Meeting new people is vital for your social circle and also, for personal growth.
If we surrounded ourselves with mirror images of our own personalities and idiosyncracies, not only would you never broaden your horizons, you would also suffer some truly awful social gatherings.
The traits of many that you encounter will of course end up being grounds for warstories passed around your nearest and dearest. The time that you met a guy who was the loudest mouthbreather you’ve ever met. Or what about that girl who loved to talk about her various skin complaints?
What is vital – and mostly painful – is those first stages when you are introduced to or bundled together with a stranger. Those tentative words that are intended to play safe but also to extend the olive branch of friendship are a figurative minefield. It is best to avoid the potentially hazardous patches that include but are not limited to;
Kids – Do you have them? Are they normal? Are they ugly?
Cars – You just compared cars, and you have a hatchback. They have a Mercedes, and three more. Awkward.
Partners – Oh, she is your wife? When is she expecting? She isn’t pregnant you say?….
Holidays – Again, your weekend in Bognor Regis builds resentment with the guy who has just returned from Va D’Isere. Everyone gets jealous of Bognor Regis.
Food – Being told about what makes someone produce more gas than a hot air balloon through allergies is not safe ground. No one wants to hear it.
So, that leaves one thing left to munch on over the communal table. What do you do for a living?
Work takes up a preposterous amount of your life, so it is inevitable that you will talk shop. You will trade off with your respective occupations and the initial gauging of this person you made in the first seven seconds will be fleshed out. Their job is part of their identity, therefore you will judge the person on what they do.
If they reveal they work in emergency services, you will subconsciously respect them a little more.
If they say they work in an admin-based role, you will immediately switch off a little.
If they say they work in a mortuary, you will think they’re a litle creepy.
If they say they work in a less-skilled role, you will demote them in terms of stature.
You can’t help it, it’s what we all do. When asked about my role, I immediately offset my admission to being a tram driver with the fact I used to be a Police Officer.
You see, I know how it sounds and I know what some people think. I normally can rise above what people think of me, but when it comes to my job, I cannot stand the thought of people thinking this is my level. I realise I have underperformed in terms of grabbing an opportunity.
Does our job truly define us though?
Think of all the places you have worked. This vast umbrella includes a large number of colleagues. From all of these people you have worked with, not one of them is identical to the other. They may all work in the same sector, some of them may even share the same job title, but they are crucially different.
It is the idiosyncracies that we all carry, the flavours and passions we are all crazy about, that truly define us. It isn’t what you do for work that sums you up, It is what you believe and what you enjoy that makes you, you.
If anyone thinks they have you pegged just because of your job title, then their opinion isn’t worth worrying about anyway.