On Sunday, we played in the church bell choir accompanied by the High School band director on timpani and a very accomplished group of High School brass players.

Being musicians, the bell choir players had some rather acerbic comments about the brass players. One of the trumpet players was always late for our rehearsals, and a bell player who is also a music teacher commented that trumpet players were notoriously full of themselves and didn’t think they had to follow the rules everyone else had to follow. I commented that my father advised me in all seriousness when I was in High School to never marry an oboe player, since they had to blow so hard on their double reed that they eventually went mad.

As a psychologist, I always love discussing personality types. I have known humble trumpet players and perfectly sane oboe players, but I wonder where these stereotypes come from. I was a bass clarinet player, and I don’t know of any stereotypes of those who play that instrument. Perhaps an unusual affection for the Grand Canyon Suite?

What are some occupational stereotypes you feel are accurate? Inaccurate? Who are some people you know who defy stereotypes?

38 thoughts on “Personality”

  1. Though, when considered as a musician, I can claim to be able to play only the radio, nonetheless, I’m one of 6 members of the church’s bell choir. We had been rehearsing a piece named Kyrie for some months, and it was inserted into the Maundy Thursday service. When the time came, though, we couldn’t play it. The congregation had to endure about 2 minutes of cacophany. I guess it was fitting, since we were in the middle of a sombre Tenebrae service. It was just embarassing for those of us doing the ringing.

    I’ve no insight on instrument-to-personality types, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d be willing to bet that your bell choir performance wasn’t all that bad, Aboksu. Besides, if you’re going to expect a charitable assessment of any effort, a church should be a safe place to look for it.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Engineers, of course. My uncle was, and my brother is an engineer. I think my brother actually tries to live up to the stereotypes. He has become a robot and I think he’s rather proud of it. My niece and nephew are brand new engineers too. Both of them were the sweetest children you ever met. Quiet, creative, highly intelligent, and introspective, they could have gone on to do anything they wanted to. I hope the very best for them every day.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This is a tough one as, even by dictionary definition, no stereotype is accurate. So I’ll go with the “inaccurate.”
    Undocumented aliens are lazy.
    Politicians are crooked.
    Football players are stupid.
    Police are brutes.
    Computer people are nerds.
    Flooring installers are drunks (mostly accurate).

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I try to be aware of my preconceived notions of what certain groups of people are like, and I make an effort to think of others as unique individuals. I’ll have to admit, though, that stereotypes are often accurate and sometimes helpful. Of course, I’m well aware that I’m a lot more likely to get along with, and enjoy the company of, someone who shares my values, interests, and world view.

    For instance, I worked eleven years in two different accounting firms, and there’s no doubt in my mind that to be a successful certified public accountant you have to have certain characteristics. You had better be detail oriented, understand numbers, and have a healthy respect for following rules. My natural tendency to want to mix things up a bit made me a square peg in a round hole. To my surprise, I was a lot happier working around a bunch of lawyers.

    I find that political views are a lot more indicative of whether or not I’ll have a lot of common ground with someone than their religious beliefs, skin color, profession, or sexual orientation.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I always heard that trumpet players were ego-maniacs that only wanted attention—you know, the music nerd version of a football quarterback. That was true of some of them. Flute players were flighty, clarinet and trombone players were reliable, tuba players were neglected. And saxophonists? Wildly unpredictable!

    Over the years, especially when I ran my business, I found accountants to be very difficult to work with. They had few interpersonal skills and were quite rigid about things that just did not matter.

    I have also heard a stereotype about therapists, that they just do the job so they can feel better about themselves by working with others who they look down on. That one leaves me bewildered and without a response.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our accountant is the friendliest, chirpiest person you’d ever want to meet. She clearly enjoys what she does. When I was freelancing and had an S-corp, our taxes were more complex and she guided us through all that. Her whole office seems very laid back. She brings her golden retriever to work and he roams freely, greeting She chats with us about our respective families, and about her antique collecting adventures while her hands tabulate the numbers, seemingly on their own. Our sessions with her are a delight.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. That somehow triggered a memory of a job counselor I talked with many years ago in the State Unemployment Office. During the interview she asked what kind of job I was looking for. When I told her I’d prefer a job where I would working with people she responded: “Really? I can’t stand working with people.” That gave me pause. Clearly she was not in her dream job.

