When I tell people that I’m a mindfulness coach, they’re always interested in a “how nice for you, dear” kind of way.
When I tell them I have an architecture degree, their eyes deglaze somewhat and suddenly they’re taking what I say a lot more seriously. At least, in my mind they do. I find myself bringing it up often because I feel the need to prove my intelligence using a university qualification. I sometimes even throw in that I got academic scholarships (I’m doing it again now!), for an extra measure of ‘take that, I’m smart!’, even though I’m acutely aware that I really shouldn’t give a flying feck if people judge me wrongly – I know what I’m up to and that’s all that should matter.
It’s a big work in progress!
Recently I had a great chat with my hairdresser about job titles, status and intelligence.
As a hairdresser, she finds that many of her clients are surprised when she strikes up in-depth conversation about life because they have already assumed a certain level of intelligence from her choice of career. When she tells them she studied tax accounting and later chose to become a hairdresser because she enjoys it, they tend to be a bit perplexed.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I realised that the thing that nearly tied me to a life of office work was the notion that because I was an academically inclined student that I had to do a career that intelligent, academic humans do. (For me this meant law, medicine, architecture or engineering).As though intelligence should somehow equal seriousness and boredom? Click To Tweet
Fun is only for simple people, didn’t you know?
Since then I’ve met many people who I initially judged a certain way because they were making me coffee or working in a surf lodge, who then turned out to be the most articulate, intelligent people I’ve ever met; often with multiple degrees.
These days I question the notion that intelligent people stay in status-oriented jobs even when they don’t actually enjoy them. I would go so far as to say that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to question whether following like a sheep is really the best option for your life.
That’s not to say that only intelligent people diverge from corporate jobs –
many extremely intelligent friends of mine have looked at their corporate careers and found that they are truly passionate about what they’re doing, and so they crack on. On the other hand, many intelligent people are stuck in jobs they don’t like because of fear of judgement; lack of knowing what else they’d like to do, or because of debt, family or mortgages that make them reliant on a certain level income.
The point is to suggest that we stop judging books by their covers
– stop assuming a certain level of intelligence based on career, because you might just find that the exact opposite is true.
And, if you consider yourself to be an intelligent human, which of course you are, make sure you’ve had a wee glance at the motives behind your chosen career, and take the time to make sure they sit well with you before you continue into the rest of your bloody good life.