Hang around a group of teachers and it won’t belong before you hear one say something like, “Only a teacher is expected to grade 135 papers on their days off.” There’s always some truth to the complaint, but whenever I hear it (or say it myself), I wonder what annoyances are unique to other occupations. My friends from church and high school include entrepreneurs, medical professionals, math post docs, full time ministry workers, contractors, graphic designers, and the like. So, I asked them about the whines of their professions.
Seth, a firefighter: Only a firefighter is expected wake up from a sound sleep and get dressed in 85 pounds of equipment in 30 seconds.
Steve, a store owner: Only a store owner is expected to willingly play the villain, when the parent of a misbehaving child points at them and says, if you don’t behave that man will eat you.
Dr. Stephen D.: Only a Psychologist or other therapist gets to hear dysfunctional parents say “fix my kid”.
Kathryn, a call center Customer Representative for a major airline: Only a Customer Representative is required to work two to four hours of mandatory overtime daily – including first and second day off.
Holly, a medical lab technician: Only lab technicians are expected to work with other professionals who don’t know how to screw the lid on a urine specimen.
David, a regional office counsel for a major construction company: We (I) train and train and train on our processes. Yet some of them are done wrong on every project by one crew or another.
Amy, a UX/ Graphic Designer: Only a UX (user experience) designer would be expected to design a fresh, clean, unique look for a new app using only the color blue.
Keaton, a math postdoc: Only a Math Postdoc is expected to perform field-changing research, and be an excellent teacher to whiney college students, and travel to present at international conferences, and write grant applications to funding agencies, and do service to the university, profession, surrounding city, the saguaros, etc. all at the same time. And for barely more than a teacher’s salary, but we have a Ph.D. But hey, we get summers “off”!
Stephen, a nurse: We nurses are also a pretty complainy lot. Only a nurse would be expected to play the part of waiter, grief counselor, and housekeeper all whilst being expected to be a nurse (and remember to tighten the lids of urine samples being sent to lab. – couldn’t resist Holly).
Sarah, a college minister: Only a college minister is expected to answer late-night texts from students, walk the murky line of mentor/counselor/friend, remember all the things that 15 people have told me about their lives in the last week, be okay with a constantly shifting schedule, invest deeply in relationships with students yet have enough energy to develop solid friendships, run events on evenings and weekends while modeling healthy work-life boundaries.
Heather, a content creator in advertising/production: Only someone in production is expected to pay rent on a place they only live in 2 days a month.
Ailyn, an Emergency Room Scribe: Only an ER scribe is expected to type, listen, respond, answer phone calls, and pay attention to everything that is going on in the ER at the same time without getting distracted by all the noises.
Tyler, Med Student: Only med students are asked to work 28 hour shifts, experience the weight of sickness and death, take 3+ hour exams every few weeks, and pay thousands of dollars for the opportunity to do it all.
Well, there you have it. I’ve written before that I prefer the complications that come with teaching over the complications that come with other professions, and reading these peeves from my friends only confirms that opinion. I bet all my friends prefer the complications that come with their professions, too.
So, here’s a self-care tip – the next time you’re grumpy about an unfair, unfun, unrewarding part of your job, just keep in mind that you could be dealing with spilt specimen samples.