Occupational Heritage

01 May 2007

day-job family

ricky_gervais2.jpgToday is May Day, also known as International Workers' Day. It seems like a good time to reflect upon work.

Particularly since I don't get the day off.

My wife comes from a long line of railroad workers. Her father worked at the railroad until his recent retirement. His father also worked at the railroad until he retired. In this family, "the railroad" of course means specifically Norfolk-Southern. Growing up, my wife's dad wanted his daughters to work for the railroad in some capacity. Alas, neither did. But they are still a "railroad family".

My father didn't go into work from 9-5 at an office. He was gone before I woke, home mid-afternoon, normally worked holidays, and could be found at any one of three different hospitals when he was on the job. In general, I didn't grow up with a father who "went to the office". His father was in the military, and then worked as a county extension agent. In both cases, he would probably be found in a field, and have his work-hours dictated by sunlight. Coming from a small family, I simply wasn't exposed to people who went into the office.

I'm proud to be continuing a long line of people who "don't go into work" since I work from my basement office and deal with people across 7 hours of timezones. I tried an office job. Once. Didn't like it. Won't do that again.

Even if you have a radically different career than your ancestors, is there some strain of commonality in your occupational heritage?