just the fact that we all studied and then worked was enough info for her.

I think that I agree.


Joanne Noragon said...

I love to talk to people and hear about their jobs, what they do, how they do it. Then about their families, their dogs, their spare time. Some people, like me, love to talk, some don't. We all work it out.

Janie Junebug said...

I remember when I was a child that my friends' parents always asked what my dad did. No one ever asked what my mom did. During the years that I stayed at home with my children, people would ask what I did, hear my answer, and move on to someone more interesting. It amazed me and disappointed me a bit that when I became a newspaper reporter, people at our church who had never spoken to me before suddenly became my "best" friends.


Mrs. Micawber said...

My favourite question is "Do you work?"

I always want to say "No, I sit around watching soap operas all day and eating chocolates." Or, failing that, "Of course I do! Every woman works! We don't always get paid for it though." Or, "No, the house cleans itself, the laundry jumps into and out of the machines all on its own, and the groceries get home from the store without any action on my part."

What I've often said is, "For money or for love?" Nobody knows how to answer that one.

(I do have a paying job, by the way. So yes, I "work".) :D

Can't remember ever being asked what my dad did....

A Quiet Corner said...

WOW! This one would irk me...big time, Lin. I don't mind telling people what I did for a living because I'm proud of my accomplishments. HOWEVER, I would have to draw the line at salary, etc. I'm not fond of nosy people. In fact, most of the people I meet, the only thing I care to know about them is their first name...that fills me up just fine!!!...Have a wonderful time...:)JP