Explaining Our Professions to Our Parents

  • Kathi Kellenberger

    SSChampion

    Points: 11811

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Explaining Our Professions to Our Parents

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  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715107

    Good thoughts, Kathi .I usually say I with with computers and then go from there.  I've never had the issue of declining to be tech support go poorly as I just tell family and friends that I don't support PCs but rather the big computers in the cloud ??

  • stan.kappiris

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 129

    I’ve been playing with computers a long time. But when somebody asks me what I do for a living, I tell them straight up.

    Depending on how my career title has changed over the years, (SQL DBA, Network Analyst, Network engineer, and even a bunch of desktop support when I was first starting out).

    Heck, I like helping people.

    If their eyes glaze over then I figure I’ve described my job correctly.

    That’s how I let my ego win.

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  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 994290

    stan.kappiris - Saturday, November 3, 2018 6:35 PM

    I’ve been playing with computers a long time. But when somebody asks me what I do for a living, I tell them straight up. Depending on how my career title has changed over the years, (SQL DBA, Network Analyst, Network engineer, and even a bunch of desktop support when I was first starting out).Heck, I like helping people. If their eyes glaze over then I figure I’ve described my job correctly. That’s how I let my ego win.

    I do about the same thing.  I tell people that I'm a Database Administrator and Computer Programmer and that I'm responsible for the storage, safety, and accessibility of about 40 Terabytes of data for the banking and mortgage industries.  I then explain that a Terabyte is a million million characters of information and if you were to convert that to typewritten pages, you'd have a stack of typewriter paper about 8.33 miles (13.4 kilometers) high.  Times 40, that means that I have to make things easy to find in a stack of paper about 333 miles (536 kilometers) high and it has to be done about 100 to 200 times in the same amount of time that it takes you to blink once fast for about 600 people at the same time.

    I also explain that, compared to some people in the business, I'm a serious lightweight when it comes to the amount of data I work with.

    That's normally when they take a couple of cautious steps back, turn, and walk away.  If we're in an elevator, they normally shirk back to the far corner and I have to remind them that we've arrived at their floor and they can get off now. πŸ˜€

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  • Chris Wooding

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4228

    I usually find the conversation stops when I say that I work with computers πŸ™‚

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124993

    Chris Wooding - Monday, November 5, 2018 6:49 AM

    I usually find the conversation stops when I say that I work with computers πŸ™‚

    That would have been the case 20 years ago, but more recently when I'm at a large family gathering, I find an increasing number of cousins, nephews, nieces and spouses with jobs in IT.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Beatrix Kiddo

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 32350

    My inlaws really, really don't get it, and my father persists in thinking that I work in InfoSec, even though I never have, so it's quite hard-going round my way :D.

  • Mad Hacker

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1394

    Excellent post!

    I've encountered the same issues so I usually just tell people that I do database work. 

    The potential problem with telling people that you work with computers is that they may ask you to troubleshoot a hardware issue or some other issue that isn't remotely related to database work.  I had a neighbor that was an attorney and even after I told him that I was a database guy, he wanted me to start servicing his office network.  Many times people incorrectly assume that when you work in I.T. that you know everything there is to know about computers, so it may not matter what you them.

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124993

    Mad Hacker - Monday, November 5, 2018 10:13 AM

    Excellent post!

    I've encountered the same issues so I usually just tell people that I do database work. 

    The potential problem with telling people that you work with computers is that they may ask you to troubleshoot a hardware issue or some other issue that isn't remotely related to database work.  I had a neighbor that was an attorney and even after I told him that I was a database guy, he wanted me to start servicing his office network.  Many times people incorrectly assume that when you work in I.T. that you know everything there is to know about computers, so it may not matter what you them.

    Those who have a doctorate degree in computer science probably have to put up with folks wanting an opinion about a weird rash.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • below86

    SSChampion

    Points: 11234

    I've repeatedly explained to my mother in law what I do, but she still tries to ask me questions about her iPad.  I don't have an iPad myself, but she keeps asking.:crazy:

    -------------------------------------------------------------
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  • jay-h

    SSCoach

    Points: 18808

    Eric M Russell - Monday, November 5, 2018 6:59 AM

    Chris Wooding - Monday, November 5, 2018 6:49 AM

    I usually find the conversation stops when I say that I work with computers πŸ™‚

    That would have been the case 20 years ago, but more recently when I'm at a large family gathering, I find an increasing number of cousins, nephews, nieces and spouses with jobs in IT.

    When a bunch of guys got together before my son's wedding, I was alone, surrounded by Oracle guys.

    (this may be a dupe post)

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • xsevensinzx

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25531

    Well, I guess I'm a bit younger in the field. I also grew up playing on the computer non-stop since I was 15 years old. My parents have had a battle with me to get off the computer and do school work since then. Never worked out, I failed in school completely because of being hooked on the computer so much. They know very well what I do because they have battled it for so long. In the end, I think they are happy I did because now I have a great career with high earning potential in their eyes regardless if I graduated or not.

    For all other people, I simply tell them I am a computer engineer. Very few people would understand what a data architect truly is and it's too complicated to explain.

  • skeleton567

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4950

    Well, I know that my parents would thoroughly understand my career, even though I lost both of them well before it was fully developed.  They were farmers by choice, up before dawn milking the cows and feeding the livestock, then leaving the farm to work all day at 'paying' jobs, then returning home to run farm equipment until well after dark, and tending to garden crops and canning/freezing meals while my grandmother prepared meals and cleaned house. No one in the family gave it a second thought.  It was what was necessary and expected.  Weren't many 'snowflakes' in those days.  After school, instead of participating in sports and activities, I went home and tended my own livestock projects which helped finance my education, and in the summer worked on a number of other farms where we could get work baling hay and cleaning crops of weeds. And the best wages we ever got for hot, dirty work was 75 cent an hour.  Maybe that's why I appreciated my IT career so much....

    Rick
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
    - L. DaVinci

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124993

    skeleton567 - Tuesday, November 6, 2018 6:40 AM

    Well, I know that my parents would thoroughly understand my career, even though I lost both of them well before it was fully developed.  They were farmers by choice, up before dawn milking the cows and feeding the livestock, then leaving the farm to work all day at 'paying' jobs, then returning home to run farm equipment until well after dark, and tending to garden crops and canning/freezing meals while my grandmother prepared meals and cleaned house. No one in the family gave it a second thought.  It was what was necessary and expected.  Weren't many 'snowflakes' in those days.  After school, instead of participating in sports and activities, I went home and tended my own livestock projects which helped finance my education, and in the summer worked on a number of other farms where we could get work baling hay and cleaning crops of weeds. And the best wages we ever got for hot, dirty work was 75 cent an hour.  Maybe that's why I appreciated my IT career so much....

    It sounds like you've lived a full life and had a chance to spend time outdoors and with your parents. This unfortunately is becoming more rare with each generation.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

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