Sunday, April 3, 2011

on respectability and social status (aka engineers>lawyers, and hawking homelessness)

Who is more respectable? A or B?
A) 35-year-old who lives off of his parents' income in their basement, watching TV all day everyday.
B) Doctor who saves 30 lives.

and what if I said:
B) But one of the doctor's patients turns out to be crazy and kills 100 people.
Does that change your opinion?

More crudely relevant to me, what about:
A) Doctor
B) Auto mechanic
or any of the following, choose A or B:

A) Engineer
B) Lawyer 
A) Professional aid worker
B) Engineer 
A) Generalist (holds dozens of odd jobs)
B) Specialist (creates the polio vaccine) 
A) Generalist (da Vinci)
B) Specialist (???) 
(see prior post generalist vs specialist: all that jack of all trades common sense)

The more I think about it, the more I believe that what we deem respectable jobs / a respectable (not-wasted life) is not so much a concrete scale as a set of preferences (oftentimes, lots of people have similar preference sets, forming a culture). Culture, because I ponder often my surprise when I visited China this summer and found out that lawyers are not highly paid there, and probably the lawyer career is not as highly-looked-upon as in the USA. And that a career in bureaucracy has (for thousands of years?) had an air respectability in China, while in the US politicians are greeted with much more suspicion.

And why is being homeless so sketchy? Is it 100% linked to "failure in life", or even highly correlated? Is it not socially accepted because it's acceptable for me to be homeless, but not for me to raise a family homeless?

Anyway, I was (also) pondering why auto mechanics are not nearly as respected as lawyers, even though they do some pretty incredible things and know a lot. aka they are some pretty incredible people. And of course, I love looking for evidence that makes me feel less insecure, so I found what I was looking for of course :)

"A country's most talented people typically organizeproduction by others, so they can spread their ability advantage over a larger scale. When they start firms, they innovate and foster growth, but when they become rent seekers, they only redistribute wealth and reduce growth. Occupational choice depends on returns to ability and to scale in each sector, on market size, and on compensation contracts. In most countries, rent seeking rewards talent more than entrepreneurship does, leading to stagnation. Our evidence shows that countries with a higher proportion of engineering college majors grow faster; whereas countries with a higher proportion of law concentrators grow slower."
Anyway, I'm back to being happy-go-lucky. Who cares if I objectively fail at coding and can't find an "industry internship" for this summer? There's a million things that I want to work on, and cool people to meet and work with regardless.

I can still be awesome, right? |||||.___.|||||

For myself
posts I found relevant / amenable to my worldview:
The point I'm getting at,this engineering and being a mechanical genius is an exact science where either you know your shit or you don't.

Look at the vast majority of college degrees these days and the type of jobs you get when you graduate.Over half are just totally useless fluff degrees where when you graduate you don't get a job producing anything.

Social status and respectability are not the same thing, a king may respect a servant because the servant is respectable and a beggar may hold a doctor in contempt because the doctor does not respect himself enough to treat others with civility. The social status of a doctor is always higher than that of a beggar of course, but that is inherited or part and parcel of his profession, his respectability is a part of himself and depends entirely upon his own behaviour.

I lean toward careers that help others and the community. These include firemen, policemen (although I know there are crooked ones), teachers, doctors, social workers, etc. These people get paid varied amounts of money, but without them, the society and community would suffer.
Oh and I also respect trash collectors. There is no way I'd do that job.#ixzz1IUxF4bck 
To me there isn't really a "most respectable career" as I consider ones conduct in how they do their jobs to be of more importance than what the actual career is. Firefighters, policeman, teachers, doctors etc are all certainly respectable when they conduct their duties with the utmost care, but construction workers, plumbers, mechanics, hell even used car salespeople can be quite respectable as well. (Ok, maybe not used car salespeople). Overall though I look at individual conduct more than a blanket assumption about careers, since each career has respectable and despicable people working in them.  #ixzz1IUwwtP1z  
I can't really pick a most respectable career, there are good people and assholes in all of them.
I would say that anyone who works conscientiously and with compassion to help others for little compensation, even 'soldiers,' would have the most respectable careers.

No comments:

Post a Comment