It’s something you may have experienced. Perhaps at a party, or a chance encounter or even by friends or family who don’t really know what you do.
A doctor asked about an ache or pain, even though it’s not his specialty. A criminal lawyer asked about writing a will. A mechanical engineer pelted with electrical engineering questions. The appliance salesperson asked about home and garden.
We tend to generalize in all things and most of us don’t truly understand the specialization that occurs within seemingly straightforward professions.
For example, when I was still in accounting, I would receive a variety of these incorrect assumptions and questions:
– You must be busy around April
– Are you a CPA?
– If I sell my house and don’t buy a new one, do I pay extra taxes?
No, that’s not what I do. Not only am I not a tax accountant, but the total sum of my knowledge of taxes is called Turbo Tax.
I was a corporate accountant, which meant I worked with income statements and balance sheets. Taxes showed up as one line and I got that from the tax department (filled with people who could answer corporate tax questions).
Later, when I was “advanced” into financial analysis, I would receive a variety of these incorrect assumptions and questions:
– You must know all about stocks and bonds
– Do you have any hot tips?
– If I sell shares in my 401 (k) do I need to move it into another or can I just invest it in whatever I want?
No, that’s not what I do. Not only am I not that type of financial analyst, my investment advice wouldn’t make any sense for anyone not in my particular position in life.
I was a corporate financial analyst, which meant I worked with those aforementioned financial statements and designed budgets, forecasts and strategic operational and financial plans.
Finally, when I began writing my books, I would receive a variety of these incorrect assumptions and questions:
– So, I can find your books at Barnes & Noble or the library
– You should write a book about…(fill in bad idea)
– Why don’t you write articles for magazines?
No, that’s not what I do. Not only am I not a prolific writer, I only write what interests me and of that, it’s primarily fiction (outside my blog posts).
It’s only natural, of course, to ask questions or assume from our frame of reference. Considering how often the same themes repeat themselves, I’m not surprised there are so many stereotypes floating around.
Really, it mostly amuses me. Why should anyone know how many different types of accountants there are? Why would anyone want to know?
So, I merely chuckle and grin and say, “That’s not what I do.”