In case you hadn't heard: apparently, on Monday night the replacements did their worst ever refereeing and stole a game from the Green Bay Packers and basically ruined life as we know it and brought down the wrath of the universe upon all mankind, or maybe all footballkind. Or, maybe, they made a call based on the rules that other people couldn't see or understand, and it was devastating but in fact correct. Whichever the case, we know this much: U.S. citizens are ANGRY! I mean, is it possible to declare war on NFL refs? 'Cause we'll do it, oh yes, we will! What could we invade? (And is there any oil under there?)
I wasn't watching the game in question. As it happens, I was at an entirely different football game, specifically, a fútbol game (you might say "soccer") here in Mexico. But when I got home and innocently did a little Facebook check before bedtime, there it was, all over my News Feed: the outrage! the horror! Could we invade Seattle, maybe?
I actually have nothing to say about the call in question because 1)I didn't see it 2)I don't care. But here's what I think is interesting: the ease with which we comment on how others do their jobs.
I don't just mean sports. I mean everything. Sports are definitely where this happens frequently: we, the masses, feel fully entitled to comment and judge what the players, refs, coaches, and managers decide on a daily or even minute-by-minute basis. OK, fair enough, we are spectators who, in a way, make the events possible. You could say the same for movies or books or performing or visual arts. But I'm talking about other jobs, too. Like customer service. Many of us feel super-entitled to comment on how the customer service agent did his/her job. Now I, like many, have worked in customer service, and when I comment on customer service, I try to explain specifically what the person failed to do (usually, it's that they failed to offer what they can do and persisted in telling me what they can't do, which was, like, the first lesson I always taught my Borders traineers: don't say "No"/"I can't"/"We don't have that." Tell them what you do have! So simple.) But I hear a lot of people tell the story quite differently: "She was a jerk" "He was terrible" "I was pissed" "That sucked" and so on.
Teachers. Lots of people think they know how teachers should do their jobs. Politicians and parents are the two main culprits there. But why aren't we listening to the critical analysis of other teachers?
We even do this to doctors, sometimes. I think doctors are pretty sick of patients who have smugly diagnosed themselves using WebMD and a Google search or two. I know they are sick of patients demanding antibiotics for viruses.
I'm just so curious as to why we all feel totally comfortable declaring what some professionals should or should not have done, but we rarely ask the other professionals in that profession to weigh in.
I think that I am qualified to comment upon how to do the following jobs: writer, editor, ESL teacher, legal intern, corporate trainer, bookseller, merchandising/inventory supervisor, public radio editorial or production assistant, customer service/reservations phone agent, Disneyland cast member, babysitter, paper carrier. But how many other jobs do I weigh in on?
OK, granted, you could also be a qualified hobbyist. So, I can comment a little bit on: theater (acting and directing), gymnastics, yoga, softball, novel writing, poetry, a handful of musical instruments, choir singing, etc. But still, I really have no place to dictate how a yoga teacher "should" teach, because I am not certified or as advanced in my practice. And a few poetry slam prizes don't really mean I should lord it over the Poet Laureate.
I just think it is interesting to ponder how very much we think we know about how other people should do their jobs.