Author Topic: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.  (Read 11735 times)

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Lady Snowdon

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2012, 09:38:50 PM »
I work for a healthcare insurance company, and lots of people seem to think all I do is sit around stamping "denied" on claims all day.  ::)  I've found that the cheerful and positive approach is the one that works best for me.  If someone asks me what I do, I laugh and tell them, "I work in *myfield* - everyone thinks it's terrible, but the people I work with are so dedicated!" or something similar.  It seems to disarm people that you know what the nebulous "they" thinks about your job/field/industry.  Sometimes I'd really like to say something like, "My life would be so much easier if I just denied everything; I wouldn't have to do nearly as much work!", but many people seem to mishear that as "I wish I could deny everything" so I just go with cheerful and positive instead. 

I'm really curious what industry you're in!   

Golden Phoenix

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2012, 10:27:30 PM »
I was a debt collector. To some people this is on par with saying i kick cute animals for a living.

"Well, someone has to do it, they might as well pay me" With a smile followed by a heap of beandip usually worked in my social circle.

Army Mom

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2012, 10:35:26 PM »
I worked for a certain US government agency that is very unpopular every April  >:D Now that is some tough beandipping! Oddly enough, many married couples work there because it can be difficult to get beyond the "so what do you do?" question with potential dates.

mmswm

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2012, 11:39:16 PM »
I was a middle school math teacher in an inner city school for 10 years.  After I left teaching, I took a job with a major bank (right at the height of the banking crisis).  I've been bashed up one side and down the other for most of my working life because of my chosen professions. These days, when people ask me what I do, I say "research".  I'm currently on long term leave from my job, but my position is actually in a research area within the bank.  Like a PP said, be vague about it.  It really works.
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WillyNilly

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2012, 11:48:02 PM »
I'd embrace it with snark "well yes it is evil but the tears of my victims as we bled them dry is just the best wrinkle cure - see?" or "well if I didn't work for Evil Inc think of those poor put upon activists I'd be putting out of a job!"

Danika

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2012, 11:57:01 PM »
I used to work for a big-name well-known company that makes many things. One division (that I never happened to work for) is often disliked by some folks. If people asked me where I worked and I answered that question, some would be horrified and say "You don't work in the 'One division' do you?" And I'd say very flatly, no emotion whatsoever "no." But if they continued and got on their soapboxes, I'd just reply like they'd just told me some boring fact I'd never heard before "Hmmm." And I wouldn't engage. I'd eventually just bean-dip. But I didn't want to appear guilty or like I was apologizing for or defending my company. Nor did I want to be confrontational. I just didn't engage.

Pen^2

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2012, 06:55:27 AM »
I don't think it's necessary to avoid telling people what you do, unless this sour reaction is really wide-spread. It can be good to chat with someone about your profession if they're not biased about it.

I had a friend who was a debt collector, actually, and then switched fields and worked in taxation. You'd have thought he'd be tarred and feathered. But actually, he was really good about it. Whenever someone started giving him the stinkeye about his profession, he'd say "it's a lot different to what people expect. Why, just the other day..." and tell some hilarious anecdote about his work that was unexpected and bizarre enough to have people interested or at least thrown off-guard, and we could all laugh together about how weird the situation he described was. And nothing bonds people like laughing together. He had a real corker about a woman who tried to pay a $15 fee using a cat that was supposed to be some fancy breed--she turned up at the office, put it on his desk, and walked out before he could respond. It's strange enough that people always start asking 'what was she thinking?' and 'was she crazy?' instead of focusing on how he was trying to apparently commit ethical sins against her. I'm a teacher, and am often informed that I'm the cause of every ill in this world, but have used his technique with more success than I expected, despite being nowhere near as charismatic.

Anyway, if you have any good funny stories from your work, they might help mellow things out a bit. Worst-case scenario, if you see one of the 'types' of people who you've noticed tend to have bad things to say about what you do, just be vague to them specifically, or bean dip and never let them find out at all.

Seraphia

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2012, 08:56:17 AM »
I don't think it's necessary to avoid telling people what you do, unless this sour reaction is really wide-spread. It can be good to chat with someone about your profession if they're not biased about it.

I had a friend who was a debt collector, actually, and then switched fields and worked in taxation. You'd have thought he'd be tarred and feathered. But actually, he was really good about it. Whenever someone started giving him the stinkeye about his profession, he'd say "it's a lot different to what people expect. Why, just the other day..." and tell some hilarious anecdote about his work that was unexpected and bizarre enough to have people interested or at least thrown off-guard, and we could all laugh together about how weird the situation he described was. And nothing bonds people like laughing together. He had a real corker about a woman who tried to pay a $15 fee using a cat that was supposed to be some fancy breed--she turned up at the office, put it on his desk, and walked out before he could respond. It's strange enough that people always start asking 'what was she thinking?' and 'was she crazy?' instead of focusing on how he was trying to apparently commit ethical sins against her. I'm a teacher, and am often informed that I'm the cause of every ill in this world, but have used his technique with more success than I expected, despite being nowhere near as charismatic.

