The connection between education and occupation is now so firmly ingrained as to seem almost a fact of nature. To get a good job, you get a diploma: at once time a high school diploma stuffed, and then a B.A., but now you're better off with a J.D. or an M.B.A...Yet this familiar system, far from evolving “naturally” or “unconsciously,” is the product of distinct cultural changes in American history. The process that left it in our landscape is less like the slow raising of a mountain range or the growth of oxbows on the Mississippi, and more like the construction of a dam. Three changes, which took place in the past hundred years, produced the system that is now producing M.B.A.s. They were the conversion of jobs into “professions,” the scientific measurement of intelligence, and the use of government power to “channel” people toward certain occupations. James Fallows explains in a 1985 article in The Atlantic. (See also William James 80 years prior on The Ph.D. Octopus).
"For any given profession, it turns out that there are certain names that appear more often in that profession than in the general population. Here's a chart with 6 of the names that are the most disproportionately common in 37 professions." [more inside]
"If you account for my access to academic journal subscriptions, my salary is really like half a million dollars."
This past Thursday, Forbes Magazine published a pair of articles: The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013 and The Least Stressful Jobs of 2013, the latter of which began with the sentence: "University professors have a lot less stress than most of us." 300+ outraged comments (and thousands of sarcastic #RealForbesProfessor tweets,) later they've added a retraction, and linked to a blog post that takes A Real Look at Being a Professor in the US. [more inside]
A new MP, Gloria De Piero was taken aback by how many people despised her because of her new profession. So she took to the streets to find out why. [more inside]
Professional ear cleaners are not always popular amongst backpackers in India. Few realize it's an ancient trade, passed down from father to son. It's also one that may be dying in the face of stiff competition from Q-tips and western medicine. How does one recognize an authentic professional ear cleaner? By his red skull cap, of course.
What do you do for a living? Yet another dreaded weekend approaches, bringing with it invitations to parties. Inevitably, I will attempt to strike up a conversation with someone new, and the question will be asked. As a web developer, I usually get a response about someone's personal problems with their own computer, much like doctors usually get a response about a person's xxxx not feeling right. What do you do and what are the responses you get back? Are you ever tempted to lie about what you do?