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Is trust given too freely?


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About James

I have lived a lot of years and the more years I have lived, the fewer answers i have found. I hope that by engaging here we can discover some answers together.


We're a trusting lot, us Aussies, as highlighted by survey identifying our most and least-trusted professions.

Every year a number of research organisations survey the population to identify the most and least trusted occupations. The most recent survey, reported by News Ltd, identified the five most trusted occupations.

Car salesmen aren't trusted much.

Car salesmen aren't trusted much. Who do you trust? Picture: Shutterstock

They were:

  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Doctors
  • Engineers
  • School Teachers
  • And the least trusted, according to the survey, were: 

  • Union leaders
  • Insurance brokers
  • Real estate agents
  • Advertising people
  • Car salesmen
  • There is perhaps no surprise that the ‘helping professions’ are the most trusted. I imagine many people view people in these occupations as servants of the community, although I view a pharmacist as a retailer selling stuff and wonder how many people really know what an engineer does.

    Perhaps these are occupations we feel we just have to trust.

    It is also not surprising that union leaders and people who ‘sell stuff’ are the least trusted occupations.

    There are few groups in the community that receive the bad press that union leaders attract. And the rest are sales people, selling you what makes them money, rather than what serves your needs best.

    After 25 years in advertising, I would have to say that this is an occupation that should not be trusted. No industry involves more ‘snake oil’ than advertising.

    Perhaps the most surprising finding here is that politicians are not in the bottom five. Some 17% of the sample said that they trusted federal politicians.

    Of course, the question may well be asked, what are they trusted to do?’ The answer may not be flattering. However, politicians were found to me more trusted in this survey than in one held at the same time last year.

    For me, the second-most surprising finding was that over the previous 12 months, the biggest losers in terms of trust were ministers of religion, who fell 4%, to 35% of people trusting them.

    I am staggered that anyone trust this occupation any more, particularly representatives of those faiths that have had clergy appear before the Royal Commission for raping children and/or covering up the rape of children by other clergy.

    Not addressed in this survey were a number of occupations that people appear to be trusting more and more without seemingly giving it much thought. One such occupation is Uber drivers.

    Every time we get in an Uber vehicle, or a taxi for that matter, we allow them to take our lives into their hands without a second thought.

    The explosion of Airbnb demonstrates that we are trusting people we don’t even know based on information placed on the internet, which may not be accurate or complete. It is interesting how technology has encouraged us to trust people we don’t know.

    I find it very difficult to trust. Some may say that I have trust issues. It is not that I actively mistrust anyone, but rather that I believe trust must be earned.

    I don’t trust anyone until I know enough about them to make a rational decision about whether they are trustworthy. Equally, I don’t expect anyone to trust me, until such time as they have before them the evidence that justifies such trust.

    I view trust as perhaps the most important currency in the world today.

    It is trust that lies at the foundation of a good relationship. It is trust that a product will deliver value that leads to a purchase being made. It is trust in a brand that leads to repeat purchase and referral. It is trust that leads people to believe what someone else tells them and then take action on the basis of what they have been told. It is trust that enables people to work together toward a common goal. It is most certainly trust that lies at the root of a strong community.

    Equally, it is the loss of trust that destroys all of these things.

    What does it take for you to trust? Are there occupations you trust more than others?

    Are there things that destroy your trust faster than others?

    How important is trust to you?

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