Saturday, November 9, 2013

ABCs of jobs: from actuary to bus captain to criminal lawyer to dean of academic affairs!

There was this news story about a LinkedIn survey which found that nearly half the number of Singaporean parents interviewed (46%) were clueless about the nature of their children's work:

Top of the blur-like-sotong-to-mom-and-pop occupations were actuary, user interface designer and data scientist. Aiyah, so simple also don't know. An actuary is a place where actors are buried. Okay, seriously, truth be told, an actuary expects everyone to be dead on time.

User interface designer? A bad plastic surgeon... you keep having to go to him to fix that botched job on your face. I can't figure out data scientists, though. Remember, I have dyscalculia.

Still, I do sympathise with today's parents who have to grapple with all those strange sounding job titles. Barista? Bean there, done that? Angel investor? Steve Job just won't rest in peace? Dean of Academic Affairs? And they call the universities unexciting ivory towers? Criminal lawyers? Let me check the rules of grammar... an adjective describes a noun, right? MISmanager? Hey, this guy should be fired from his job!      

My own job (before I retired) was a source of bemusement to my nephew's wife? Copy editor, ah? Just copy everything down, right? Then my nephew chipped in: "Even easier nowadays. Now can simply 'cut and paste' on the computer." When I joined the executive ranks (oh so many years ago), my title was rather fanciful: Assistant to Editor. Relatives were overjoyed, believing I was only a heartbeat away from THE editor. I did not have the heart to tell them mine was the lowest in the totem pole of executive ranks. Still, I was happy to give out my name card to one and all -- never failing to impress the recipients. In contrast, I started out as a sub-editor... and everyone thought how lowly my job was. You know, "sub" as in subordinate, not "officer" rank.      

But parents should be happy if their son were to become a bus captain:

I can imagine one such happy parent: "Wah, you only lan korperler (lance corporal) during National Service but now you bus CAPTAIN. Orfeesir liow!"

Some job "titles" seem so self-evident. A bouncer bounces. But one judge had to advise a trio of bouncers not to take their job (profession? hello?) too literally:

Finally, when my late brother Tee Chuan retired, he had his name card printed with these words: "Retiree At Large". Cool. But I rather fancy something more stylo-milo, with the word "Research" in it. Maybe I could be a professional...

If I excel in this job, I might get to be called "Emeritus Research Participant".

No comments:

Post a Comment