Anyway, if you have any good funny stories from your work, they might help mellow things out a bit. Worst-case scenario, if you see one of the 'types' of people who you've noticed tend to have bad things to say about what you do, just be vague to them specifically, or bean dip and never let them find out at all.

I really like that technique!

Leading with a funny story seems like it would help in a lot of "you do what?!" situations. My job is technical - not nearly as technical as it sounds, but as soon as my "official" title crosses my lips, eyes glaze over. I don't like to say "I work with computers," since then I get people asking me to update their antivirus programs. But making people laugh seems like a really good strategy.
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Kiara

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2012, 09:07:25 AM »
I work for a healthcare insurance company, and lots of people seem to think all I do is sit around stamping "denied" on claims all day.  ::)  I've found that the cheerful and positive approach is the one that works best for me.  If someone asks me what I do, I laugh and tell them, "I work in *myfield* - everyone thinks it's terrible, but the people I work with are so dedicated!" or something similar.  It seems to disarm people that you know what the nebulous "they" thinks about your job/field/industry.  Sometimes I'd really like to say something like, "My life would be so much easier if I just denied everything; I wouldn't have to do nearly as much work!", but many people seem to mishear that as "I wish I could deny everything" so I just go with cheerful and positive instead. 

I'm really curious what industry you're in!   

You too?   :D  People act like I personally decided Great-Aunt Mildred couldn't get her lung transplant.  Usually I do one of a couple things.  My company is owned by a hospital, so half the time I just say I work for them.  Or, if they start going off on what I do, I smile and say "Yeah, I can't imagine how hard our care managers work.  Must be so difficult to evaluate all those treatments.  I'm lucky I'm just in finance."  Which is all true.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2012, 09:22:58 AM »
Ugh, Devix, that stinks.  I don't have any advice, but lots of empathy!  When I worked in HR I got this all the time.  People would just unleash all of their personal, pent-up HR angst at me and I'd be trapped listening to how useless HR was ad nauseam.  It was too draining to try and defend my career and it was disheartening to hear these opinions that felt dismissive of all the blood/sweat/tears I put into my job.

Good luck!

Ginger G

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2012, 09:30:51 AM »
I work in HR also, and what Tabby Uprising said is very true.  The employees where I work pretty much like and respect us, but evidently people at other companies who have had not-so-great HR experiences think we're all "useless" or "out to scr3w employees over".  In addition I work for an insurance company (property & casualty), which also gets a lot of flak and an undeserved reputation for being shady and dishonest.  Heck, watch daytime tv and every other commercial is some law firm railing against insurance companies.  Whenever anyone says anything negative about either my profession or industry, I just say I love my job and I work for a great company.  If they want to continue, then I just say "excuse me" and walk away.

wx4caster

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2012, 10:05:31 AM »
I'm a meteorologist and what works for me is to find the humour in any question or rant directed my way and reply with a combination of bean-dip and sarcasm.

Examples:

Them: "What's the forecast for tomorrow?"
Me: "Check the newspaper. Today's my day off."

Them: "I want.... snow for Christmas/sunshine for the weekend/more rain for my garden."
Me: "The weather-making machine in the basement is broken and the parts are on back-order" or "I'll need 2 months notice and the exact delivery date is not guaranteed".

Them: "Weather forecasts are always wrong."
Me: "The forecast is for the entire county, not just your backyard.  A few sprinkles during your picnic when the forecast called for a chance of showers is not wrong - just annoying."

In spite of all the criticism I get sometimes, I really do love my job.  It is endlessly fascinating and I work with a great group of people.
The days are long but the years are short.

Eden

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2012, 10:10:36 AM »
I think this thread has offered several great techniques and I'd stock them in my arsenal if I were the OP to use depending on my mood. If I really did not feel up to the possibility of some conflict, I'd give the vague or slightly misleading answer. E.g., if I worked in pharmaceuticals and someone asked what I did I'd respond, "I work in healthcare supply." But if I was up for the potential for the reaction to go either way, I'd give a more precise answer and have a positive anecdote at the ready, as well as some bean dip.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2012, 10:35:55 AM »
I have a tendency to be discreet about the fact that I work for the DMV.  Looking back at it, however, I am more likely to be asked questions than be attacked, but I try to avoid it anyway.

If it can right down to it, I am very proud of my job, my employer, and how good I am at my job, and I think my attitude shows.  You might not like my job, and regard me as "one of those bloodsuckers from the state," but I am doing an honest job, working hard, and nothing and no one can take that from me.
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Sterling

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Re: When you apparently work for Evil Inc.
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2012, 10:58:42 AM »
I work in education and I tend to get a lot of people saying REALLY nasty things about the types of students i work with.  They basically say none of these students should be in college and how are they suppose to make it in the real work and that my job is a waste of tax payer money.

My husband works for a Mega Corp that has a reputation for being evil even though neither of us feels that it really is.
My solution is to generally raise and eyebrow, make some noncommittal sound and move on in conversation avoiding the topic.
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