BACKGROUND

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Workplace attraction

I've been in a couple of different professions now and I know people in many others and I've come to realize that there are some shared traits among people who choose certain professions. I wonder if we're attracted to our jobs because they reflect our best and worst qualities? Here are the traits I've noted among different professions, both ones I've worked in and ones I know people in:

1. Non-Profit Workers: These people want to change the world one person at a time. They truly care about humanity and want to make a difference in life. However, they become easily burnt out (who can blame them, NP work is hard) and they tend to move on to more education beyond their original degree or to a job where they can make more money and have more structure.

2. Journalists: These people are typically curious and driven by the need to know all the facts about any given situation or person. They want to tell the stories of others and tend to be good listeners and observers of people and life in general. On the downside, they have poor health habits, often eating junk food at their desks and they too tend to burn out as news is a 24/7 business that can get really exhausting really fast.

3. Lawyers: The majority of the people in this profession are conflict-oriented. They love a good debate or fight and will argue to the death, though they tend to do it confidently as opposed to having a lot of anger about their convictions. They can argue either side of an issue with gusto. Downside: they are totally annoying with their need to be right all the time and their high rates of depression and alcohol/drug abuse. This is a good profession for people who like to talk and love to win.

4. Teachers: I love teachers. I have many friends who are teachers. Teachers tend to have the patience of Job and truly love seeing children learn. They want to make a mark on society and they are good at putting a positive spin on bad news - who wants to tell the parents that the kid they think is a genius is really a total dumbass who will do nothing productive with his life? And yet, teachers know how to get this news across without making it sound like the worst thing in the world. Downside of teaching: money. There's not enough of it and there's not enough hours in the day to do the things you need/want to do in your classroom and with the kids. This is an exhausting profession.

5. Secretaries: These people are often the real brains behind any organization. They are organized, efficient, and get the job done. Downside: never enough recognition for what they actually do. High turnover because they are seen as low on the totem pole even though they actually contribute more than anyone else to the smooth operation of the company.

So, those are my observations on jobs and the people in them. I've only held jobs in the first three categories I mentioned, but it's interesting to me how it seems that certain professions attract the same sorts of people. One thing that I've learned being an attorney is that I fit more as a hybrid of a non-profit/journalist/lawyer type. I can argue confidently and win, but it's not what keeps me going. I am not always spoiling for the next fight and I'm not an angry person with addiction problems. I like to listen to people's stories and help where I can. I enjoy some aspects of being a lawyer, but others are not my cup of tea.

But then, perhaps it is that way in every profession. Some good, some bad, and you just roll with it all until you find your true life's calling where you can feel passionate about your work and desperate to get back to it every day.

1 comment:

Dauphyfan said...

I've always told Kevin that he'd have made a good lawyer, but his stage fright and lack of self-discipline with studies caused him to travel a different path. You are right on the money with these observations though!