Let’s face it—some people have no idea what our jobs are all about. Sometimes, we might enjoy explaining the basics with a few polite sentences but when they ask the same questions over and over again, it can start to feel slightly annoying. Luckily, there are plenty of people on the internet ready to enlighten the masses about the realities of what they do for a living.
One Reddit user posed a question on the r/AskReddit forum, "What is something that people in your profession understand, but the general public can’t seem to grasp?" From lifeguards to teachers, hundreds of people rushed to share insider knowledge and debunk the myths surrounding their jobs.
Take a look at some of the illuminating observations commenters revealed in this thread and make sure to upvote the ones that you might not have known about. And if you can relate to any of them, don’t be shy and share your insights in the comments below!
#1Public libraries are not safe places to drop off your kids. It's not the books that are unsafe; it’s the other patrons, and the fact that librarians are not babysitters.
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#2Bathroom renovations — things take time. Drying times are a factor. If I ask your budget, it’s not because I’m trying to empty your account. I just need to know your expectations so I can meet them.
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#3Horses are less fragile than people think. They are also more fragile than people think. Also, it probably won’t kick you if you walk behind it, but insurance is expensive, so please don’t.
Image credits: Affectionate-Whole93
We managed to get in touch with one of the Redditors who had enough of people misunderstanding their profession. User Substantially-Ranged left an illuminating comment under this thread, explaining the common misconceptions they face as a teacher.
"Teaching children takes more than subject knowledge," they wrote. "Many people think that their experience as a student qualifies them to be teachers. It's called the apprenticeship of observation. There are strategies for both classroom management and teaching that you don't learn from being a student."
Substantially-Ranged was kind enough to have a little chat and share some thoughts about the topic. They started by mentioning that, sadly, teachers in the US feel unappreciated.
#4'Switching it off and on again' in I.T. usually resets the device to the state before you pissed about with it — this quite often solves the problem.
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#5Yes, the animal is in the exhibit. Sometimes you have to look for longer than eight seconds.
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#6Flossing actually helps.
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"When classes went online due to COVID-19, the public attacked teachers as being lazy and suggested that they should be paid less because they were not actually in the classroom," they told Bored Panda. "It starts to feel like your education, your commitment, and your effort aren't appreciated."
The user believes that the general public does not value and respect "the amount of education and experience it takes to be a skilled teacher." One of the reasons behind this could be that "the apprenticeship of observation makes people think that because they've seen teachers, that they can teach."
#7You actually don't want an exotic animal as a pet.
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#8In most places, we don't set the prices for anything. Your surgeon is not making $50,000 on your grandma's hip because the hospital charged that much. He or she is probably getting $1,500, and the institution gets the rest. Insurances and institutions are the problem.
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#9I am not a babysitter. It is your job as a parent to watch your kid when swimming and if they can't swim, you have to be in the water within five feet of them at all times.
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It can be quite hard to figure out why the public has so many misconceptions about other professions. Whether it’s seeing librarians as babysitters or assuming that the IT guys can do it all, there seems to be a general lack of common sense when it comes to appreciating what others do for a living. "It can be difficult to have empathy for others and realize that they have to work hard," Substantially-Ranged added.
The user continued by saying that it’s necessary to talk about such issues. "The beauty of Reddit is that it creates an environment where positive and open discourse can occur. A simple subreddit like r/AskReddit has the power to educate people and enlighten them about things just by scrolling," they concluded.
#10Pencils are expensive. Prints are expensive. Proper paper is expensive. It takes a lot of time to do a painting. So, no, I can't give it to you for free or 'exposure.'
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#11I work in healthcare. People are dumb and I’m just going to leave it at that.
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#12I am a material scientist.
America will never go to war with Russia. We buy too much Titanium and Helium from them.
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#13Complaining to my manager isn't going to get me fired. If anything he's going to be even more blunt with you about how much of a power tripping cunt you're being because he knows for a fact that you can't get him fired either. Retail workers, especially during a labor shortage and especially when they've got a few years experience, aren't so replacable that you can get one axed just by complaining to management. Most of the time your complaints won't even reach anyone with the authority to fire someone. Even if they do, they get so many complaints from unreasonable people that the management is far more likely to side with an employee that's in good standing with the store than with some random weirdo that didn't get what they wanted.
