#ShortNews: A Mother’s Occupation

A woman named Emily renewing her driver’s licence at the Transport office was asked by the clerk to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself. “What I mean is,” explained the clerk, “do you have a job, or are you just a …? “Of course I have a job,” snapped Emily. “I’m a Mum.” “We don’t list ‘Mum’ as an occupation… ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the clerk emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our local police station. 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’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.” The clerk paused, 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!Read More »