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What people don't get about my job
Date:9/22/2013

Having a job is a privilege that brings many things - satisfaction, pride, a roof over your head, a way of life. But what happens when not everyone understands what you do, affecting how they perceive you and how much they want to pay you? A new study co-written by a Boston College Carroll School of Management professor aims to address that very issue.

Titled "What Clients Don't Get about My Profession: A Model of Perceived Role-Based Image Discrepancies" (published in the Academy of Management Journal), the study looks at four specific professions that are high in demand but sometimes misunderstood.

"If people don't understand what you do, they tend to devalue what you do," says Michael Pratt, Professor of Management and Organization at Boston College and co-author of the study. "They don't understand why you're making all this money - 'Why should I pay you all this money?' is a common question these professionals keep hearing."

While this "image discrepancies" study focused on these four professions, researchers say it applies to many more.

"I assumed professionals would actually get over it, that there would be frustration, it would be an interpersonal problem, and that would be the extent of it," says Professor Pratt, also the O'Connor Family Professor at Boston College. "I didn't think it would have such a big impact on how they did their job, how it affected their pay and how they performed. I was surprised at the depth of how this affected job performance. It's not simply annoying it has real impact."

Researchers looked at 85 professionals: 24 architects, 13 nurse practitioners, 17 litigation attorneys, and 31 certified public accountants (CPAs). In most cases, these professionals had to educate prospective clients on job responsibilities, while managing what researchers found were "impaired collaborations" along with "impracticable" and "skeptical" expectations.

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Contact: Sean Hennessey
sean.hennessey@bc.edu
617-552-3630
Boston College
Source:Eurekalert

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