#14You can lie all you want about falling on or accidentally sitting on the stuff that gets lodged in your [butt], none of us HCWs believe you though!
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#15Veterinary- just because you can’t afford care for your pet, doesn’t mean I have to give said care for free. Nor does it it mean I’m heartless and cruel and killing your pet. It just means you can’t afford it.
I have bills to pay too. I have a right to make a living wage. I need to get paid. We get no government funding, we exist solely because people they their bills.
#16No, I can't grab your iPhone and take a picture to match my best studio works, even if it's the most recent model of an iPhone. Also, yes, I do charge money 'just to take a picture.
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#17Marriage and Family Therapist
Your partner only wants your advice if they ask for it. They want you to listen and emphasize. Tell them what they're going through must (fill in appropriate adjective here- examples: suck, feel amazing, feel overwhelming, etc)
No, you haven't found your soulmate. You're brain is giving you a super boost in brain chemicals so you screw like bunnies and have babies. Tell me in 1.5-2 years if they're still your soulmate. That's how long it takes for that chemical boost to return to their "normal for you" state. And not feeling fireworks at the first kiss doesn't mean anything. Plenty of amazing long-term relationships started from friendship (which by the way is what you'll need to have a long-term, fulfilling relationship).
Also... be kind to each other. You will each f*** things up in your relationship. All is not lost because one of you talked to an ex, forgot a birthday, etc. Relationships go through seasons and I promise if you can work though the winter you'll have an amazing summer! Every relationship sucks sometimes (screw you social media and your highlight reels).
Lastly, though there are so many more- I can't stress this one enough, there is no such thing as my problem or yours. Though the work to get through it will look different for each of you, once you decide to become partners, everything becomes ours to work through together. Yes, even that thing that happened before you met but is getting in the way of your healthy relationship. And especially that thing you never want to talk about that is getting in the way of your relationship.
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#18Just because I'm an electrical engineer doesn't mean I can rewire your house. At least not legally.
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#19The only certainty in medicine is that everyone dies eventually.
#20If you want to fit a portrait image into a landscape canvas, you either have to crop it, leave a black or white border or empty space left and right, or distort it (which is almost always a bad idea). On a regular occurrence, clients are unhappy with either of these options, they just want me to somehow make it fit.
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#21Just because I "play" in a band, doesn't mean it isn't work! For every hour you see me on stage, I spent probably 100 hours practicing and rehearsing, so you would enjoy listening to me.
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#22My god, your chocolate will last the two weeks until Christmas. Buy it now and give it next Christmas. It has a shelf life measured in years. And stop putting it in the fridge. I made it three months ago and it's been sitting at room temperature in a box since then. If you put it in the fridge for a week it'll get condensation on it and turn sticky, or the cold will ruin the tempering.
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#23Unpleasant feelings are healthy and needed for us to function properly
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#24I work on super yachts. We understand that the rich and famous can get away with ordering drugs, hookers and whatever else they want to their yachts. I've been stopped by police with drugs, but when I tell them it's for the owner of the yacht I work on they let me go. Rules and laws do not apply to the rich and famous. Oh,....... And yacht owners are rich and rarely famous. The really rich don't want to be known.
#25That everyone is entitled to due process and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty no matter how sleazy or guilty they are.
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#26Legal - 9 out of 10 times I don't want your case.
#27Mental health is fucking real health.
#28Your kids lie to you. If we said they didn’t do the homework and they said they did, it’s a 99.985% chance they are lying. If they say they weren’t doing xyz behavior in class and we say they were, it’s a 99.985% chance they were doing it. I have so many more demands on my time than to make up random crap about your kid.
#29Teaching children takes more than subject knowledge. Many people think that their experience as a student qualifies them to be teachers. It's called the apprenticeship of observation. There are strategies for both classroom management and teaching that you don't learn from being a student.
Image credits: Substantially-Ranged
#30We can't keep a copy of every book ever published on hand in our store. Some things we will have to order for you.
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#31In my time working in a cemetery, which involved record keeping and burials, it always astounded me how the general public doesn't understand spatial physics. Bluntly put the bigger you are, the more problems you present for burial or cremation.
