On Conversational Courtesy

We should not be defined by our occupations. I am more than just a student. Sparky is more than just an electrician. Joe is more than just a plumber. (See what I did there?) Our occupation is often a point of stress, a matter of drudgery, something we dread returning to every Monday. What possible rationale, then, is there to direct nearly every conversation toward such a topic? This has become a particular annoyance for me as a student. Virtually every time someone engages me in conversation, it begins with or quickly shifts toward inquiries about school. I’m not talking about new people each time, either. Why? Every time you saw someone, you wouldn’t ask them about the job they dislike, the mortgage in which they are falling behind in payments, the life goals from which they’ve turned away. Doing so would only spike their distress, remind them of their troubles. So why repeatedly focus on a stress point like occupation? Talk to me about computers, technology, music, philosophy, politics, science, American history, literature, photography, home repair, carpentry, wine, cooking, and the list goes on – I have many flames of interest, try engaging me about one. I am more than just a student.