All Jobs Are Not Created Equal

Jobs are like soul mates, they say we each have a perfect match out there somewhere, it's just a matter of finding it. Of course they also say the harder you work the more money you'll make, it's the thought that counts, and Arnold Schwarzenegger can save California the same way he keeps saving John Connor. The trick, of course, is finding that ideal career. This can involve a lot of trial and error, which is why my career path resembles Robert Downey, Jr. taking a sobriety test. But that's okay, I figure sooner or later I'll stumble upon the right thing. Hey, even a blind squirrel will find an acorn sooner or later.

This isn't to say we should try anything that comes along. After all, there are definitely jobs I know I don't want. When I was growing up my parents used to say it was a good thing there were people who didn't mind being garbage men because they didn't want to do it. I think they were trying to impress upon me that whatever I wanted to do with my life was okay. Well, as long as I made enough money to take care of them in their old age. Trust me, I'm not happy about letting them down, though I do feel good that I can help my mother from time to time by making her nice new cardboard signs that say, "Will demonstrate my walker for money."

While I don't have any desire to be a garbage man -- nothing personal, it's just that I can't imagine waking up that early -- it would still be better than some other jobs. A few days ago a whale washed up on a beach in San Francisco. A dead one. A very stinky rotting dead one. A scientist had the fun job of sawing off the decomposing animal's head and fins, which took the better part of an afternoon. While not nearly as disgusting as being the poor projectionist who has to watch Charlie's Angels -- Full Throttle over and over, it nevertheless won't make my list of Top 100 Jobs I Have To Try In My Lifetime.

Another job I don't want is roadside urine collector. This is one of those careers that the Birkman Personality Quiz doesn't usually recommend. At least I hope not. In case you've blocked it from your mind, the Birkman Personality Quiz is the test you took in school which was supposed to help you discover which careers you're best suited for. It's the one that asked whether you'd rather watch an opera naked while sitting on a block of ice or listen to adorable, rich, white, middle class, teenage pop stars with perfect bodies whine about how difficult life is, a career way too many kids are having recommended to them.

Years ago, one of my brother's friends was told that his test results showed he was best suited to be either a farmer or a priest. He didn't listen and went on to become a successful lawyer, which only goes to show how inaccurate the test is. It was on the right track though, since he's done rather well for himself planting seeds of doubt in jurors' minds and convincing clients to have unshakeable faith in him even when he forgets their name, but it still needs to be updated. Especially since it doesn't recommend that anyone become a roadside urine collector yet it still tells students to become doctors, politicians, and Carrot Top. As if we need any more of them.

Actually, this isn't a career I ever thought the world needed -- roadside urine collector, that is -- but it does. Apparently there are people driving cars who don't want to waste time pulling into a rest stop to get rid of those two Big Gulps they had for breakfast, so they pee in a bottle and toss it out the car window. State road crews, not being able to tell at a glance whether the bottles contain Gatorade, liquid anthrax, or recycled coffee, are calling the hazardous materials team to get rid of them, at an average cost of $2,500 per run. On one run, a crew in California collected 300 bottles, which are sitting in a state office right this minute waiting to be reclaimed by the rightful owners. After 30 days they'll auction them off, so keep your eye on eBay.

Speaking of eBay, it can be a good resource if you're looking for a new job. Fox Sports recently auctioned off a position as sportswriter-for-a-day and some guy forked over $310 so he can write a story about a NASCAR race and have it posted on the network's web site. This is actually the anti-job, since he's paying for the privilege of working, something I sincerely hope other employers -- especially my editors -- don't pick up on anytime soon. I have news for him, people are paid to do that kind of work, even Rush Limbaugh. That's right, Rush is joining the line-up on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, which is his consolation prize for having been glossed over for Dennis Miller a few years back when Monday Night Football was suicidal but didn't feel up to calling a crisis hotline for help. Miller's lack of success should in no way be an object lesson for Limbaugh. After all, who doesn't want to see him humiliated on live TV?

All this should make you feel a little better about your job. Especially if your day isn't spent decapitating rotting whales, collecting discarded urine bottles, or bidding in online auctions for a fake, one-time career. Then again, it might be inspiration. After all, it's never too late to make a career change.

More Mad Dog can be found online at: www.maddogproductions.com. His compilation of humorous travel columns, "If It's Such a Small World Then Why Have I Been Sitting on This Airplane For Twelve Hours?" is available from Xlibris Corporation. Email: md@maddogproductions.com

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