Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thought for Labor Day Weekend: Are Professional Genealogists Like Baroque Countertenors?

Conor Friedersdorf, an Atlantic senior editor at Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, has been posting some of the reader responses he’s received during the past week or so to the broad question “What The General Public Doesn’t Understand About My Job” (or something like that.)

This morning, he posted a response from a reader who is a classical vocalist - a professional baroque countertenor, to be precise - , but who doesn’t earn quite enough from his considerable vocal talents to keep body and soul together.

 “Anonymous Reader-Vocalist” observed that, while it’s great actually working in the arts,  “ …it's really hard breaking through the culture here where kicking a ball accurately is worth millions of dollars whereas perfect sight-reading, constant vocal practice, and good knowledge of period performance and ornamentation is considered a fun hobby for just about anyone.

Could it be that genealogists (and others who research, write, teach and lecture for pay in the family history/genealogy field) are, in the public’s mind’s eye, a lot like professional baroque countertenors? After all, it’s so much fun, why would anyone actually expect to be paid?

The series has been a great read and is definitely worth a look, especially if you’re not familiar with the daily work of Indologists, master herbalists, morticians and dating coaches.  

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend, workers!

1 comment: