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Monday, March 10, 2008

Jobs You Didn't Know You Didn't Want

Yahoo! recently published an article called "Ten Jobs You didn't Know You Wanted." Like Yahoo!'s presumptuous exclamation point, I found the article about as convincing as a Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama embrace. The charming people at Yahoo!, as part of their run up to be Bill Gates' lackeys, want us to believe that the jobs in question are A) Unfamiliar, and B) Irresistible. "Nonsense!" say I (and the exclamation point is completely appropriate in this case), and I explain why in the following list of allegedly "must want" jobs.

1. Flavourist - At first glance this seems like an enjoyable job, especially for budding gourmands. This is all based on a false assumption, which is that all food tastes great. Imagine being the flavourist for Clam Juice or Veg-All for instance. What about the poor daft git sentenced to being the chief flavourist for a brawn (head cheese) manufacturer? How about being the head flavourist for this motley list? Corned Mutton? Musk Life Savers? Reindeer Pate'? If Dante had known about the position of "flavourist," the eighth level of hell might have been covered in clam jerky and pork brains in milk gravy.

2. Brewmaster - Oh, I know it sounds great to the drinking public. There are university students in the U.S. who are members of certain Hellenic fraternal organizations who think they are in training for this specific job. Ask yourself this though: You've just finished a hard day at the brewery, sampling various microbrews and making adjustments to temperature and hops levels and the like. Where do you go from there? Miller Time? No, home to sleep off the hangover your job has given you.

3. Sensory Brander - For me this ranks right up there with "Robert Bly Encounter Group Leader" and "Scientology E-meter Technician." The money quote here is where one expert in the filed exclaims, "It's a very fun thing to do because it's such a novel idea right now." Translated: "It's great fun to make this crap up as we go!" followed by giggling and eye-twiching that would give Chief Inspector Dreyfus the creeps. I envision a roomful of marketers saying things like, "We think people will associate Saturn cars with the scent of pot roast," and "Everytime Americans see the colour red, they're going to have Dinty Moore on their minds!"

4. Carbon Coach - Your very own Al Gore. (Look, I wouldn't mind it so much if Al had actually won the Oscar himself, instead of just giving the speech and then getting back on the jet.) Do people really want someone hanging about the flat tracking how much lavatory tissue they use, or whether they really need to drive that extra mile down to the shop to pick up milk ("Just eat the cereal dry, you carbon fascist!")? We can handle this sort of guilt ourselves, thank you very much.

5. Sleep Instructor - It's past midnight and I'm sitting here writing this instead of catching up on my own personal REM time (no, not the band, though I'm fond of their tunes). Some might suggest that makes me a prime candidate for a sleep instructor. I would suggest that a dose of Nyquil or a Bloody Mary would be better spent money than some pompous gormless twit coaching me on how to relax. The chap quoted in the article talks about "mind-body exercises for the bedroom and beyond." For a moment I thought I was reading about an upcoming Cinemax special.

6. Metaverse Evangelist - This must surely rank as the most desperate occupation on the list. "Pay me perfectly good money to show you how to how to transform Second Life and other online virtual worlds into a wonderful communications tool where your employees can focus on improving productivity and developing realistic solutions to company problems!" If you can sell that, you can sell anything. The most typical answer to a "metaverse evangelist" will be, "Won't people just sit around and waste time exploring the fictional online world you make up for them?" Oh, I left out, "...You blithering idiot!"

7. Interaction Designer - I believe these used to be called "product testers." This was before manufacturers decided that it was much more profitable to sell things as fast and cheaply as possible, rather than spend a lot of time making sure they actually work in the ways real people would use them. At Microsoft I believe the technical term for this class of workers is "the laid-off."

8. Roller coaster engineer - I've no qualms with this one on the "interesting and desirable" scale except for these two: First, it's an engineering job. Not exactly doing the old rock and roll here, are we? Second, the average persons math skills applied to this profession would be disasterous for amusement parks and the companies that insure them, and a boon to the personal injury legal profession. It's not exactly Theme Park when people go flying off the tracks, is it.

9. Animator - Alright, it has a lot of charm, especially since many of us grew up watching cartoons. That however, is the exact problem with it's inclusion in this article. It's not exactly an unknown profession. Lots and lots of people want to be animators. Lots of people want to be actors and novelists, too, not just me. (And it's not about the money...) I just hope they finally find a class of people who finally realise that Ren and Stimpy are not the epitome of the art form.

10. Travel Writer - Again, not exactly a big secret here. This is like the first one though. It's all fun and games as long as the assignments are glitzy and comfortable. Pity the poor bastard though who gets assigned to write up their vacations to Urkutsk and Kandahar.

I'm also angry that they left out "Comedy Blog Writer." In fairness though, I can't blame them. There's no money in it.

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