For the past year I’ve been working with a bunch of artists – or, if not exactly “artists,” then at least artistic people – singers, actors, comedians, writers, magicians. They are by far the most interesting group of people I have ever worked with. Not always the smartest or most educated people I’ve ever been around, but definitely interesting. They’ve always got stories to tell, interesting things happening to them (maybe because they seek out drama?), and an open mind.
In my experience, the military has a lot of interesting people in the lower and middle ranks, but the higher you climb the ladder, the more stuffy, turgid people you find. I grew up on Army bases, and when my parents finally moved to a base very top-heavy with high-ranking officers I couldn’t believe the difference from the rollicking bases of my youth. Worked a summer job with a bunch of colonels once, and I couldn’t believe the number of uninteresting blowhards there were.
But still, the office drones I worked with in the merchandising division of a local grocery chain had to be the most uninteresting people I’ve ever worked with.
My prior career was Oceanography, and Oceanographers seem to have a good mix. Most of them are interested in a lot of different stuff, not just the various disciplines that go into the big mulltidisciplinary blender that is Oceanography. These are generally people who know about the arts, literature, comics, physics and their own field. In addition, since they travel to odd places to get on ships, or travel on ships to odd places, they usually have some interesting stories of their own.
We commonly think of nerds, weenies, etc., as people with sterile, limited lives. The computer guru who lives and breathes code is an obvious example.
Lately, though, I’ve seen people with strong, even diverse, interests outside their own experience defined as nerds. (History nerds are commonly singled out.) The implication is that they are essentially passive, non-participants, and as such, a bit limited as people.
Not sure if this counts as “interesting” people, but we did thread similar to this a few years ago, and apparently many of those with advanced degrees in library science are one small step away from being institutionalized as socially dysfunctional (and this opinion was *from * people in library science).
My experience was exactly the opposite, though of course it was the Canadian military; career soldiers were terribly boring people, for the most part. Their main interests were drinking, growing moustaches, and being ignorant. Officers had a veneer of class but it was just more of the same. I avoided a lifelong career in the military in large part because I didn’t want to become one of them.
Yeesh, I’m telling on myself here, but what the hell.
The most uninteresting folk in my experience are computer consultants. Yes, they can tell you everything you want to know about software/hardware, and sometimes great ways to cheat on the wives / husbands, but…um.
The most interesting has been military folk / cop folk. The really good ones. They don’t say much, and most people would indeed find them boring. But once in a great while, they open up a little, and you just go :eek:
My experience with management / technology consultants (and as one) is that it can very easily become an empty life filled with nothing but work, drinking and debauchery with your coworkers. But at least it can make the job interesting.
Of course, I find the people in my current generic corporate job to be the worst. There is noting more uninteresting to me than middle-aged people who do nothing but work and go home to dinner with their familes or whatever they heck they do.
I had the great luck to document/interview the last wave of older Blues musicians, and, they really had a lot to say, and were very interesting people. They generally tended to be creative sorts, who dealt with a, hmm, untoward lot in life, and kept on by playing music that transcended the crap. Yet, they kept an immense strength of self, and were well admired for musicianship, even in poor money situation. These guys and gals are still the most interesting people I’ve ever met, by far.
I’m currently in a library science master’s program, and the most interesting instructors are the ones that have lives and careers outside teaching LIS. By far, my most boring professor was the cataloging instructor; although a very sweet woman, she was very one-dimensional and I didn’t get any hints of her being interested in things other than LIS.
I’m guessing his specialty was the “technical” stuff: cataloging and processing materials for library use, fiddling with the catalog’s coding, etc. I’ve found that sometimes the librarians with more contact with the public tend to be the ones who are more interesting as people, if only for the fact that they’ve had to deal with the public. (I’m going into LIS because I can’t decide on an academic field beyond “everything seems at least a little interesting”, so I guess I’m a bit boring as well. ::shrugs:: )
One of the most interesting people I’ve ever met was one of my anthropology professors, as he was not only brilliant at analysis but could always conjure up a cool story or two to move the conversation along. Then again, being in your 60s, traveling the world extensively and almost dying in Ghana twice tend to make for interesting tales. For similar reasons, I’d nominate some of the engineers I’ve met over the years via family and friends; despite having what I’d call a “boring” job, they manage to get out and be passionate about other things and be well-rounded.
