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Chloe Zerweck

Rebecca Agosta
UWRT 1102-002
17 November 2014
The Medias Influence on Occupations in Society
How often does the media influence our daily lives? It is very hard to go through
the day and not hear about the news in some way. The media has become a part of our
lives that we expect and in fact, rely on. It has become more of an influence than many
people realize. What are your aspirations in life, career wise? Now think of the reason
behind your choice and think about how the media portrays your career. The way the
media portrays the career you choose is more important than people realize. It is a part of
our identity because it provides an aspect of how we view ourselves and we identify with
our job (and the stereotypes with it). Scientist James Gee said that people have four
different frames of identity, an institutional identity being one of them. We are in a way,
what we do for a living. If you are a plumber, that isnt something you would necessarily
boast to your peers about and that is partly due to the fact that there is a negative
connotation that comes with that job due to all the shows from television and stories that
you hear. This is very unlike a surgeon, who is proud of their work and openly tells
people their job. The two careers are viewed very differently on television and cause the
people with those jobs to have a certain ego (and identity) from their job even though
both jobs are needed in society. Without the media, this identification would be different
because identity has become who we want to be as people and who we want to become is
now influenced by the media (including television).

My research is specific to the influence that media (news and television) has on
who we are as people, in relation to our occupations and how we identify with them. My
interest in this topic began when I would tell family friends and peers that I wanted to be
a doctor and they would either comment about the schooling or about the salary but not
once did anyone say how they thought it was a good idea because of its benefits to
society by actually helping people and that being the beginning reason I wanted to pursue
my career, it kind of upset me but also sparked my curiosity into the reasons behind that.
To research my topic, I browsed the Internet and read many different articles with
different viewpoints of the media and its influence in different aspects and from there
decided what information was relevant and necessary to my topic. It is a fairly easy
process but is very time consuming. It was necessary however, because my research was
primarily observation notes. After I found the research, I molded it to shape my argument
so that I could discuss it and fit it in to my essay so that I could bring some factual truth
into my essay as well as some validity to my topic and the things I am saying.
This influence from the media is relatively recent to society but not in comparison
to how long the television has been around. When televisions became increasingly
popular in the 50s and 60s, a change began. We began to industrialize as a nation and
the phrase Keeping up with the Joneses became popular. People began to feel the need
to impress others and this stems from money. All of the inequality is from money and
they way people get their money is through their career. So as technology has progressed,
the world has become more advanced (including our jobs) and the medias influence has
increased with that. Many people understand the medias influence in society and the job

market but many dont continue that train of thought to realize how big a factor our
careers are to our identity.
We view every occupation differently in society and this affects how people
choose what they want to be. For example, the media has made surgeons more appraised
than ever before with the show Greys Anatomy and even though they are just actors,
many people assume that they are really smart and know all the information that they
play on TV. An interview was conducted and members of the show were questioned by
an actual surgeon of the terms that they use on the show and none of them really knew
the words they were saying for the show but people dissociate that they are acting and
think that is actually a part of their identity and they must be as smart as surgeons in real
life. This is very different than an episode of Idiotest that I saw where people were asked
to count the number of cracks in a picture (including a plumber bent over with his pants
too low) and it really stood out to me that they are viewed as less intelligent, almost
incompetent people. We need plumbers and people of that nature like we need surgeons
because we all bounce off of each other in society but the value of that has been lost and
it has now become a competition. This loss is not good for society because it is very
important for society to be cohesive. Kristie Eshelman said market trade not only helps us
become more efficientit celebrates our individuality by allowing us to serve each other
through our unique gifts and talents. I agree and know that all of these things affect who
we are because our environment shapes us as people. A survey was conducted among
young children and asked them what they wanted to be when they were older and the
statistics show that one in five children just wanted to be rich (and/or famous) when they
grew up (Perry 1). That was startling to me and made me question our motives as a

society because children are now placing money above happiness. This also means that
money is becoming the identity of people. The media influences that tremendously, all
you ever see is people with money on television; we have shows dedicated to people
showing off their wealth like MTV Cribs or Sweet Sixteen. The media inflates moneys
influence in society, in my opinion, and all people want to identify with is being wealthy.
Everyone is trying to make money because its what we have been taught. I am not trying
to say that there is a surefire solution or even necessarily a problem with this way of life,
I am simply trying to point out the influence so we can better understand ourselves when
we understand what influences our identity.
My research isnt finished, I am just past the surface of why our careers are
affected by the media in the way they are but I think the major things that I discovered
were the survey that showed the new goals in life of children and while researching, I
looked up salaries of different occupations and the numbers were either a lot more or less
than I expected. Overall, I think I am definitely more knowledgeable of the influence of
the media around us and I accomplished what I set out to do which was to simply prove
the connection between identity and the job market and furthermore prove the medias
influence in that market. Im also more confident in my aspiring career to be a doctor
because I reassured myself of the reasons of why I was doing this all along. It is a part of
who I am, I love helping people in anyway I can and that will be reflected in my career.
However, I am left with many questions and will leave you with the same ones to ponder;
why do we accept that blue-collar work is less accepted as a position even though we
know its importance in society?, Does society see a need to change these goals that
children are now striving for or is it harmless dreaming of children and the overall

underlying question is does society see an issue with the way the media influences our
career choices or is it healthy because it makes people strive to be better? I dont have the
answers to these questions but I feel that answering these can only help people in getting
in touch with their identity and self, which is most important.