A single grave plot/space is only so big. If you let yourself go the last 20 years of your life and you are 600 lbs then you may not get buried in the spot you want due to lack of room. The poor funeral director has to now explain to the grieving family that because you couldn't do portion control when you were alive that you now have to be buried in a different area of the cemetery, likely away from your desired spot. One lady was so big that no company made a large enough vault or coffin for her very large size. The solution was to use a concrete septic tank with a lid for the vault and place her inside of it.
Above ground vaults pose a similar problem. One man bought a above ground vault (cost over 10K) and was so large that his casket literally had an inch of clearance on each side and he almost didn't fit.
Cremation furnaces access doors are only so large. Extremely large people may not fit through the door or even inside of the furnace itself. There is no good solution. They can't just chop you to size.
#32I paint the lines on roads (white edge lines and yellow center lines) and SOMEHOW when the signs and flashing lights on the truck say "DO NOT PASS" and "WET PAINT" people still pass us and get paint slung up onto their car... then feel the need to call our office and insurance company to get a free trip to the body shop.... or they pull in front of the paint truck to stop us and cuss us out..
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The U.S. spends the most by far, but it doesn't mean that money goes towards making sure Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines have the best training, facilities, education, and equipment.
The vast majority of that money goes to private companies for programs that never produce anything or contribute in any way to the effectiveness of the fighting forces.
There is no concrete evidence that the U.S. has "The Best" military in the world.
#34Emergency Rooms are NOT first-come, first-serve businesses! We triage you for a reason, and you CANNOT cut the line in front of somebody with a more serious complaint just because you got here first!
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#35Just because I'm an IT guy doesn't mean I know how to fix everything. Just like every other profession, there are specialties. Want me to build out a server? Im in. Want me to remove a virus on your Windows 7 machine? Ummm... No thanks, not really my gig.
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#36Every aircraft has a crack somewhere.
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#37The Cloud is just someone else's computer.
#38As a teacher, No! Your "babies" are not babies. They are delinquent teens with sociopathic behaviors that you allowed to go unchecked, and now we have to deal with it when they disrupt learning environments and harm others, while you throw a fit when we call home about it, even though we have video evidence of them brutally hitting others, including staff, and behaving like out of control animals. But your little "baby" would "never do that."
#39Not every problem with audio is feedback. Feedback is when the sound goes out the speakers and back through the mic and loops around and around. Ground hum is not feedback, noise is not feedback, echo off the wall is not feedback. And speak up, people, the mic isn't magic, you need to be heard!
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#40That the eighty thousand pound truck I’m driving can’t stop in a dime
#41You cannot use the terms "concrete" and "cement" interchangeably.
#42Teaching English in Japan does not elevate you to godlike status among the locals and Japanese kids can be as ill mannered and unruly as kids in the West.
#43Teachers don't "give grades" - students earn them. The teachers just calculate them.
Sure, some teachers can be dicks, and actually give grades, but that's not how it's supposed to work.
#44Yes, your flight is in fact delayed due to weather. Yes, I also understand it’s a gorgeous day here AND at our destination airport. What you don’t understand is the airplane is coming from New York and THEY had weather.
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#45I work in long term mental health care with special need adults.
I see al kinds of shit, trust me. Most people get that. I get the 'ah you are such a hero for doing what you do, I could never do that' quite often.
What most people don't grasp is that the good moments are equally amazing as the bad things are horrible.
My residents are capable of such great things. Or they become so happy in our care it's just amazing to witness.
I could tell amazing or terrible things about my job, depending on the mood you're in to hear about.
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#46YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN IN BAD WEATHER!!!!!
#47RVs are not built like cars. They are slapped together as fast as humanly possible by people on piece rate that just want to go home. There is no regard for quality or quality control. They are literally junk stuffed with pretty furniture to distract you.
#48You can allocate more taxes to schools or whatever, but that doesn't mean the money is spent wisely or that the tax code has much say in how those funds are spent.
#49Your children are generally assholes and we don't find them nearly as charming as you find them
#50A lot of "tough" parenting stances don't work.
