It is amazing how much a job can become your identity. I didn't realize until I stepped away from my career how many times in my life someone has asked what I "do". It is almost as if we think we have to be "something" to have value. I have never been caught up in the idea myself and find it quite funny to let people make assumptions as they will about me.
Recently we attended a wedding reception for my husband's best friend from high school. We found ourselves chatting with another former friend (we will call him- Mr. Aerodynamics) who persistently makes a point of letting everyone know he has finished a PhD. As the men chatted Mrs. Aerodynamics asked me "What are you doing now?" to which I reply "I test hearing". This is the end of our conversation as clearly I didn't make her cut. Mr. Aerodynamics later asks my husband when had we moved moved back to the area? My husband replies that we moved back about 2 years ago after his wife finished a Doctorate and he a Master's. Suddenly Mr. and Mrs. Aerodynamics are our best friends and we are invited over for pasta and "good talk".
Give me a break! I know that they assumed we had done nothing in our 15 years of marriage and had surely paid the price for getting married "to soon". These were people who gossiped that our marriage was sure to fail because we were so young, hadn't finished school, and only knew each other 3 months before getting engaged.
Don't get me wrong I am proud of how hard we have worked but we are so far from being those people it is funny. Mrs. Aerodynamics requested our phone number before leaving to which I gladly gave her our soon to be disconnected landline number...
Knowing people like them is too much work for me.