what do people do all day?*

Like it or lump it, what you profess to do says a lot about you; it's widely accepted, for example, that accountancy is synonymous with dull.

When I was studying physics, admitting to it was social suicide. It didn't take me long to realise that in normal (i.e. non-physics) company, saying that I was a physicist** was guaranteed to stop the conversation.

Perhaps surprisingly, being an applied mathematician in Bath didn't have quite the same effect, though I suspect that this was because everyone else in Bath also studies maths and I was therefore lulled in to a false sense of security. The response I generally got was "oh, another one then" followed by a roll of the eyes. At least the conversation continued normally***.

But now, it's all come good. When someone asks me what I do, I sometimes even enjoy responding with "Aircraft Simulation", As lines go it's not a bad one**** and if that doesn't clinch me the crown of most eligible bachelor in the village, I don't know what will.

*My favourite book as a child, by Richard Scarry, had this title.

**which I was, apparently.

***Unless I was talking to someone who was socially inept.

****Surely it's up there with "is your dad a baker? Because you have nice baps" and "sit on my lap and we'll see what comes up".


Anonymous said…
I've got to agree, never mention you do maths because people have to many preconceptions and bad experiences. Now I'm doing meteorology it's lot easier to continue from, 'So what do you do?' Even though there's not much difference in the material im dealing with. I think most people thing I'm a weatherman!


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