Sunday, 12 May 2013

What's your title?

What is your title?

A woman was renewing her Driver’s License at the Bureau and was asked by the woman to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

‘What I mean, explained the clerk”, do you have a “job” or are you just a …?” “Of course I have a job,” snapped the woman. ”I’m a Mom.”

The Bureau staff replied with a smirk, “We don’t list ‘Mom’ as an occupation, ‘housewife’ covers it.

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 a high-sounding title like, ‘Official Interrogator’ or ‘Town Registrar’.

“What is your occupation?” she probed.

Now what made me say what I did, I do not know; the words simply popped out… “I’m a Research Associate in 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 ‘occupation’ was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what do you do in your field?”

Very calmly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply…I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn’t), in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out). I’m working on my Masters (first the Lord, and then the family), and already have two credits (all daughters).

Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother 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 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 assistant…age 4. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model (a 6 month old baby), in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy, and I had gone on the official records as someone more…Distinguished and indispensable to man-kind, than “just another Mom.”

Motherhood… what a glorious career; especially when there’s a title on the door!

Best mothers day wishes to everyone!

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