Previously I wrote about being a part of something bigger. When I wrote that, I mentioned how small things contribute to bigger things and I wasn’t focusing on professions per se, but now I want to focus on “professions.” There are some reasons why I want to post this one. It’s been bugging my mind. Maybe, to some extent, it’ll sound like an excuse to make me feel better about what I do, but I’d like to believe that’s not the only reason I’m thinking this way.
I’ve noticed that some people of certain professions feel superior to others with different occupations. They become so arrogant they look down and disrespect others. And I’m like, “What the ef!”
Other times, people are like, “It’s a noble profession, you shouldn’t concern too much about money.” They say it to people of certain professions such as teachers and nurses who get underpaid. I mean, we all deserve to live a decent life. I don’t mind you getting more money than me, but I want to be at least able to afford the basic necessities. Nobility and prestige cannot pay my bills. A decent salary can.
And you know what? My Mom sells banana leaves to some small “restaurants,” and when my Mom is busy I offer to help deliver the leaves, but my Mom will be like, “Are you sure okay?” My Mom doesn’t want people to look down on me; she doesn’t want to make me feel ashamed of having to carry and deliver the leaves, all because I’ve studied in the States and got a Ph.D. and I’m like, “Why would I not be okay? Why would I feel embarrassed about it? I don’t steal. My Mom doesn’t take the leaves from others’ banana trees either. It’s “halal” money. And we help small businesses. Why should I feel ashamed of it?“
But I get where she’s coming from. After all, we’ve been living in this society where we’re brainwashed to be ashamed of something we don’t have to feel embarrassed about. “Oh, you’re the son of a janitor? Oh you’re the daughter of a peasant? Oh, your father is a driver? Oh, your mother is a housemaid? Etc.” All with such condescending tones. No respect at all. And I find it disgusting.
There’s nothing embarrassing about being a janitor, a peasant, a driver, a housemaid, etc. If anything, we should be the one who feels ashamed for not being able to help them get a decent payment for the IMPORTANT work that they do. Janitors, peasants, drivers, housemaids, and so forth are noble professions too! They’re not less superior than other professions.
So let me say this: No professions are superior to others, the difference is only that people with certain professions fare better.
The other day I read this story on Twitter, about someone being a kindergarten teacher abroad. His relatives mocked him because “why pursued a higher education if you ended up being a kindergarten teacher?” That’s because kindergarten teachers here in my country oftentimes are underpaid and poor. But guess what? When his relatives found out how much he got paid for being a kindergarten teacher, they shut up. Why? It’s because, apparently, he got much much much better and higher salary as a kindergarten teacher there than his relatives who think they have “better” professions here. See? It’s about money. Apparently, kindergarten teachers there get more appreciation, just as they should.
Once I also read this resentment about students who got scholarships to study abroad and wouldn’t return to the country upon finishing their studies. Some people would be like, “They’re even willing to do hard labor jobs despite having a master’s or doctoral degree!” Well, I understand their resentment; I know there’s an agreement to return to the country after the study. But I think we should also introspect. If people with a master’s or doctoral degree chose to do hard labor jobs in another country instead of returning to the country, isn’t it because they can have a more decent and better life doing hard labor work there than returning to the country doing a “prestigious” job but getting so little?
Some people think we deserve respect only when we have money. And because certain professions come with so little money, they look down on us with those professions. They make fun of and laugh at our “poverty.” Some people are even willing to bribe to get a certain profession because with that profession they can get a lot of money, even if it’s illegal or criminal, like crooked politicians or corrupt governments. It’s sickening, isn’t it? Shouldn’t they be the ones that are ashamed of their profession or what they do with that profession?
If you’re a janitor, waitress, housemaid, etc. and you earnestly work hard and are honest, then you should be proud of your profession, you don’t need to be embarrassed about it. On the other hand, even if you have a “good” profession, if you’re irresponsible, corrupt, and don’t do your job well, then you shouldn’t be too proud. You should be ashamed!
Why? Because basically, life is a unity. We all want to be happy. We all want to have a decent life. But we all have limits, especially of time. We cannot do everything by ourselves. We complete one another. And to make sure life runs well by its course, we all need to do what’s become our responsibility well. We need to realize that how we do things affects others, just like how they do theirs affects us. If someone fails to do their part right, it might trouble others. If we fail to do our parts right, it might trouble others, and if others fail to do their parts right, it might trouble us.
