Author Topic: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.  (Read 10961 times)

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Devix

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When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« on: November 05, 2012, 07:52:43 PM »
I thought about posting this in the “Work” section of the forum but since it deals with general people’s reactions to my profession instead of problems with co-workers or anyone in my profession I thought it would be best here.  If not, please feel free to move it.

Let me just preface this by saying that I absolutely love my job.  I went to school for a completely different field and somehow stumbled into this field and I couldn’t be happier.  It allows me to travel all over the world (just got back from Paris!), meet a lot of interesting people and it pays very well.  Now, there is absolutely nothing illegal about what I do and as far as I thought there was nothing morally ambiguous about it but whenever I’m introduced to people and they ask me what I do there are always the certain few that seem to think my profession is the epitome of evil. 

Now, it’s usually a certain type of people that seem to have an issue with my profession and my field in general and as soon as I’ll mention what I do they’ll start on a diatribe about why what I do is what’s wrong with the world and they’ll start sprouting off their opinions while having never worked in the field themselves and being completely jaded and misinformed by their own personal issues.  In fact, I’ve seen quite a few posts in this board where posters have the same opinions as these people.  Up until now my response has been silence with a bemused smirk that only seems to set them off even more (I know, I know, I shouldn’t be doing it but I don’t even notice when my lips turn up in a smirk).  My only other responses haven’t exactly been etiquette approved and I really want to change that.

So my question is how does one reply to those who seem to believe you work for the center of evil?  I don’t want to set anyone off but I also don’t want to leave them with the sense that what they’re saying is right.

Sneezy

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 08:00:37 PM »
Bean dip, lots and lots of bean dip. Pretend you heard them wrong and become enthusiastic about whatever you know they would love to talk about. Chances are, there is nothing you can say that won't change someone's mind and anything you say can be spun in such a way as to either confirm what they want to believe or allow them to brand you as defensive.

Mental Magpie

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 08:29:04 PM »
Firstly, I don't see why the bemused smirk is rude/wrong.  I think it is the perfect response because you're showing them that they're not getting to you.

Secondly, you could always just refuse to answer the question.  I know that seems very weird because "What do you do?" is usually an innocuous question, so you can always just give a broader generalization if you are compelled to answer.  For example, I am a Corrections Officer (and just did O.C. training today...my nose still burns a little), so instead of telling people that I can say, "I work for the State."
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 08:48:26 PM »
Well, clearly you're selling tobacco to minors in a casino while wrapped around a pole ,....

Anywho, mental magpie is right. You may be proud of your work (as you should be) but you don't need to go into detail with folks.

"So, Devix, what do you do?
Oh, it's dull - tell me about your work!
No - really - what is it that you do?"

At this point you lean in and say "if I told you, I'd have to kill you. What do you think of this hummus?"

Jaelle

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 08:50:51 PM »
Hmm, I sometimes get a similar reaction to my field.  I love my career -- and feel very strongly about what I do -- so what I usually want to do is leap right into the fray.

What I'm learning to do, though, is acquire that semi-bemused smile and wander off. I've found you usually can't change people who make those kinds of assumptions.
“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

ilrag

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 09:01:28 PM »
I don't like to talk about my job generally because it's super technical.  Even the name of my company contains words that most people don't know.  I just deflect, since I don't want to give a vocab/science lecture.  Just don't name your company.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 09:11:16 PM »
This might be a little confrontational, but for extreme cases where bean dipping doesn't work, you could look them firmly in the eye and say "Excuse me - are you implying that I am a bad person for working in XYZ Industry?"

You could even go further and tell them how very offended YOU are that they're being so disrespectful of your profession.

JenJay

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 09:14:14 PM »
I'm trying to think of a controversial business that doesn't have some positive benefit and I'm having a hard time coming up with anything. In your shoes I'd focus on the positives and say "It can be controversial, but what I love about it is [positive thing]. What do you do?"

Sharnita

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2012, 09:17:01 PM »
There are some people ardently opposed to big box stores. Dentists can get a lot of trash talk.  Teachers get negative talk about whatever subject they teach. I know there are other examples.

Hmmmmm

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2012, 09:23:53 PM »
I'd just reply, "It's a shame you feel that way.  What do you do?". And if they persist..."Our opinions are very different.  I think it's best we find a different topic." and if they wont stop, "Oh look, my cats on fire. Got to go."


dharmaexpress

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2012, 09:28:42 PM »
Oh I am so relieved, because this happens to me, too!  I've had dates who never wanted to see me again after learning what I do, and friends from grad school who disowned me when I took my job.  Which I *love*.

I guess my reaction is probably pretty dismissive: a bless-your-heart-smile with a side of bean dip.

I love that this post makes me sound like I craft slippers made from real kittens.  I don't, promise.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 09:30:33 PM by dharmaexpress »

Venus193

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2012, 09:28:54 PM »
My industry takes a lot of heat, too, and I make no apologies for it.  Just bean dip.

White Lotus

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2012, 09:31:14 PM »
Why not describe the specifics of your job?  Don't say "I work for Evil Empire, Inc." Say, "I jockey a computer all day," or "analyze numbers", "analyze data," or some other infinitely boring specific?

oz diva

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2012, 09:32:41 PM »
You work for a bank, right. ;)

Victoria

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2012, 09:33:32 PM »
Well a smirk is a smug or conceited smile. If that is really the face you are making, then it makes sense that it sets already angry people off. That you do it yet claim you don't notice you are doing it isn't exactly making me sympathetic to your case.

I say be vague and describe what you do if you can. Say you are an international drug dealer and you tell people you are in sales or pharmaceuticals. If you're an arms dealer, you say security. You're in charge of clothing sweatshops, you say fashion. Etc.

Then ask the other person a question or get them onto small talk. Since it's a certain type of person, you can be more forthcoming once you know a person isn't that type.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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