Friday, September 22, 2006

Career Theory: Providing Answers to Life's Awkward Social Questions

This week I travelled to the Hub city. And that can only mean one thing [Ok, maybe two]: I wanted to put my LaSenza discount membership card to good use, or for some training for work. It might not be an either/or situation, or it might. I'll exercise my right to maintain a bit of mystery. And perhaps a bit of dignity.

I'm an employment counsellor. Which is much like being a regular sort of counsellor in that you hear people complain, er..."share" a lot but you don't get paid quite as well. Not by the hour at least. Which is much like being a street walker. But I digress...

Sometimes the sharing is about their careers, or lack thereof. Other times you're privy to TMI, like the warts they got "down there" because their husband's extra-martial conquest gave him a burning, itching, festering parting gift. Often, you're the only one this person has to talk to. Probably for good reason. I can imagine it is hard to maintain composure for a non-professional, much less keep down what you ate for breakfast, while hearing about such things. And the mental images. Oh my *** the mental images. Hold me tight Bruno.

This week's session was a refresher course on basic career theory. I won't bore you with the in's and outs, unless ofcourse you are on the edge of your seats in anticipation (in which case, email me and I'll divulge all my worldly knowledge. Or at least the part I took notes on).

Blah blah blah. I wasn't paying attention when it hit me; the server who was refilling our water pitcher gave me a knock on the back of the head "accidentally" with her tray. Ok, now I was awake. And bleeding. Which is good (well not the bleeding part, but the awake part). Because what was about to happen, was big. Monumental. We're talking Superman versus Batman monumental.

Our faciliatator reminded us, it's all in how you frame something. No, not that way. This way. For someone who is unemployed, they feel better if they say they are "between jobs". And there it was. So simple. The key to handling life's awkward social questions.
The answer to the question I get asked over and over, and over.

Question (usually from insensitive smug marrieds): "Why are you single?"
Answer (usually from me, unless I feel like using Ed the no-nonsense sock puppet to speak on my behalf): "I'm between husbands right now."

Absolutely. Bloody. Brilliant!

And applicable to other "don't deserve a decent answer to that question" questions.

Question: "Why does that dog always **** on my leg?"
Answer: "I'm between dog trainers right now."

Question: "What's that smell?"
Answer: "I'm between showers right now."

[Note: These are only examples. I do not have a dog. And I do shower. Twice daily.]

The beauty of this framing is, there's no way the questioner can come back from that. End of questions.

Question askers = 0
Erika = 1

[Note: linen napkins are very absorbent and can assist with superficial head wounds.]


Peter DeWolf said...

I'm sorry, I got a little distracted by "LaSenza." ;)

It's funny, I've been using "I'm between girlfriends" off and on fo years. Not sure what others thought, but it always amused me.

Hannah said...

That's brilliant. Beats the usual 'scales' reply, anyway. But the sooner people learn that the question is rude, and NONE OF THEIR BLOODY BUSINESS, the better.


Kirsten said...

In between boyfriends is a great way to say pisser off jack ass for even asking such a stupid question. If people new why they were single most would correct the problem and get themselves attached. I wish I had this come back when I was single. When asked, why are you single, I always said because I choose to be.

Erika said...

Kiki, are you trying to say I have a problem? ;)

Kirsten said...

I always thought the reason I was single was because the time wasn't right and I had things to learn before I met the right one. No problem per say.

Daniel said...

ahahhaha, I can't believe it... those questions really was thrown at ya! R U fer real?? People ask these questionS? You LeaD good gaL, there's Just Sum ... out of sense people out there =D

julie said...

That's great. I'm going to have to try that sometime.