Why do we judge others based on Occupation or Profession?

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xris
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 11:32 am
I have just been watching a quiz show and noticed it appears to be essential that you define yourself by your occupation. Why do we judge others by the job they do. It is very shallow indication of a persons worth, dont you think?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 11:51 am
@xris,
No single variable, including one's job, can define someone, and the problem is that people make assumptions based on occupation. However, there are a handful of variables that give you a 'start' understanding someone. If I say "Jack is a 38 year old married cable repairman from Minneapolis", in just a sentence you at least have some categories, he may not be defined but he's better defined than if I'd said "Jack" alone.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 12:29 pm
@xris,
xris;103326 wrote:
I have just been watching a quiz show and noticed it appears to be essential that you define yourself by your occupation. Why do we judge others by the job they do. It is very shallow indication of a persons worth, dont you think?

What we do is what we are...What we feel is who we are...

---------- Post added 11-13-2009 at 01:31 PM ----------

Aedes;103328 wrote:
No single variable, including one's job, can define someone, and the problem is that people make assumptions based on occupation. However, there are a handful of variables that give you a 'start' understanding someone. If I say "Jack is a 38 year old married cable repairman from Minneapolis", in just a sentence you at least have some categories, he may not be defined but he's better defined than if I'd said "Jack" alone.

Not any number of variables can define some one, or humanity... We are infintes, and when we die is the closest we will ever be to a definition, and then it is too late...
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 12:48 pm
@Fido,
It may help to a certain degree but it should not be used as a defined view of any one. Education can source the best in society but the lack of it can loose us treasures we would have benefited from. Don't judge a man just by his clothes of office. I also know many with degrees doing menial work for lack of opportunity.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 12:52 pm
@xris,
Because in our consumer culture, everything and every person has a price. Knowing someone's occupation allows you to estimate their income and place them in a social class...thus knowing, to some extent, what they are worth in dollars. It's too bad, but usually this is the first thing people ask when getting to know someone, and in a society where money is the measure, it makes sense.
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 01:16 pm
@Pangloss,
Its a sad reflection on us all and society when a man or women is measured by the means of his income. I do have this inbuilt strange view of certain professions, medical doctors i admire, solicitors i mistrust,architects a reason to thieve. The individual becomes the image and the image defines the individual. Why cant we just say im a human trying to do my best in an imperfect world, just like the rest of us.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 01:26 pm
@xris,
xris;103347 wrote:
Why cant we just say im a human trying to do my best in an imperfect world, just like the rest of us.


Well, because this is an immediate red flag for your date that you may be unemployed or a criminal...she won't be answering your phone calls anymore! Saying that you are a "student" is usually a good cover, because while it implies that you are broke, unemployed, and leaching off your parents, it still makes it sound like you will be prosperous at some future point in time... :bigsmile:

There are people out there though, who try to look at the inner person. I would say that I am one of them...even though we are all prejudiced to some extent, I try to base my opinion of someone on their true interests, their thoughts, and actions, outside of work. Because in reality, most people are just at work for the paycheck, and its the worst criteria for defining them as a person.

There are many kind, very intelligent people, who work menial jobs and have no degrees or certifications...and as any of the latest news reports on corporate corruption can tell you, there are many vicious, or idiotic wealthy people with numerous degrees and accolades to their name...and vice versa of course. The point is that these things do little in helping us to evaluate the actual person. I try to judge on what is really important, and many other people do this as well...but social norms tell us to look for the money, the degrees, and so forth when first judging someone, so that's what we tend to do.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 01:29 pm
@xris,
It seems very shallow, but it is historically and presently practical from a materialist perspective. You can judge a person's material importance to a society by his/her occupation, hence much of the reason we have sir names like Miller, Porter, Smith, and Baker. This may just be a holdover from an earlier time, but it is still very operational in sociolinguistic features like Honorifics, Dr. Gupta, Sentator Army etc, Judge Abernathy etc...
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 01:47 pm
@GoshisDead,
So by consensus we must adhere to this game show protocol. I have changed so often in my working life, Rebel, union activist, paratrooper, signal engineer , antiques dealer , ice cream salesman, auctioneer,painter, telephone engineer, life guard, international furniture dealer... the list goes on.. but i have to say retired ,well nearly retired..So how do you judge me with any of these handles?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 01:57 pm
@xris,
xris;103359 wrote:
So by consensus we must adhere to this game show protocol. I have changed so often in my working life, Rebel, union activist, paratrooper, signal engineer , antiques dealer , ice cream salesman, auctioneer,painter, telephone engineer, life guard, international furniture dealer... the list goes on.. but i have to say retired ,well nearly retired..So how do you judge me with any of these handles?


In regars to the practicality stated in my last point:
1) Retired means non-productive
2)Retired also means deserving to be non-productive while maintinaing the respect of those who are.

One cannot blame someone for not doing a complete life interview everytime s/he meets a new person. What would be a better get to know about this person's life question? What's your occupation reveals generalized assumptions about education, income, social circles. It even reveals likely interests such as what types of music, food, movies, and sports s/he enjoys. one can extrapolate generalizations from income and education about an entire plethora of things. Advertisers and marketers do it all the time. At the same time what is your occupation does not delve into socially taboo questions such as sexual preference, family status or religion.

Its really a very practical question.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 02:26 pm
@xris,
By analogy, I met my wife back in 2002 on jdate.com, which I'd been using for a year or two. I didn't rule people out if they didn't have a doctoral level education. But I wouldn't meet someone who 1) didn't have a college education (I wanted someone who was an educational peer), 2) wrote in crappy text message shorthand, 3) couldn't spell, and 4) smoked.