Currently, I do sorta various things. I get to teach graduate students with my degree. I get opportunities to help advise and guide those who wish to study abroad. And I also help with some administrative work. Maybe career-wise it’s not something to be proud of, like, what position will they lead me to in the future? I don’t know. But where is the future? At this point, I’m already living the future I’ve dreamed of. I got to earn decent money. Not much, but it’s more than enough given that I’m single. And I’ve got time for my family, to do things I love like gardening, fangirling, etc. At this point, I’m like, “What’s the use of working my ass off trying to get as much money as possible if I can’t get enough time to enjoy it? I mean, I might die tomorrow, and I won’t take my money with me to my grave no matter how much I save.” (But this is only because I don’t have responsibilities to support children, family, etc., okay? Please don’t take my words as they are when applying them to yourself ’cause we might not be in the same shoes).
But okay, that’s not the point of this post, so let’s go back to the administrative work I do. Doing it, I got to learn new things and I can see how important it is to do the job right. It’ll be really messy when things are not organized well, i.e. when the administrative work is not done properly. But again, many people look down on this kind of profession. They think anyone can do it and be an “administrator.” But guess what? They think that way because administrators in my place tend to be underpaid; they are often overworked but with low salaries. And sometimes they are treated with disrespect.
And honestly, sometimes I can’t help feeling like a loser too, but when I think about people who take pride in doing the jobs that I do, I think it’s quite disrespectful to think of myself as a loser for doing those jobs. I mean, just because some people expect more from me (for having a Ph.D.), it doesn’t mean I can’t be proud of what I do, does it?
And like I’ve always said, our professions and responsibilities are intertwined with one another. Often times we cannot perform well when others don’t perform well, and others might not be able to perform well when we don’t perform well ourselves. Let’s take some examples, maybe a teacher? A doctor? A pilot? Etc.
Teachers are often said to be a noble profession. But can we teachers really do it on our own? No. We need people to invent technology to help us do our work. We need people to write or print some books or materials to support our work. We even need the janitors to clean the classrooms so we can teach and learn comfortably. Etc. If at one point someone fails to do their job right, it will shift the responsibility onto others adding the “unnecessary burden.” I mean, will you teachers have time to invent the technology yourself, write, print, and distribute the books yourself, clean the classrooms, etc.?
Doctors? Sure it requires a certain kind of skills and not everyone can master them. But they also need the support of nurses, no? They need people to produce medicine. They need people to create medical tools. They need professional janitors to make sure everything is clean and sterilized. Etc.
Pilots? Sure not everyone can fly an airplane. But they also need the mechanics or flight engineers to make sure the engines or any machines are in prime condition to fly, no? They need air traffic controllers to help them with navigation and ensure that they can take off, fly, and land safely. Imagine if one of them fails to do their job right, the mechanics fail to inspect the aircraft system, the air traffic controllers give false directions, etc., no matter how skilled you are as a pilot, it would cause you an unnecessary problem compared to when they do their jobs right.
Some people think that just because something can be done by many, then anybody who does it is always replaceable, and thus deserves some disrespect because many others will queue to take the job. And some people look down on others because they believe they can do it better. But you know what? Even if you do have the skills to do it yourself, if you’ve got no time to do it because you feel like you have better or more important things to do and thus you still need someone to do it, then no, your profession is by no means superior.
You’re a career woman, a great CEO, and have a nanny take care of your kids and a housemaid to help you with housework? No, you’re not any superior to them. You might earn more money and think you can replace them any time; many are willing to do their job anyway, yeah, right, but will you be able to be a great CEO without their help? Will you be able to perform as well without the presence of a nanny or a housemaid? No. So, just because you pay them, it doesn’t mean you can treat them with disrespect.
Being proud of your job and what you do is one thing, but feeling superior and looking down on others of different professions is a totally different thing. I really hope we can feel proud of our job and what we do without feeling superior or disrespecting others. I hope we don’t need to feel inferior about our job or what we do just because we get paid so little. And on top of it all, I do hope we all can get paid properly and have a decent life doing what we can and/or what we love earnestly.
See you in the next post! What should I write about next? Hmm