I hate talking about work. I also listening about work. I don’t exactly enjoy my job, so I try not to waste my free time thinking about work, talking about work or, heaven forbid, doing something for work. However, my friends talk about their jobs all the time and it’s painful to listen to.
I told them as much, but the topic keeps popping up. I’m just not that invested in the specifics and minutia of their workday. I either lack the knowledge to understand their work process or, more often than not, just don’t care. That is, unless something bad happened and they want to vent, I’m okay with that. But I still get looks, as if I should be interested about their job. Which, I’m sorry, I’m just not.
Am I being unreasonable in trying to steer the conversation into a topic that isn’t work-related?
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I hate it too. Most of my friends are from work though, so that’s the least common denominator for all conversations. We spend the most time together there, and it’s a lot of shared experiences. I try to balance it out by taking extra effort to be engaged with their outside work stuff. Going to their events, active listening, supporting, etc.
Not at all. But when trying to look at it from their perspectives, their behaviour makes a bit of sense because for people who work full-time, 9 to 5, for 5 days a week, that makes up a lot of their time. But when people are passionate about their hobbies, like open source software or bird spotting, I would expect them to want to talk about that in their spare time.
I sleep more than that. It’s still not reasonable if I want to discuss my sleep over and over. And sleep is more important to me than work has ever been.
haha, ROTFL :)
I would, too. Especially since the people mentioned do, in fact, have hobbies that have nothing to do with their job, which are also far more interesting. But thanks for putting my mind at ease. This topic has come up so often that it now takes real effort not to be mentally checked out of the conversation. I now refuse to engage in this topic, not because I want to be a jerk, but to preserve my sanity.
No. I think people might just not have anything better going on in their lifes, do not know about any other topic, [include external factors], so that is most what they have to talk about. I dislike it as well. If they work for capitalists as most people do, talking about work for socializing with friends is worse yet (alienation and all that). Also, I think it is pitiful when people/workers identify with whatever the capitalist company/organization they work for (capitalist company which explores the workers).
Exactly. Whenever work comes up as topic (which is painfully often), I start wondering if work is just their personality now. Because these people actually do have hobbies and interests, and I will gladly talk to them about those, but for some reason, they talk about work more often then they do about their hobbies. And I don’t understand why that is more interesting to them.
Their hobbies likely aren’t causing them to have negative feelings, whereas their work more likely is. Humans are somewhat biased towards needing to vent and talk about issues which cause them negative feelings that they have to do.
People also talk about work for a variety of social reasons. Most importantly, perhaps, is that people often measure social standing by their work. Where they work, what jobs they have, how much money they make, and other characteristics of work are important for many human social evaluations. Because this is important, it becomes socialized as something that you should discuss, and thus becomes a common topic of conversation. People then internalize it as something they should talk about, or is interesting to talk about. It’s a self sustaining model built upon the foundations of social worth and evaluation, supported by the emotional needs of humans.
Interestingly you’ll see that in certain circles where social worth is not derived from your work (minorities in which upwards mobility or potential jobs are limited often talk less about work) but from other aspects of your life (talking about children is a favorite for those who have them and artists love to talk about their creative pursuits) that you’ll find conversation drifting towards different topics instead.
I think the best thing you can do, if you find this boring, is to attempt to redirect conversation away from work and towards something you’d rather talk about. People will naturally drift back towards conversation that they find useful, interesting, or have been socialized to do and ultimately you may need to tolerate this or find a group of friends less interested in talking about their career. I’ve generally found that quips which highlight it’s silly to be talking about work away from work (such as when participating in work offsite trips) or highlight how work is just a means to make money and I’m disinterested in talking about capitalism and would rather know the person and what they find interesting tend to work well to divert conversation away from chatting about work.
Having some light-hearted quips ready to steer the conversation away from work sounds like a good idea. I’ll try that next time, thank you!