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FW: Job Title

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From: Lawrence A. Parker (occti_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Aug 16 2002 - 06:08:19 PDT


Thought some of you might enjoy this. As I told my wife, who works full
time, I now have a job title I can live with (Business Owner and
Research Associate...).
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I'm Just a Parent? - - Excuse Me!

A few months ago, when I was picking up the children at school, another
mother I knew well rushed up to me. Emily was fuming with indignation.
"Do you know what you and I are?" she demanded. Before I could answer
and I didn't really have one handy...she blurted out the reason for her
question. It seemed she had just returned from renewing her driver's
license at the County Clerk's office. Asked by the women recorder to
state her occupation, Emily had hesitated, uncertain how to classify
herself. "What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job,
or are you just a...?" "Of course I have a job," snapped Emily. "I'm a
mother." We don't list 'mother' as an occupation...'housewife' covers
it," said the recorder emphatically. I forgot all about her story until
one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town
Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and
possessed of a high-sounding title like "Official Interrogator" or "Town
Registrar." "What is your occupation?" she probed. What made me say it,
I do not know. The words simply popped out. "I am a Research Associate
in the field of Child Development and Human Relations." The clerk
paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had
not heard right. I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most
significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was
written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire. "Might I ask,"
said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research (what parent doesn't) in the
laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and
out). I am working for my Masters (the whole darned family) and already
have four credits (all daughters!). Of course, the job is one of the
most demanding in the humanities (any parent or non-parent care to
disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it). But the
job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the
rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money." There was an
increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the
form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door. As I drove into
our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my
lab assistants - age 13, 7 and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new
experimental model (6 months) in the child-development program, testing
out a new vocal pattern. I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on
bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more
distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another parent.'
Parenthood...what a glorious career. Especially when there's a title on
the door. Whether a stay at home Parent or a career Parent, we should
all carry this title. Does this make grandparents, "Senior Research
Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations" and
great, grandparents, "Executive Senior Research Associates"?

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