Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Jobs that Got Away

In honor of hump day, the weekday on which most workers achieve maximum productivity (so buy a car made on a Wednesday!), here is a sampling of phrases I might have used to start my work day had I not been hired by my current wonderful employer. Because I actually applied for, and in some cases, was offered a position in the following fields:

“Greetings Mr. and Mrs. Waverly. I realize that I’m about to introduce a subject that most people don’t consider when making long-term choices about their future, and the futures of loved ones. But I can’t stress enough the importance of providing for your family during a difficult time by purchasing a PREPAID BURIAL PLOT. I just bought mine. I expect to fill it next week.” (Job: Cold call burial plot sales for a cemetery)

“Let me show you our latest model, the Motorola v8675309. Comes standard with the following features: voice dialing, color screen, picture messaging, and if you act now, I’ll throw in my own personal dashed hopes and ambitions as well.” (Job: Cellular phone salesperson)

“Yes, I’m the manager at This Particular Furniture Store; at least I will be until the store folds in a month. How can I help you furnish the living room of your dreams while simultaneously making me feel small today?” (Job: Manager of a furniture store)

“And this is the bed in which Ol’ Timey McSepiatone slept. In 1742, many families kept trundle beds beneath the bed shared by the husband and wife. Just so the children would need therapy that never existed back then after they heard their parents having sex every night. Because imaginary children don’t do farm chores, you know!” (Job: tour guide at a local historically significant mansion)

“Is this your first time scheduling an application of lawn pesticides and herbicides that may give your dog seizures and make me feel like I’ve sold my soul to Beelzebub?” (Job: Sales rep for a lawn treatment company)

Any of these jobs could have been my reality, because as some of you know, I graduated with a degree in English. Whenever I told people of my planned major, a flash of confusion would shadow their brow until they inevitably asked me, “Oh, so you’re going to teach?” And when I said no, I wasn’t getting a teaching license (I'd changed my major so many times I was pretty sure I was legally prohibited from doing so yet again), they would laugh.

Oh, how they would laugh.

I must also point out that in no way am I disparaging these careers or people employed in these fields. These positions are simply not right for me. Then again, I’m barely employable to begin with, so pretty much every job fits that category. Except for professional cheese taster / alternate on the official U.S. celebrity mocking team.

I would love to hear about your jobs that got away. Or jobs you’ve held. Or hold. So do tell. And on that note, I've got to get back to work. Trained helper monkeys and solid gold toilets don't pay for themselves!


  1. HAHAHAHA! Jess, you made my morning with this one....

    I have been:

    1. A delivery person at a steel mill. I would load my own trailer and strap down the material myself. I can back said trailer in some tight spaces - better than most men.

    2. I then went on to be an orthodontic assistant. Let me tell you - working in people's mouths is NOT for everyone. I rather enjoyed what I did, though. Wish the doc hadn't been such an ass.

    3. I became a certified personal trainer and nutrition counselor. I thought I found my life calling with this one. There is, however, a huge burn out factor involved and I got tired of not only being everybody's inspiration but also a personal therapist for many of my clients.

    4. With absolutely zero education or experience in the subject, a very small business hired me as their marketing director. I did just fine and found that I have a pretty good eye for that type of work (both verbally and visually). Wish the boss hadn't been such an ass (geez, I'm seeing a trend with this one).

  2. That is so hilarious!

    I think I took every job I've ever been offered. LOL!

    Thanks for registering and visiting today. I blogrolled you.

  3. Wow Jess, that's quite a diverse list of jobs! Sounds like we could do a whole new post just on former bosses.

  4. Thanks R2K! Will add you, too.

    Damn. I just got a piece of banana stuck in the keyboard. Now I really have to run.

  5. Anonymous11:11 AM

    God, that was funny. I am laughing so hard--"Ol' Timey McSepiatone?"
    I have been a waitress, an event planner, a publicist, written instructional courses about pacemakers, and run a non-profit literary magazine.
    Guess which job paid the most?
    I'll give you a hint: it was the one during which I had a regular named "Munchie" who slapped my ass while I was pouring his coffee and frequently reminded me that it was "just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one."

