I rarely tell people what I do for a living. Mostly, I don't have to. For whatever reason when someone introduces me to another person they almost always follow with "she's a veterinarian" -as if it's normal to automatically add a person's profession onto the end of their name. That would be ok if that actually were the normal thing to do but no one ever says "this is Jane, she's a bank teller/dentist/horse trainer/teacher/etc."
And I realize that it's an uncommon profession and I appreciate that many people find it an interesting and very respectable career but that does not mean that I want it to be the only thing of importance that anyone attaches to me or that I want to be forced to live and breathe veterinary medicine 24 hours a day and in every social setting I enter. You see, allowing someone to know that you are veterinarian invariably opens the door to one of the following 3 conversations:
1. "You know I always wanted to be a vet but didn't/couldn't because (fill in the reason here) and I heard it's harder to get into vet school than med school......and I just love animals...."
2. They feel the need to tell you about every pet they either had as a child and/or every pet they own now. I'm not sure if they just want to talk about their pet, they think I want to hear about it, or they don't know what else to say to me since I must not know about anything besides animals. And they are obviously unaware that I get paid to listen to people talk about their animals all day long.
3. They somehow find it appropriate to begin asking questions about their pets current medical or behavioral condition, which they are obviously concerned about but no so much that they want to pay their vet to actually examine the animal. And usually it's a complicated condition like allergies, feline urinary issues, chronic vomiting, weight loss-you know, stuff I can obviously answer easily and without seeing the pet.
And I don't mean to sound rude, I really don't mind when someone asks the occasional question or shows an intelligent (can't tell you how may questions I've been asked that start with "what's the grossest/weirdest..." for real people, it's not a circus act-just a job) interest in what I do but I also appreciate when they try not to "abuse their privileges" and realize I have a life outside of work and believe it or not I'm just a regular person when the white coat comes off!
And it's also pretty fun to hear what people will say to you or around you when they don't know what you do for a living. I've had quite a few people give me medical advice on my own pets over the years. I just tell them thanks and assure them my vet will take care of it :)