#2 and #3 were important because they showed self-awareness and attention to one's presentation to others. #4 was important because i don't smoke.

These were screening tests. Beyond that, to know any more, required an actual conversation.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 06:28 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;103366 wrote:
1) didn't have a college education (I wanted someone who was an educational peer)


And how about someone who is self-educated, yet couldn't afford to pay for a degree? Furthermore, what does this really tell you about someone, when you've got "college grads" out there with degrees from Harvard, Northwest Arkansas Tech University (or some such no-name place), and the internet?

Many times I think that the only thing that brought my parents together was a mutual admiration for their respective 'prestigious' post-grad degrees...this is about the only thing they have in common, and in retrospect, may have been the worst indicator to look at when considering the future quality of the relationship...
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2009 07:56 pm
@xris,
i think the point xris is making is not to judge people based on their occupation. (and i would add also on their college degrees). certainly it is helpful to know what kind of life experience a person has, but the only way to evaluate them as far as whether you would want them as a friend, a mate, or advisor etc, is to meet them in person and develop some experience with them, a sort of history.

hehehe-retired people can also be productive! sometimes moreso than when forced to work for a living.

i have a side question-how many people are ashamed of their jobs? in india it is a very big thing which occupation a person does, and people are given a high degree of respect (though it is not genuine) when they are in a position of power or glamour.

i worked for a mortgage bank four years, then a major health insurance company 14 years, and i have to say i felt ashamed of what i did the whole time. i had very little choice, and i did the best to try and uphold my own moral standards, but it was extremely difficult. this is the best part of retirement-not having the disreputable shadows of the industry or company i work for attached to me.
 
geofra
 
Reply Sun 22 Nov, 2009 09:35 pm
@xris,
Asking what someone does is a conversation starter for people you've just met or have been introduced to. Most of the time it leads to further small talk, but sometimes it allows you to really get to know someone.
 
salima
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 01:41 am
@geofra,
geofra;105272 wrote:
Asking what someone does is a conversation starter for people you've just met or have been introduced to. Most of the time it leads to further small talk, but sometimes it allows you to really get to know someone.


sometimes it is a conversation disaster...picture the girl bringing her favorite guy home to meet mom and when mom asks what does he do for a living, he answers any of the following:

undertaker
stripper

well, i guess you see what i mean...
 
melonkali
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 01:29 pm
@xris,
Since over 80% of the people I've known did NOT work in the careers they'd hoped or trained for, and since one's occupation does seem to be the #1 question asked of people in our society, it might be a good idea for us average joes and jills to have a ready answer, something vague, absurd, convoluted, incredibly dull, or perhaps even hinting at infamy -- as long as it puts a damper on further questioning,eh?

I have a few ideas, but I'd be interested in hearing others:
"Government Security";
"Bank accountant";
"Private Investigator";
"Police undercover agent";
"Coordinator in the Witness Protection Program";
"mortician"';
"pawn shop broker";
"assault weapons specialist"
"substitute teacher (pick your field: limitless possibilities) while working on your novel".

Any other ideas?
rebecca
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 02:15 pm
@salima,
salima;105312 wrote:
sometimes it is a conversation disaster...picture the girl bringing her favorite guy home to meet mom and when mom asks what does he do for a living, he answers any of the following:

undertaker
stripper

well, i guess you see what i mean...
How about 'Pimp'???...That is always a big hit with most folks...
 
salima
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 06:52 pm
@xris,
my daddy used to tell people he clipped coupons. i asked him what that meant, but now i dont remember what he said, except that it was something to do with the depression days...(it didnt mean clipping discoiunt coupons out of the newspaper)
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 07:14 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;103388 wrote:
And how about someone who is self-educated, yet couldn't afford to pay for a degree?
Dude, it was just a screening test. How can I narrow 300 people I don't know down to 10 people I don't know and then ask one of them out? That's how. Set up some criteria. That was one of several criteria. Not necessarily foolproof, but it made the selection process a lot quicker and a lot higher yield.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 08:43 pm
@Aedes,
Quick categorization of people is a necessity for survival. Everyone does it and everyone needs to do it. I'm walking in a bad part of town and I see four Latinos in gang colors, its not like I'm gonna stick around to give them the chance to prove that they aren't dangerous or that deep down they are misunderstood disenfranchised youth who need a hug, I'm going to err on the side of caution.

Quick categorization is also necessary in less dramatic scenarios. By posting this post I'm already being placed in a quick category by everyone reading it. The frst paragraph of this post, although very practical is not politically correct as interpreted through the paradigm being presented in the OP. The occupation question under the current paradigm is much the same practical and productive but not PC according to the OP

The gripe in this thread is not one about human categorization it is about the category schema, as in "oh no we should not judge people on their socioeconomic status because I believe that socioeconomic statuses are not valid criteria for value judgment." However, by disallowing one category for value judgment one simply opens an alternate category for value judgment, as in, "you really value someone's socioeconomic status?, well now I value you less because you have not been culturally enlightened and it is now my duty to educate you and indoctrinate you, thereby doing my part to establish the new value category and its judgment paradigm."

Humans, like all social animals, have an inherent need to categorize others in a pecking order. This will not change no matter what the categories are or their judgment paradigms. Functionally the criteria for that pecking order is arbitrary. What will be the real difference once the new category/value paradigm is established institutionally supplanting the current 'so what do you do for a living' paradigm?
 
 

 
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