Monday, September 20, 2010

Pseudonymed Job?

My mom has a name that is easily transposed over the phone or in noisy rooms. Sometimes when she orders coffee at Starbucks, she gives a fake name for simplicity. She'll just say Sarah. Whether they add an H or not, she'll know it's her drink. She calls it her Starbuck's name. I don't have the heart to tell her that strippers also have fake names that they call their stripper name, which is where I'm fairly sure the term "Starbucks' name" might have been copied. Then again, maybe it's my mom who doesn't have the heart to tell me where she got the idea to give a fake name at Starbucks. Probably not though.

Recently Dr. Awesome and I are considering inventing fake jobs.

A few years back we started noticing that the innocent question "what do you guys do for a living?" often turned into either a long drawn out conversation of Dr. Awesome's research (Awesome is so complicated!) or else a heated political debate about education. Everyone has something to say about teachers. We started slowly modifying our responses whenever we didn't feel up to a fight or when we were looking for a quick escape.

How is the job market?
You know, it's about the same everywhere right now. I think everyone is just working really hard.
Isn't no child left behind stealing money from public schools to give to private schools?
I'm pretty sure they are still separate but I usually let the politicians fight it out.
Oh so you could get a job with (insert name of company that is completely unrelated to Dr. Awesome's research or career path.)
Yeah potentially! I'll have to keep my options open. 
 (After lengthy explanation of research) Oh I get it!
(thinks: no, no you don't.) Great!

The other weekend at a sports bar. We shared a booth with a couple we just met owing to the large football crowd. As we got to talking, the inevitable "so, what do you do?" question came up. Unfortunately, it turned out that the the guy was a student at the college where Dr. Awesome teaches and the gal was an aspiring preschool teacher who apparently knew everything there is to know about the job market. Also most unfortunately they talked through the entire game despite our indications (screaming, booing, fist pounding) that we were there solely for cheering on our team. As soon as we'd quiet down there would be a comment or question about charter schools, or the job market, or firing teachers based on test scores.

And so it went on and on.

Don't get me wrong, most of the time we enjoy sharing about our lives and what we do, especially with friends and family. Certainly (obviously) education is a passion of mine and Dr. Awesome is well versed at explaining his life's work. But sometimes, like on Saturday afternoon when we just want to watch the football game with a beer, we don't feel up to being tiraded about charter policies, wondering if we are drinking in front of a student, or being reminded that our career paths both have a long way to go before we land in long term positions.

I wonder what spies tell people they do? Maybe I should tell them I'm a stripper. Or at least that I work at Starbucks.

1 comment:

  1. I've watched enough Burn Notice and Covert Affairs to tell you that spies have a complete cover that they live out. They have answers to all of the questions that anyone could possibly ask them about their supposed job that they really have never done at all.

    The only problem with having an alternate job is that you'll get asked questions about THAT job instead of your own. Then again, you can just make stuff up and it really wouldn't matter now, would it?

    I usually just tell people something as simple as possible and leave it at that: "I work for a software company." I usually get one of two responses: "Oh, do you work for Microsoft?", which I promptly ignore with a curt "no." or something more profound like "hell no." If someone really wants to know, I give them more detail and tell them I work for a statistical analysis software company, and that usually shuts them up pretty quickly. Nobody knows a damn thing about statistics. :)

    I think you should stick with "I work for the government", which in a roundabout way is still true. :)