I work with teenagers who have committed minor offenses and are not required to do jail time, but seeing a youth worker and working on anger management/social skills/life skills is required of them. There is not one single teen that has been sent to me who has come from a background of "gentle parenting". Not one. Every singe one of them without fail as long as I have been doing this will tell stories of all the times they were hit as punishment, and it becomes their logic when faced with conflict, "He disrespected me so I bashed his face in", "He called me a wanker so a smashed his car with my baseball bat", "I didn't do anything wrong, he stole the girl I like so I kicked him and his knee just broke, it's not really my fault".
This whole "Back in my day we got hit and we grew up right!" is just silly. Back in "your day" hitting was more prevalent so it's safe to say that most, if not all, violent crimes were committed by those who were hit. Most of the more shocking serial killers and so on have very well documented back stories of abuse.
Not every child who is hit will resort to physical violence when things don't go their way, of course, but children who are taught proper coping mechanisms for anger other than hitting people or things are very less likely to resort to that themselves, because they've been given conflict resolution skills that they can carry on into young adulthood.
And yeah, here's the point that a lot do understand in regards to this- if you are saying that you were hit and you grew up okay and you are using that to defend physical violence against children who most of the time actually don't know any better (and it's even worse when it's "Oh well they're too young to understand why they shouldn't touch the stove, so I hit them so they understand"- if they can't understand why they can't touch the stove they won't understand why you hit them either), you didn't grow up okay, you grew up with violent tendencies.
General rule, don't hit people.
If you hit children, they will learn to hit.
When children grow up and hit other grown ups, that's a criminal offense and they will go to jail.
#51That office work is more than just making excel spreadsheets and chatting at the water cooler. A busy day in an office can be exhausting.
#52ELECTRONICS AND WATER DON'T MIX! you would think professionals in various fields who work with electronic equipment/machinery would know this by now.. oh well i charge by the hour
'The last idiot has not been born yet'
#53That you don't hit children. I'm a nanny
#54That when you special order an appliance, we have zero control over when it will be here. Stop expecting a discount because your fridge arrives 3 months after your kitchen remodel and it doesn’t fit so you have to pay to alter it. Poor planning on your behalf does not make it an emergency on our behalf.
#55That we can't pay your invoice immediately whenever we receive it. There is a ton of administration behind it (especially in a huge company) so it can take a couple of days/weeks to be paid
#56Cooking can be difficult.
#57Was a preschool teacher before I was a mom. PSA: your child is in GROUP CARE. You did not hire a one-on-one nanny. No, I cannot spend 45 of the 60 minutes I have to get children to sleep for nap time coddling your one child who refuses to sleep. If he refuses to nap within a reasonable time, you're shit out of luck. It's not your fault, but it isn't mine either. You need to work, so you put him in daycare; I get it. But I'M at work here, and I can't ignore 8 other kids because your little Johnny doesn't want to nap. You don't like that he doesn't nap? Arrange for someone to pick him up before nap time so he can sleep at home where he's comfortable, or deal with the fact that he's not going to sleep at school.
#58Building a building is ridiculously more expensive than you would think.
#59Tv anchors were way ahead of the zoom game (blazer, shirt, tie, boxers)
#60Anecdotes and personal experience aren’t good (they’re terrible) barometers of how a policy can work. You know what is? Peer-reviewed studies. You saw a homeless person using drugs and breaking windows outside your neighborhood? That doesn’t negate the fact that property crime in the city is down and homeless people and housed people use drugs and commit crimes at roughly the same rate.
#61The bank doesn’t have the money you received from a check as soon as you deposit it. For all we know it could bounce.
#62Engineering. There is no "right answer.". There are a long string of tradeoffs that reduce the number of solutions. But, no matter what you do, one or more of those tradeoffs are going to come back and bite you in the ass.
#63a 2x4 is 2" by 4" when it is first cut from the tree. It gets milled down from there, so it is smooth and doesn't give splinters to you every time you look at it funny. You can get true 2"x4" 2x4's but you probably won't like them.
#64Therapy doesn’t fix you. Therapists aren’t super Hero’s. It gives you the tools to manage the issue and self support yourself
#65As somebody in the travel industry... most chain hotels are not actually owned by the company whose name is over the front door.
People kind of get the franchise model for fast food restaurants, but they have no idea it applies to hotels as well.
#66Don’t watch a welder when they are welding.
#675ghz wifi and 5G cellular are different technologies.
