My career in sound has been questioned by almost everybody that I know personally outside of the film and television industry; with a handful of colleagues in the industry who just didn't want me to excel. It doesn't make much of a difference to me though, because I know this is my purpose.
The trouble comes when rates are lower than normal due to varied project budgets or when problems occur in post that are usually relegated to lack of system experience by a late night intern at a transfer house; location sound mixers and our equipment almost always get the blame for these problems even after we call the transfer house and explain to them how to properly transfer the files.
The fact is that we do work in a particularly obscure subset of major industries, be it sound for film, television & radio or sound for games. Our work is gaining more interest but it doesn't have the same exposure as a director, camera operator, music composer or visual effects artist. Most often I have to give people who ask a very simple explanation of what I do; I record the dialogue of all the actors on set or conversations for documentaries. Then I'm usually asked about the personalities of the actors I've met or the people I've recorded for documentaries.
Just above this reply one of our other members named ADSR mentioned his admiration for the work I do as a location sound mixer when shooting meaningful footage for documentaries. It's true that I've had great experiences while on doc shoots and even scripted film and network shoots, but I have a long time dream of sitting at my production suite at home producing soundscapes and audible imagery for major game titles or feature films. I guess the grass is greener on the other side, but I'm very glad that while I look to the other side I find other people as dedicated to and in love with their craft as I am with mine.
My hope is that I might have the opportunity to meet you guys on the other side some day and make some great sound.
Have fun fulfilling your purpose,