Last month, we were sharing “[Stuff] People Say.” This month, we’re sharing stuff people say about our jobs. Over the past few days, a new Facebook meme has flooded people’s walls, demonstrating the public perception of various jobs and hobbies. Whether you’re an artist, a teacher or a social media manager, chances are a variation of the meme has appeared on your wall.
It goes like this: A heading with the name of a career or hobby (graphic designer; role-playing gamer) appears, and underneath it, a series of stock photos illustrating “what my friends think I do,” “what my mom thinks I do,” “what I think I do,” “what society thinks I do,” and “what I really do.” In the case of, say, a contemporary artist, the creator of the meme believes society thinks he is smoking a joint, his mom thinks he is a child drawing with crayons, he thinks he is creating work on the level of conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” society thinks he is a weirdo, and what he actually does is fill out paperwork for grant proposals.
There’s a variation of it for designers, producers, science students, graphic designers, role-playing gamers, people who work in development, teachers, people who practice aikido, scholars, professors, recording engineers, nurse midwives, wedding photographers, writers, international relations majors, and yes, journalists.
The meme is a step removed from other Tumblrs that have recently sprung up to try to debunk perceptions about certain careers. Bloggers are trying to erase stereotpyes and misconceptions about scientists, journalists, and the myriad careers that involve the Internet.
It’s only a few days old, and the meme has already wearied some Facebook users — and if “[Stuff] People Say” is any indication, it’s not going away anytime soon. Artist John James Anderson, tired of the meme, created his own version that reflects what everyone, everywhere, is actually doing: Wasting time on Facebook.
Updated Feb. 15: More variations on the meme! Homeschooling, academic music theorist, laptop DJ, feminists, ultimate frisbee players, organizer, surrealist, gay man, computer programmer, liberal arts major, director, political operative, cat, MBAs, a Lin-themed one about Asians, and two variations making fun of the meme: one and two.