No matter what your job, there are some frequent questions or comments from the general public that get, shall we say, a tad tiresome.
I thought it would be interesting to make up a brief questionnaire and select a few nominees. If you would also like to join in, please do! Just post your answers below, or put a link on your blog to this post.
Q.: What term or phrase from your job/occupation do people mangle?
A.: Entomology often gets changed to “Ant-o-mology”, as though we only study ants. Not even Edward O. Wilson is an “antomologist”; he is (among other things) a myrmecologist.
Q.: What broadly erroneous assumption do people make about your preferences and your career choice?
A.: That I love all insects. Really, I don’t. (Although I will be quick to point out that only 1 % of the insects are pests.) I do find grasshoppers to be kind of gross, especially after scrubbing their encrusted remains off my automobile windshield, and spending hours driving a riding mower and having them bounce off my face. Blech.
Q.: What trivia challenge do people pose when they hear about what you do for a living?
A.: “Wow, I bet you know all the bugs!” No. There are over one million species, mostly beetles, and I’m more familiar with butterflies.
Q.: What basic fact about your job/occupation do people rarely understand?
A.: That insects are animals. “Yes, they are. They’re not plants, not fungi, not single-cell organisms. They have organ systems and behaviors, and are not photosynthetic.”
Q.: Did you always want to be a/n ___?
A.: “Huh? Sorry, distracted watching this bug. Look here at what it’s doing–“
Q.: You musta been a weird kid, huh?
A.: Yeah, but now I get paid to teach the other weird kids.
Q.: How did some totally unrelated previous job prepare you for your current occupation?
A.: I went from doing behavioral observations of insects to behavioral observations of students with severe emotional and behavioral problems. There are more similarities than you’d imagine.
Q.: So what do you do for a living?
A.: Do you mean my daytime, evening, or weekend job?
I would love to hear the answers from Dave Hingsburger, Bug Girl, Dean Dad, Wheelchair Dancer, and YOU.