Now that I'm working in a yeshivah, I feel like I'm plugged into the yeshivish community. More to the point, the community is suddenly incredibly accepting of me. Because whereas previously, when asked "What do you do?", people were befuddled by my response; they became perplexed because my unusual job prevented them from easily categorizing me.
Now, because people know the yeshivah and recognize my job title, they accept and remember me. Indeed, my first day back to work after Pesach, one of the Rebbeim mentioned that he had run into someone at mincha who had eaten a meal with me. Funny thing is, I don't remember eating with the person in question, but they remembered everything about me- name, workplace, place of origin. I guarantee you that such instant recognition was lacking in my pre-yeshivah employment period.
I understand that most people are only comfortable with what they know. Therefore, when faced with an unknown commodity, they try to find a connection to something familiar. That’s why, for example, people will ask you ultra-personal questions within seconds of meeting you (“Where are you from?”, “What do you do?”, “Where did you go to school?”, “Do you have kids?”, “Are you looking for a shidduch?”, etc.). I find these questions offensive, but I understand that they, having grown up within a very narrowly-delineated corridor, do not mean to be rude; rather, they are hoping to find a common meeting point, an opening into their world of experience.
Now, suddenly, I am perceived as run-of-the-mill. And the benefit to that is I am no longer asked impossibly rude questions.
It’s all good…