#68Correlation is not causation.
#69Teaching is exhausting. A thousand little decisions. Every day.
#70The Tax code
#71Asking for a manager when phoning customer support wastes your own time as they will just tell you what the frontline agents tell you. There’s no difference between what a manager can offer and frontline can. Often times the “managers” are just skilled frontline.
Edit: also I’d like to say that shouting and screaming will get you nowhere agents are not paid to listen to abuse over problems that are outside of their control, we’re more likely to do everything we can to help if you remain calm. Also threatening to sue the company has the opposite effect and you end up looking like a clown as we’re told to tell you to go ahead with that and we’ll support you.
#72As an electrical engineer in the construction design industry: No, you can't just put in a larger breaker if one keeps tripping. You bought a smart switch that requires a neutral, so you can't install that in place of your current switch that just has 2 wires in the box. You can't just buy an espresso machine from Italy and expect it to work with your kitchen counter receptacles.
#73How to interact with autistic children/adults.
#74How to read the instructions on your fucking amazon return.
#75If you think your server is being rude because they’re not all “customer service-y”
You’re more than likely a prick.
We go out of our way to make nice experiences for lovely customers, even to the extent of I’ve given discounts (I’m a manager) just because of how they’ve treated us. But if you are rude and disrespectful and generally shitty towards us, we will do what we have to do, with the least effort forced smile, and nothing else
#76How fucking exhausted I am after a day of teaching elementary school
#77That every person is going to die. And it is better to accept it and plan for it. Better for you and your loved ones. I work at a hospital, and the majority of people do not fully understand/accept this reality. One of the most heartbreaking things is watching a 60-70 year old person realize they only have hours left on this earth and they wasted so much time.
Live your life to the fullest. See the world, try that new hobby, explore, and take care of the ones you love.
#78Peer-reviewed scientific articles are not tablets from god illuminating the transcendent, unquestionable truth.
-fail to take into account lurking variables
-have findings that are not reproducible
-are published by people with conflicts of interest that they fail to disclose (although yes, you are supposed to)
-are published in journals that are less-than-reputable
-Or, don't make claims as strong or conclusive as the journalists reading them and regurgitating their interpretations to the public do.
Reading scientific articles to figure things out takes work, time investment, and past experience doing it, and often requires experience in that field, too.
Scientists are not priests. It's okay to question the word of "experts," although yes, it should be done with a dose of humility because they probably do know more than you on the topic they've devoted their life to researching. But that isn't an excuse to delegate all of your critical thinking to an authority figure with some credentials by their name, and the temptation to do so is the exact opposite of scientific thinking. Science is about questioning anything and everything and trying to poke holes in it and often succeeding, and then hopefully ending up a little bit less wrong in the future as a result.
I have worked in the medical field for five years and have been doing scientific research for a decade- specifically in viral research. So when Dr. Fauci lied to the nation and the world, telling us "masks don't work," and I questioned it because it flew in the face of everything we've known about upper respiratory viruses for decades, I was told numerous times to shut up and "listen to the experts." Fuck off, I am an expert. Yes, not as much of an expert as Fauci, who has spent many more decades doing this than I have, but I'm more than qualified to ask questions and form an opinion of my own.
I feel the need to clarify that I want you to get vaccinated here, because I know how this type of person (of which there are no doubt some reading this) think, and the first thing they do is lump you into a category of "Pro-x pet covid topic" or "anti-x pet covid topic" But just because I want you to get vaccinated doesn't mean I don't want you to be able to ask questions. Those questions serve a valuable purpose and they should receive answers that are better than "because I said so." Those kinds of answers sow so much distrust and actually create anti-vaxxers. Look, I get that you're also tired of getting disingenuous questions from people who have already made up their minds to follow other authority figures, like Trump or whoever the fuck they're listening to. Sure, don't waste your time talking to a brick wall... but if somebody is genuinely trying to learn and has questions and concerns, we have a responsibility to answer them.
I'm sick of science being treated like a religion. That attitude is the opposite of everything science stands for. All of my colleagues know this, maybe because every single one of them has seen somebody smarter and more educated than them be wrong before, or just flat-out lie.
So why don't the members of the public who consider themselves "pro-science" know it too?