As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling under-respected lately. And the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s not just a recent thing.
In school, I was known as the smart kid in the class. Anybody who’s ever been a kid knows that “smart” is not a highly-regarded quality in the schoolyard. Fortunately I was also a jock so I didn’t suffer too badly, but it was a relief to go on to university where “smart” would get some respect.
Little did I know.
I actually wanted to go into engineering, but my parents convinced me that a) I shouldn’t neglect my artistic side; b) my brother was already in engineering and I shouldn’t compete; and c) interior design would be a better career for me because when I got married and had a family, I could make the house look nice for my husband.
As wince-worthy as that advice is now, it was well-meant at the time and like the dutiful daughter I was, I followed it.
Interior design was not a good fit. *cue uproarious laughter at the understatement of the century*
I was really good at the technical side. I totally sucked at the design part.
Whenever somebody asked me what I did for a living, I cringed. When I told them, their instant reaction was to pat me on the head and tell me how nice and girly it was for me to make houses pretty.
I spent far too much time explaining that no; interior decorators only pick pretty colours. Interior designers take a brutal four-year university bachelor’s degree, draft plans and construction details for walls, casework, and millwork, know the ins and outs of building codes and fire codes, supervise construction sites, and administer complex project tenders and contracts. And they pick pretty colours.
Unless they’re me. Then they get one of the other designers to pick pretty colours for them.
After twelve excruciating years, I switched to IT, which suited me much better. You’d think that would garner some respect, but it turns out that announcing you’re a computer geek stops conversations dead. People’s eyes dart sideways, they mumble, “I don’t know anything about computers”, and then they flee.
You’d think I was trying to engage them in a rousing discussion about PPPoE protocol or something.
Okay, fine. So now I’m an author.
When I tell people that, they recoil as if I’d just stuck my hand down my pants and started smiling and humming. Usually they mutter something to the effect of “Oh, God, another author” and flee.
Or they pat me on the head and tell me how nice and girly it is for me to write pretty little romances.
Have you seen my books?
So I give up. From now on when people ask me what I do, I’m going to tell them I’m a cannibalistic serial killer. And that they’re looking particularly tasty today.
They’ll still flee, but at least I’ll get a laugh out of it.
Anybody else getting respect for their career? Please… tell me what it’s like…
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Many thanks to Shree over at Heartsongs for nominating me for the Liebster and One Lovely Blog awards! To (kinda) fulfill the requirements of the awards, here’s a link to a couple of posts with obscure facts about me, and please pop over to visit my favourite bloggers – they’re in the blogroll at the right. Thanks!