  6. Let's see.
    1. Would you like mayo or oil and vinagar on this hoagie? Oh, extra heartattack on a bun? No problem. (deli clerk)
    2. Oh, I see this is your first coffee of the morning, do you need a double? Yeah, take that paper and shove it up your ass! (conveinence store clerk)
    3. Sure, you can drool all over my boobs, as long as you keep forking over those dollars. Um, I don't think that's your hand, and either way, it should NOT be touching my ass! (cocktail waitress at strip club/ dancer at strip club. Best money I ever made, and not too different from real life with men, except they pay you when they talk to your boobs instead of your face)
    4. Sure, I'll take your first born child, the deed to your house, and a kidney. You're gonna LOVE this Hyundai Accent, but one of the kids will have to ride in the trunk!! (car sales rep, worst money I ever made, I have too much of a conscience.)

  7. Lines from the best jobs I've held:
    1) What would you like from the bar?
    2) I'ts 5:30, you're listining to WUSF, WSFP in Tampa/St Pete
    3) "No, Renegade Rabbit, over here!"
    And one (unspoken) from the worst -
    "Do you want me to bend over into the beer cooler FURTHER, so you can see MORE of my ass in these hot pants that came as part of my uniform?"

    Weird fact - I've gotten every job I ever applied for - I just didn't know I shouldn't have applied for some of them.

  8. Well, with my journalism degree, I managed to snag a job at a huge ad agency in Chicago right out of college. My first job there was to type McDonald's commercial scripts. Yes, I'm so proud to say that I was typing such legendary phrases as: "Grimace is at bat. Ronald is pitching." Be still my heart.

    Actually, that was a really fun job because I was in a department with about 40 single people my age. We had a blast, despite the inane and mind-numbing work.

    Don't tell anyone, but someday I'd love to have my own column in a newspaper. Meanwhile, laundry and dinner are calling......life is good!

    Have a great Wednesday!

  9. Anonymous4:28 PM

    I was an ART major, so I can relate to the worrisome looks and howls of laughter.

    And that was just from my parents.

    I did go on to start my own design business (and still do freelance, but now out of my house, surrounded by Polly Pockets and Pokemon cards)

    But the worse job I ever had? Hands down, wrapping presents for a departments store, I Magnin, where, for eight hours a day I was abused by craggy old ladies with tons of money who would berate me for not "smoothing the paper enough" while their chauffeurs stood patiently by schlepping their bags filled with expensive face creams and industrial-strength undergarments.

    Not that I'm bitter.

    (Thanks for visiting my site. And congrats on your book deal. Do you have excerpts posted?)

  10. Anonymous8:21 PM

    How funny; I was thinking about doing something similar for a Thursday Thirteen, only with jobs I wouldn't want, period, and without the dialogue. I like your approach better. Very amusing.

    Let's see. Jobs that got away...
    1)English teacher in a district where I would have a strict, minute-by-minute curriculum and was NOT to deviate from that. Ever.

    2. Working at a library. The selection process was daunting, and I realized that I wouldn't be happy filing books all day, which is what the job required.

    3. Clerk, Barnes & Noble, early college years. Again with the boredom of shelving books. I did end up working in another bookstore, though, for 2½ years, but that was much later and in another capacity.

  11. Thanks to all of you for sharing your fun job stories! I had many a laugh with this one.

    (sweatpants: no excerpts yet...perhaps on the future website, with approval from Harper. I'm hoping, anyway.) :-)

  12. Anonymous4:57 PM

    So Jess, did I ever tell you about my job that involved sexing geese? No not sexing-up geese, but trying to determine the sex of an animal that quite possibly could be more difficult to determine than that of PAAAAAAAAT on SNL...

  13. I missed this post before you moved on and want to chime in.

    Limo driver to celebrities. (Justine Bateman was a horrible tipper)

    Waitress (fired from probably 30 jobs)

    Sold office supplies over the phone (had a fake name and a boss named Chubba)

    Sold "Writer's Bootcamp over the phone" (lasted 4 weeks)

    Sold Kirby vacuum cleaners (another 4 weeker) oh the list goes on.