I don’t think it is about the career so much as it is about the person. I am an insurance agent but I don’t think about work once I leave the office and I think I am pretty interesting. The people here who live for their underwriting positions tend to be incredibly boring. I am sure that it is the same in every field.
Agree with this. And would like to add that many actors (especially younger ones), fashion designers, models, etc. are dull as a sack of hair. Which makes it even worse when they get six pages of quotes in Vanity Fair. I’d rather hear from a writer.
The most interesting and outgoing people I have met are actors. Television and stage. They all have diverse backgrounds, have moved around a lot, had ups and downs in their careers. A fun and outgoing bunch.
The most boring are probably engineers. Got out of high school, went to the closest engineering school for their degree, and got a job near home for some company you probably never heard of. Not a lot of intersting stories to tell from them.
I hate to plug my own profession, but one of the big reasons I am a journalist is that it is interesting work and with that, I feel it draws interesting people. Granted, some of the people are down-right crazy, but they are interesting.
Most of my in-laws are acountants. I don’t find them very interesting, but they seem to find each other interesting so it may well be in the eye of the beholder. But when they start talking about actuarial tables and the like, I really start to nod off.
For boring, I’ll go with financial types, with the possible exception of actuaries. I’ve only known a couple, but they were doozies. There seems to be a really mind-numbing quality to counting other people’s money all day.
For interesting, I’d go with the self-employed. They are perhaps too busy to be interesting sometimes, but are usually immersed in something they care about and can’t afford to take too narrow a view about what they do.
The recent realization that public school teachers actually have lives has put things in perspective for me.
These people who used to exist just to keep kids in line in elementary and middle school have become some of the most interesting people I know in high school.
There's the government teacher in her late 60's who has System of a Down stickers plastered all over her desk, the AP psych teacher who against all advice followed her instincts and studied abroad in Jordan in college, and the stuffy young physics teacher with no social skills who nails Metallica licks perfectly on guitar when explaining sound waves to the class.
Administrators on the other hand, not so interesting.
Customs inspectors are interesting. Immigration inspectors are boring. But of course, now that they have combined the two organizations, they are officially no different from each other. All are square holes with the same uniform. If you really want to tell the difference, your best bet is to look at the gun belt. If the “keepers”, the straps of leather that attach the gun belt to the belt that holds up the trousers have brass buttons, he/she was formerly immigration and has boring stories. If the “keepers” are solid black, he is formerly Customs and has interesting stories.
Last week I got the prize from my cow-orkers for the dumbest encounter. A traveler came back from country X and showed me a three foot tall specimen of black coral that he had carved out at the root. He didn’t just break off a branch, he killed the whole thing. This stuff grows at about one centimeter a year. he said he was importing it as a sample so his company could determine if it was of good enough quality to make jewelry. He gave me a letter from the government of country x which he stated gave him permission to harvest and export coral from country x. The letter stated: “You have contacted the wrong office. This office is unable to give you permission to harvest coral from the waters of country x. for this permission you must contact office Y.” The schmuck had never read the letter. I didn’t tell him to read the letter. I simply confiscated the coral and made a copy of the letter for the Fish and Wildlife Service. When he left, he was still pointing to the letter and telling us “but this letter gives me permission to harvest the coral.”
Pretty much exactly what I came into say. I used to be a bellman/driver for a hotel where the flight attendants stayed and got to know several of them, and they not only were usually nice, bright, had some great stories (especially about “problem” customers [and this was during a fare wars when lots of people were flying for the first time-]) and seemed to generally like their jobs. Most often heard flight attendant joke:
“What separates flight attendants from the dregs of humanity?”
“The cockpit door.”
(Heard that one fifty times at that job.)
Least interesting people (at least in my experience): college deans and administrators. Most of them have the egos and the attitudes of prima donna actors without the interesting experiences, and by the time you get up to the six-figure away-from-the-students levels you’re more [del]machine than human[/del] politician than teacher and their conversations seem to be all about them (with “them” not being that worth hearing about) and their senses of humor reserved for laughing at jokes made by potential donors. (Another oddity: they don’t read people well. I’ve known several who can’t recognize the signs of “old money v. ‘no money’”- i.e. the hints that the old lady you’re ignoring who’s wearing the 30 year old pantsuit probably has more money in that dime store purse she’s clutching than the guy in the $75k Jaguar and designer suit could put his hands on if he liquidated his 401k and all equities, and there are many giveaways, but I won’t hijack the thread.)