by Kenneth Justice
~Let’s get something out of the way; I really don’t like talking about work.
“Huh? But Kenneth, it seems like all you do is write about experiences you have with clients inside and outside of work”
Let me explain, some people really love their job and are gifted with the ability to talk about their job with everyone;
—) they talk about work with relatives
—) they talk about work with friends
—) they talk about work with strangers while standing in line
I’m not one of those people
It’s not that I hate work (although if I had to choose between being at work or being on a beach in the Caribbean……) it’s that I’m not a big fan of talking about job-related issues once the workday is over. By the time I get home each evening and especially on the weekends…the last thing I want to think about is work.
I also believe that most people don’t really care to hear about the ins-and-outs of another person’s career. Unless you are the President of the United States, a Prime Minister, or the head coach of Manchester United…..the average person isn’t too interested in your job.
Sure, our friends and loved ones will patiently inquire about our career…..but for the most part you are talking about co-workers, clients, and issues that are fairly irrelevant to your loved one’s life.
I do enjoy talking about individual experiences. After I’ve had a couple days, few weeks, months, or even years to think about particular instances which occurred at work and I can see a way that the story could be relevant to people outside my vocation; it is then that I try to craft a compelling narrative to tell my friends and family.
Nowhere do I detest talking about work more than after Church on Sunday. If you’ve ever been to a Catholic or Protestant Sunday Mass or Worship Service than I’m sure you know what it looks like for the men who attend; standing together after the service, huddled in groups of 3 and 4 in the sanctuary or narthex there they are talking about their work. Yuck! The conversation is always so dull and uninteresting. Bob talks about being an accountant, Kris talks about his computer design work, David talks about his sales job…..and Kenneth stands off to the side counting the minutes till he can leave and go get a cup of coffee.
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend anyone but I really don’t care about the minute details of your job. Perhaps I’m too much of a big-picture kind of person. I enjoy talking about the larger principles related to our lives…..not the little details of your office life and the people you work with that I’ve never met and most likely never will.
Instead of hearing about the Excel Spreadsheet you’ve got to have finished by Tuesday, I’d rather hear about;
—) your long-term goals for life
—) the type of art (movies, music, etc.) that inspires you
—) your thoughts on war and violence
—) how you spend your free time
Am I being overly critical on the issue of work-related conversation?
This past week I read an article by a young man on disability who feels disconnected to the people with whom he attends church; ‘the other men talk about their careers but since I don’t have one there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to connect with them’. I feel really bad for the person in this situation because even though I have a career……I don’t enjoy talking to the men after church about it!
In the film As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson portrays a character whose entire life was focused on his career and when retirement comes…..he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Isn’t this what we see so often throughout Western Society; people focus so much on their career that when they retire they feel lost and as though their life has no meaning?
Statistically, many people post-retirement who do not find a new interest in life end up dying much sooner than if they had just kept working.
However, I am willing to be honest; not everyone enjoys talking about the things that I enjoy. My blog suffers from the confines of my own narrowly defined interests. But that is what makes us human; there is a tremendous amount of diversity among humanity and so we all enjoy talking about different topics.
—) Some people want to read blogs about arts & crafts
—-) Some people want to read blogs with a specific conservative or liberal slant
—-) Some people want to read blogs about a particular era in the lifespan (teenage years, parenting, retirement, etc.)
We are all different…..and that is okay. I don’t want to make it sound like my interests are somehow ‘better’ or ‘greater’ than the person who wants to talk about computer programming and or Vulcan Language skills.
However, if we want to expand the reach of our audience, if we want to connect with more people, and if we want to build more friendships…..we may want to consider what it is that we are talking about and whether or not people are interested in listening.
You may also want to consider drinking another cup of coffee, which reminds me……
Categories: Culture & Society