An occupational hazard
In anticipation of buying a car, I recently went about obtaining quotes for car insurance.
Most of the questions that I was asked were simple to answer: my name, address, date of birth, marital status, driving history, yada-yada.
But there’s one question that nowadays I struggle with: occupation. In the past, it was slightly more straightforward. As an employee, I could usually pigeon-hole myself into one of a couple of the entries presented to me. And I picked the one that I felt most closely matched my employment at the time. (Often the occupations on offer were somewhat bizarre and irrelevant, but I could generally find one that had something to do with what I did.)
But more recently, I lead many lives. I am a proofreader, a company director, a business analyst, a project manager and a spreadsheet modeller. And I expect that many of my friends will struggle similarly to select from the Occupation dropdown. Particularly among my consulting friends, I struggle to think of one that exclusively fulfils a single role.
In these austere times, is it time to rethink the Occupation dropdown? Is it still valid for everyone? I expect that more people than ever are working two jobs to make ends meet, turning to secondary skillsets to pay the bills.
So how should they respond to such a question? Should it become a multiple choice question? Or does it need to become something altogether less discrete?