In 2006, NBC had a show called Identity where a contestant is shown 12 people and then presented with a list of 12 “identities” (professions, usually) and has to match them up. The gimmick is that people don’t look the way you’d expect them to – the cheery granny is the rapper, etc.
I caught a couple episodes, and in one, there was a very beautiful young woman. On the list of identities: Accountant. I immediately knew that she was the accountant because – zing! – your accountant is not supposed to be a beautiful young woman!
I was right.
Anyway, as y’all know, I’m an accountant. It amuses me to see what people think accountants are like. Below is my list of the most-common questions I get and my response.
1. That I’m super-organized.
Guilty. Cleaning up and putting things back in order brings me great calm. I got a label-maker for Christmas and it’s a joyous occasion whenever I get to use it. While I like to think I’m not completely nuts, my sock drawer is divided into three sub-sets (white athletic socks! black business socks! fun socks!). That’s probably beyond the average person’s level of concern for footwear.
2. That I’m a math whiz.
I always counter that accounting is more reading-comprehension (reading the code, applying it to real life) than math, but I suppose math skills are required.
3. That I read the Wall Street Journal to relax.
Not so much. While I stay on top of current trends and predictions (what is the reaction to the revised Schedule D? ooh!), my free time is devoted to fiction books. Also, Dance Moms.
4. That I have good stock tips.
Never. While accounting and investing both involve money, they are vastly different. When I need to invest, I have a guy I turn to.
5. That I should handle the bill when a large group goes out to dinner.
OK, sure. Pass me your money.
What are some things people assume about you because of your profession? Are you a doctor who gets asked random health questions? A teacher who gets asked to wrangle a crowd of kids?