You don't become a professional overnight in most fields. It takes years of hard work to get to that point. You spend more than a decade in education, you break into your field, and finally, you know what you're doing well enough that people trust you to get on with it.
Sadly, even after all this work, there are a lot of folks who find themselves in a position where they are doubted by their clients and members of the public. Check out these stories—it's hard to believe that people speak to professionals like this. They'll make you smile and wince at the same time.
1. Doubting Their Qualifications
"I had a lady ask me what makes me qualified to tell her she needs to go to the hospital. I'm a paramedic... it's literally what I get paid to do."
2. A Time Travelling Expert Intervenes
"A lady brought her husband in for elective surgery and he required general anesthesia. She comes in with an old dogeared book and asks to have a meeting with the surgery team.
We humor her, and apparently she wanted specific anesthetic agents for her husband, since she did research on all of them. All the agents she wanted were essentially removed years ago due to harsh side effects or there were better medications. When I looked at her book it was published in 1965."
3. The Day The Crazy Came To Town
"I'm an airline pilot, I've had a flat-earther get mad at me for not telling the truth about seeing the edge of the world. I honestly thought people made that up."
4. Confusing Spreadsheets With Software Development
"I have been developing custom software for over 20 years. 98% of my customers have thought they shouldn't have to pay the price it costs to build their software. Mostly because 'I can do X in Excel.'"
5. The Power Shower Of Nope
"I used to work in auto detailing. The one thing we NEVER did was power wash the motor of a 90's model Jaguar. The electronics were sensitive and the slightest amount of pressure would make the instrument panel light up like a Christmas tree."
"A dealer wanted us to clean this fleet of Jaguars, so we did. All 9 of them. He checked the motors and one of them still had a little dirt on it and he got mad. He starts yelling at me so I explain, 'The electronics are super sensitive, the slightest amount of high pressure could cause the instrument panel to light up. We have to hand wipe the motor with wet rags and cleaner, sometimes we miss a spot.'"
"He calls his porter over and tells him to bring that car around to the repair side and he'll clean it himself. He opens the hood, grabs a garden hose, and starts blasting the engine bay. 'See! Clean.' I say to him, 'Absolutely.' He goes and starts the car, looks down, shuts the car off, gets out, and apologizes."
6. Encouraging Them To Go Blind
"I'm a welder. One of the biggest hazards I face is UV damage to my eyes from the electric welding arc, which is bright and just a glimpse of it can leave spots on your vision for hours (at best)."
"I once had some random guy try and tell me that only the initial 'flash' is dangerous when you're welding, and that after you strike an ark you can just stare at it without any trouble at all."
7. Highly Dangerous, Flammable Water
"Commercial construction diver! I just had a guy serving from a food truck tell me that he was welding on a dock in a lake, which was very dangerous because 'water becomes flammable under pressure'. I told him that he was very brave."
8. Demanding Discounts Based On Nonsense
"I am a hotel manager. People seem to think that we should prorate rooms based upon the time they checked in. It's not a prorated type of thing, it's did you use the room or not. If you use the room then the same amount of effort has to go into housekeeping and the labor cost is the same. It's not as if a guest can only be there for 2 hours and all we have to do with a minor touch-up. No, we still have to go through and clean everything and sanitize everything.
We don't know what you used, so we have to do it all regardless of how long a person is there. When I've had a couple of guests get angry because I don't prorate I tell him that renting a room is sort of like buying a bottle of beer. You can't go to the merchant and say that you only want one swig of beer so you shouldn't have to pay for the whole thing, because once the bottle is opened it's a used product. Likewise, when a guest uses a hotel room it is now a used product."
9. The Underwater Ostrich Technique
"I study sonar. When I tell people that, a surprising number tell me that there is no sound underwater. I mean, you don't need to be an expert in the field. You can just put your head underwater and hear sound."
10. The Historical Hagglers
"I buy and sell junk for a living, every day is a constant struggle with buyers who have been in this for years and know all the prices. You can't argue with market set prices on eBay, but old men can argue that it sold for so much more in 1980."
11. Just What The Janitor Ordered
"As a nurse, bringing medication to a patient and the family member who is obviously a graduate of medical sites university asks, 'Did the doctor order that? Because I've read that an overdose of that medication might cause mild itching.'
Of course, the correct answer is, 'yes ma'am/sir, this was ordered by the doctor after he/she carefully considered all the options.' The answer I want to give is, 'nope, the janitor ordered this but he seemed pretty sure of himself when he did it, so we'll probably be okay.'"
12. The Confidence In A Chain Of C-Sections
"A lady did not believe me at all when I told her SEVEN c sections was a dangerous amount and the 8th section could cause many complications to her and the baby. 'Well they got 7 out easily so what's one more?'
Well, it takes them a lot longer and longer with each section so it probably got harder with each one. 'Well I was there, so I would know'. Okay."
13. Talking Down To Native Americans
"I used to work as an anthropologist for a tribe-run museum on protected Native American land. They had built a museum to display finds from excavations, spread knowledge about the history of their people, and also create a little revenue for their community center."
"Well, a local town, mostly white, upper-class families, took offense to our work. They claimed we were destroying the tribe's culture without any right by excavating. It culminated in a group sending the museum a letter where they basically said the tribe members were not educated enough to understand how their culture was being destroyed and were simply not intelligent enough to make decisions in regards to activity on their land. That went over real well."
14. He Has His Mother's Eyes, Literally
"Optician... Woman brings her sons in for exam. Both have EXTREMELY high minus Rx's. Mom is okay with with older son's Rx and glasses order, but is mad about younger son's Rx."
"She wants to order his glasses, but wants his Rx changed to be less than the Dr's prescription. I told her I can't do that, because I can't change the Dr's work."
"She's mad because she thinks the Rx is too high for him because... 'His eyes are like my eyes and my Rx didn't change this much from my exam last year. So, I don't want his that high.'"
15. The Privation Of Pigs
"Got in an argument with a woman at the grocery store, she wanted to buy grass fed pork. There is no such thing—grass cannot support a pig; they have to eat a heavy grain filled diet. Woman did not believe me or my 10 years of farm and meat selling experience.
Got to the point I told the woman I would ship her a piglet so she could raise it completely on grass and watch it die from starvation."
Can you feel their pain? We sure could. We hope that whatever you do, people trust in you to get the job done.
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