Today’s little thoughts as I was driving back from a riding lesson was all about labels. How we and others see ourselves. Very often the first thing that people ask is or try to find out if they’re stalking us on social media or checking out our profile on a dating site is “what do you do for a living?”. Fair question, it’s always interesting to find that out, but does finding out change that persons perception of you? I think it does.
When I say what I do normally people look confused so I broaden it to I.T. Which of course has other connotations at that point, people think I can of course fix their computer, their wireless router and anything else that involves wiring. Most of the time I can but that’s not what I do. The other image is of course the dismal one of the guy on the Helpdesk, headset on, listening to people’s woes over Outlook, Word, internet connectivity or something like that. And that perception that I fix stuff is yet again there. I guess actually my job is more about designing my bits right so the help desk guy gets as little hassle as possible…
If I had told you I was a refuse collector would you have perceived me differently? I suspect yes, but why? Well that’s because society still classes us by the jobs that we do and not the people we are. Lawyers, doctors, priests, the upstanding citizens of our so called human ecology can be as immoral as the next guy, in fact can be worse. The immunity such a profession can give means that some feel they can manipulate the situation to fit their favoured outcome, and as a society we let them because that’s what we do.
The call centre worker, well I’ve been there before, being shouted at, then looking after or training the poor guys being shouted at, probably demonstrate some of the most powerful problem solving skills and quick thinking in order to resolve the being shouted at situation. It is those on the front line, the anonymous voice who get abused the most and yet they have no power to manipulate the world as the guy in the grey suit with the letters after his name does.
But here’s the thing. Every single profession I’ve mentioned above involves people with likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams. They are merely acting in the paid time that they are held captive by the employer to do what they do. And yet still it defines our perception of the person.
I spend a lot of time playing down my intellect to people when they discover the work that I do if they don’t quite get it. I often feel embarrassed like I’ve been found out. The “Oh so you must be pretty clever then” is almost an accusation of being stealthy in my approach to appear as a human when I clearly am not.
But my life is so much more than the job that I do, and each time my job role has changed I remain the same person, I just learn a little more. Sometimes I’m a mom, sometimes I’m a zookeeper, sometimes I’m a wonderer, a biker, a horse rider, a lazy bitch watching Netflix in bed, at every single point I’m not being clever, I’m simply being me.
Some people certainly live and breath the work that they do. They just don’t stop and whilst it’s admirable it makes them boring to me. Yes the passion is great when someone loves what they do, but you can be too much of a good thing at which point you become that and nothing else.
So next time I see the guy emptying the bins, or the lady at the check out, or speak to the advisor for my insurance, my gas bill or buy things from a shop I’ll try to see the person behind the role and wonder what else lies behind the uniform or the well trained voice. When we remember that everyone else is a human too our prejudices of the unknown melt away. The lady in the burka often persecuted in today’s society is just a woman who has made a decision to demonstrate her faith, the guy in the overalls is fixing or building the things that we need for our everyday lives and so on, without the mix of people in our world we would all be clones. I am lucky to live in a country where choice is allowed, where freedom of speech is encouraged, but it’s sad to be lucky, that’s the way it should be regardless of our location.
I don’t fight for feminism because it’s now a dirty word, sullied by the extremist views of the bra burners, the man haters and the ones who accuse and abuse the rules to make the results in their favour. We often forget that our animalistic biological roles are separate to the intellectual roles that we play in the world. As a mother I try to instil the values that I see as important into my daughter, as a female being dated or in a relationship I am a woman, the potential child bearer, the yin that balances out the yang. But it doesn’t mean that I must always be that role in everything I do. At the gym I lift heavy whenever I can, in my job I out intellect the intellectuals in the chess like mind games of design and solution, but it’s all being lead by the person inside.
Sometimes that person inside is just a small child as she tries to make sense of the world around her with the hope that no one can see her breaking inside as she bluffs her way through trying to hold it together. Sometimes that person is the oldest, wisest witch with the forces of nature behind her and intuition leading her when she feels her strongest. There’s always a balance to be had in the child like wonder and the wise witch who knows the rules of the universe, and when the balance is equal she is at her happiest. She can enjoy the experience with her eyes open wide but interpret it with the wiseness of the child that was always considered to be old for her years.
In my belief we are purely energy driving the machine of the biology we’re born into. When the biology is old our energy is transferred to a new machine to start again and experience some more. The soul which is mine is an old one, the energy is fresh but the experience is vast. There are irrational fears built from experiences before this time that cannot be explained by events of the current phase of life into which I’ve been born. It makes me patient most of the time, but frustrated at behaviour of the world as a whole when I see people are wrongly perceived, persecuted generation after generation. It means that I don’t fear death all that much, but the pain of the process in which it inevitably happens.
So be the person inside, drop the job role, the perception of the way you should act and be the person you are, you’ll be perceived as more genuine. Don’t worry about validation from the people around you, validate yourself and have confidence that when you are being who you are it really doesn’t matter what you do to earn your bread.