Social Question

hominid's avatar

Does your career influence your thinking?

Asked by hominid (7337points) May 28th, 2014

I know that certain personality types might gravitate towards work that fits their personality. But we spend such a large part of our day doing whatever it is that we do – it seems that the influence of our work will have an effect on the way we think.

For example, I’m a software engineer/developer/programmer. I’ve been doing this crap for 15 years. When I’m approaching a non-work problem, I often find myself tackling it the way I do a software problem (objects, methods, relational dbs, etc.). Sometimes my wife calls me on it. I’ve inadvertently sent her emails of pseudocode.

But what about police officers? They are often dealing with people who are trying to deceive, and they are forced to be an authority. How does that influence their personal life?

What do you do, and does the actual work influence the way you think and interact?

** Additionally – if you are raising children, this sure as hell counts as a career.

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9 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes, I have been told I am overly critical and I pick things apart too much. I generally have to not only figure out how to make something work but more importantly how it can go wrong.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t have a career, I just have a job. I have two different dimensions in which I live. The work world, and the fuck about world. My mentality changes when I go to work, so that I can concentrate on my tasks and do them right. I change my whole mentality, and become a smiling robot.

So to answer the question, which I wouldn’t have if my work didn’t actually change me…it helped me a lot in my life. I’m a waitress, which demands interaction with people. But as a teen I was abnormally shy, and talking with strangers, and even with people I knew, was a nightmare. I got my first job ever in a Jamaican restaurant, and I wondered how the fuck I was going to do something that required me to interact with people, at all times. Wasn’t as hard as I thought, but I really did have to put my fear aside and put on a robot face, talk loud and clear and ’‘not care’’. Well turns out I must have been doing something well, because out of all my jobs, waitressing covers about 90%. But there comes a difference, a very big one, in between not wanting to do something, and eventually not having a choice.

That whole switching out of bodies/dimensions really did help for my shyness issues though, even in times where I wasn’t at work. When I felt overwhelmed, I just did what I usually did at work, and found that it works out. Enough that today, it has either become a habit, or I overcame some of my shyness. I’m not even sure which, but it has influenced me slightly. That’s a close answer to what you’re asking, I think.

Judi's avatar

By nature I am a very liberal person. I spent most of my life in Property Management and own rental properties. My field has a very cut throat “Snidley Whiplash,” slum lord reputation.
Although I was often unpopular at local Apartment Association functions for calling people out for expressing disdain for our customers, I think it helped me be more balanced and made me realize things that I may not have realized before such as what it means to bother your neighbor, how what someone does can devalue a property, and how many people are out there who are totally irresponsible. I was really naive before I got into this field, but I never lost my ability to see each resident as an equal human being like a lot of my colleagues did.

zenvelo's avatar

For me, the influence has been in the other direction. My view of life and the world and how I fit into it has influenced me at work.

I work in an industry that is the epitome of cutthroat capitalism. Yet much of it is based on “just and equitable principles of trade.” And because of that, I am able to keep my conscience assuaged.

JLeslie's avatar

I absolutely think it does. Remember the Nashville cop we used to have on here? John something. Seemed like a nice genuine guy. But, I remember him answering a Q about driving across country and how he would never go anywhere without his gun. They experience so many bad people and I think their view of what percentage of people will try to do something bad is skewed because of their experience. It’s understandable.

Working in retail, hair, and in the arts I think those people tend to be more liberal on gay issues, because they interact with openly gay people. This probably mattered more 20 years ago, now many more people are open about their sexuality in all career lines and people are more accepting in general.

My dad tries to treat everyone like he does people at work and it backfires. At home people tend to be emotionally invested and need to be dealt with differently.

I think some of it is a little chicken and egg. You are in a career because it suits your personality, and at the same time a certain career path can also influence your personality and your view of the world.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Most definitely. I had to broaden my tolerances, but it wasn’t a difficult task because I loved my work. The one commonality all my patients had was that they were sick or injured. It didn’t matter if it was a notoriously bad Boston cop, a former guard at Bergen Belsen, the head of the local gay coalition, or just a nice old lady. They all received the best medical care I could provide.

downtide's avatar

I work in customer service and while I don’t work on the phone all day now, I did that for several years. And yes, it does carry over into other aspects of my life too. Politeness, listening skills, compassion and respect for others and never making assumptions about people. One of the things I have to deal with on a regular basis is dealing with policies where the policy holder has passed away, so I am talking with bereaved family-members.

One time I took a call from an elderly lady who had just lost her husband and she wanted the policy put over into her own name, which I did. She was crying on the other end of the line, and she was afraid because she’d been with him for fifty years and he always dealt with household business and she just didn’t know what to do or how to handle anything. She was in her seventies and she had never in her life lived on her own. I talked with her for about half an hour (even though my call-times were targeted and I wasn’t supposed to be on a call for more than eight minutes) and at the end of it she had stopped crying but I had to take a break to shed a few quiet tears for her.

JLeslie's avatar

@downtide I just helped my MIL open her first bank account ever, she is in her 70’s and was a nervous wreck. Thank goodness the people at the bank were wonderful and understanding. My MIL does not speak English, so everything needs to be translated and interpreted, because the person who opens and services the accounts does not speak Spanish. A week later she had to go back by herself to open another account (this was all planned from the beginning) I doubt she slept the night before. Since then she has one additional question (this has all happened over several weeks). She felt bad to bother them with a question and worried about her ignorance in how everything works. They always are understanding, and finally she feels comfortable going to the bank by herself. When she goes there is a teller who can translate or they call me. I’m so proud of her, and it really all hinged on the customer service at the bank that made her feel comfortable. What you did for that women was something she is very grateful for I am sure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Absolutely. My lawyer was chatting with us once. I was pg and he shared a story of seeing his pregnant wife’s tummy for for the first time when was “in a tub of water.”...Then he pulled himself up short, shook his head and said, “I mean she was in the bath tub.” The specificness of it came out because that is how he is used to speaking in courth.

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