      Liked by 5 people

  6. OT. Any Twin Cities baboons have a pick up truck or access to a pick up truck they could borrow for a half a day?


  7. all make flautists and female trumpet players are gay
    bass players are odd

    bean counters are good to have for taxes but not friends

    if you can do it do it , if you can’t teach

    anyone who would run for president is no one you’d want to have as president

    Liked by 3 people

  8. One of my semi-adopted sons, and one who has stood by me through the last two years is a CPA, and everything a CPA is not supposed to be. Creative, funny, outgoing, involved in ameteur theater, writes funny poems. Keeps track of his old clients who retired a few years ago.
    Teachers often come in types, especially those who coach, shop teachers, music teachers, English teachers (cannot stand us in bunches), math teachers, science teachers not so much, elementery not so much, art teachers very much so, counsellors for the most part. I used to be able to spot teachers in public, but not any more. I am very much a personality type. I may explain later if Sandy is settled. Going over soon.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. In one of the Mulliner stories, Wodehouse had a character pretend to be an attorney. The character was portrayed as dressing conservatively, wringing his hands, saying “tut tut” quite a bit, and quoting from fabricated legal decicisions.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The physics class comes into the theater once / year and does a couple demonstration shows as a fundraiser. I tease them about being nerds. But they’re physics nerds just like we’re theater nerds.
    They hate being the one to speak to the crowd. They’ll all huddle over an experiment gone wrong and whisper about it while the audience sits wondering what will happen next. It’s kinda funny.

    The post office; there’s another stereotype of either lazy or nuts.
    I know some real nice employee’s at the post office.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I live midway between two small neighborhood post offices, one is in St. Paul proper, the other is in West St. Paul. I usually go to the one in St. Paul proper, partially because it is less busy if you go at the right time, and partially because the cultures in the two operations are very different, or perhaps I should say, used to be.

      The one near downtown had a bunch of oddballs working there, and the manager of the place gave them much more latitude than you typically see in such a place. For instance, they had a pretty grubby rubber chicken lying on the counter for customers to take their frustrations out on. I never saw anyone do it, but from the appearance of the chicken, it looked like it got a good workout now and again. They’d also decorate for occasions such as Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or whatever else struck their fancy. The guys who worked there were usually pretty cheerful and joking with each other and customers alike; they were pretty efficient as well. Waiting in line there was never dull.

      The office in the strip mall in West St. Paul never had any of those flourishes. They specialized in slow, impersonal service, and waiting in a long, boring line, was par for the course.
      Eventually, someone apparently cracked down on the St. Paul facility. All of the oddballs have moved on, and been replaced with a bunch of civil servants who appear to hate their jobs. I’m grateful to not have a lot of need to go to either of them.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I have never seen a “postal” postal employee and I have met many. But my two post office friends say there are an few around. I am quite in awe of the ones who work downtown who deal with many customers from many countries handling money for them and shipping issues across language and cultural issues. Also dealing with halfway house residents who must scare them a few times. Takes so much knowledge and patience. Carrier on my route has been on verge of retirement for a decade. Nice man but why is he still working?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. This video is not a very good one of Pete Morton performing a song he wrote called “The Post Office Queque.” The song is fairly typical of Pete’s songs, telling a personal story that we can all relate to. He’s a natural ham, loves his audiences, and has a great time interacting with them. He performed this song live on TLGMS on one of his many visits to the Twin Cities. I’m sure Mike Pengra captured a much better sound recording of that morning’s performance, but here’s Pete:

        Liked by 2 people

  11. North Mankato has a one person post office staffed for 30 years by the same man. He retired 20 years ago. People threw hm a big street party. He was such a nice guy. It seemed like every time we went back to the north shore he was there. He retired to the the Grand Maria’s.
    With the moving of the Mankato downtown post office, the two are about a half mile apart. The north kato office is barely open.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. A decade ago a former student of mine with whom I am still close sent me a reference for an ebook. I read the summary. It was about a personality type a psychiatrist had named (she now often says temperament) that she had recognized and had long studied. She says 20% of people have it. It is not a disorder or disease. It is an assembly of traits which can be a blessing and a problem. I read through the list of traits and recognized myself, not happily. I read the book. She is the type herself. When she described her first day of school, I was stunned. It was my first day of school. Other experiences of people of the type were often eerily mine.
    It is far from perfectly me. She stresses few are exactly all the traits. Knowing this has not helped me any at this point in my life. Not sure I want to be a personality type but yet here I am.
    It has been identified in animals. Hmm? I am not going to tell you the name. I hate the name. I have told only four people about it and they think it is weird but see that it does kind of describe me.
    The friend, who fits the type too, shared the traits with other former students who all agree it is me in both good and bad ways, more in good ways. They say it is what made me a good teacher.
    Hmm? Not sure. But it so explains my childhood.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. She opened a back room for the college kids when it got a bit noisy out in the library in the evening because so many came some evenings.. Small groups would come in the evening to talk about their shared interests read about them. She would stay late in finals and midterms for the college kids to study. In the summer she would let the kids read in all the many nooks and crannies in the old Carnegie building which the head librarian let happen despite the stuffy one getting upset. She made it a fun place for the elderly. One funny old guy would dance in almost every day to talk to her. And he was a good dancer. Lots of high school kids would come in to hang out with her for awhile in the summer. And the legions of little girls who came every day in the summer to be with Sandy. I could expand on this list in many ways.

        Liked by 3 people

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