Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Choose a Career

The following is a description of my husband’s behavior after he buys an item at the store. This narrative is not particularly important in the specifics of job hunting, but does eventually apply to the entire scheme of things. If you are reading this rather than looking for a job, you probably need a break anyway. Writing cover letters is excruciating. 

Husband has now finished his purchase. The cashier counts out a five and several one dollar bills for his change. The item is in the bag, and at this SuperCenter, this moment in time, this particular transaction is now complete. The cashier is standing there, waiting for the next group of items to roll down the conveyor belt. A line of people are standing there, expecting to move forward, and on with their lives. None of these things matter to my husband, as he carefully smoothes, straightens and arranges all of his bills with each the president’s head facing the same direction. I, on the other hand, never want to hold up progress in a SuperCenter, which is why I always wad up the whole mess of dollar bills and shove them in my purse.

That said, earlier this week my beloved takes me out for a drink. He looks deeply into my eyes and… asks if I have money for the tip. I am busy messing around with the salt on my shot of tequila, so I tell him I have plenty of change, and that he should retrieve it from my purse. So, he reaches into my purse, pauses, then holds up a huge wad of crumpled one dollar bills. The expression on his face is a mixture of disgust and dismay. He is totally ungrateful, I might add, for my willingness to pay the tip. I consider explaining that the bills are like this because I am not an asshole who holds people up in Wal-Mart, but I find it easier to say clearly, in a very loud voice, “Sorry, those are my tips from stripping.”

The thing I like about declaring loudly that you are a stripper, is that everyone can automatically imagine what it is you do though out your workday, or night as the case may be. For example, you can’t just yell out, “Those are my tips from working as an Instructional Designer.” That statement would only confuse people. Plus, I don’t even think they make tips.

This brings us to our main topic of the day: How to Choose a Career. People will tell you all about salary and benefits, but they never tell you that the most important aspect of choosing a career is to get a good title. If you have a good title, people don’t look at you funny when you tell them you are a Dynamic Marketing Associate or a Direct Integration Facilitator. (Resume Tip -- For more ridiculous job titles, try Bullshit Job: Job Title Generator. There are tons of them.)

Doctor, lawyer, and stripper are all instantly recognizable, clear-cut job titles with no explanation required. The problem with these obtaining these jobs, however, is often lack of skill and/or qualification… and, of course, proper attire. Lawyers, for instance, wear power suits, so you will need to get one of those. I don’t know whether they come with the power, or if you have to get that separate. I'm sure the salespeople at JC Penney’s will know, so just ask them when you get there.

In the meantime, allow me to share a personal example of how lack of appropriate attire can limit your career options. Specifically, how I blew my chance to be a stripper. 

I once went into a strip club with a group of friends because I had never been to one. (I have never been to a Catholic Church service either, but that is on my to-do list.) Apparently, being a girl in a strip club, the club owner is required to come over and check to see if you are job hunting. Surprisingly enough, there wasn't even an application to fill out. I’m not sure what the hiring process for stripper typically involves, but this person seemed willing to let me get up on stage within the hour without even a reference check. 

They most likely quit making people fill out the applications. Writing down your references, five year goals and highest level of education would take a lot of the glamour out of dancing in a g-string to heavy metal songs. Plus, I would be really angry if I had to put on my glass platform heels just to end up filling out forms about my previous work experience. Glass platform heels are really uncomfortable.

The reason my stripper career failed to proceed was not because of lack of qualification or skill. I could take the time to mention here that lack of skill is probably why I would have been fired. I happen to be a horrible dancer and I’m really clumsy in heels, but that was not my downfall as of yet. The blunder resulting in my failed stripper career was my failure to have right sort of clothing on hand. The club owner said some of the girls could loan me their items, but I would have felt really uncomfortable wearing someone else's g-string.

If you are already in a career with an ambiguous title, it is probably too late for you to switch to being a stripper. However, you can always change your title. You should consider a title incorporating words like specialist, or expert. These are terms that make you already seem important with no further action required. Do not use words like developer or consultant. These terms imply action and people will eventually expect you to do stuff. And don’t be a cashier at Wal-Mart SuperCenter. The job title is fine, but you will spend most of your time watching my husband arrange his dollar bills. I’m not sure what effect that will have on you in the long run, but it is not boding well for me.


  1. I used to have a job where I was responsible for the initialization and implementation of visual logistical displays for cardiological medical devices.
    But then they moved me to another area where I had to initiate, and ensure topological conformity of, longitudinal transverse shearing in specific polymer components for use as structural bases (still for medical devices).

    These titles came about because a co-worker said that women didn't react well in bars when he said he printed numbers on something or cut plastic tube to length for a living. BUT they give you lots of time to think up stupid job descriptions.

  2. Rod... You are right. That first thing sounds much hotter than the second. But how did you fit all that on a cocktail napkin?

  3. I am, in fact, a lawyer and have never had anyone ... at a SuperCenter or otherwise ... stuff tips in my pants. This is TERRIFIC career advice!!!

  4. Upon learning my dear husband had lost his job, my often funny friend immediately suggested he rent himself out as a "man whore". Sadly, my husband seems way to enthusiastic about this potential career. And I suspect "man whore" would be something he'd post on his resume with pride.

  5. I knew people who worked at a post office near a strip club. Every few days some of the girls would come to buy money orders with their crumpled up earnings. I am sure the makers of Purell didn't have this in mind when they invented their product.
    Although, it could be an interesting commercial.

  6. oh, my god.
    "Stay Out of My Stripper Tips!"
    i need this shirt.

  7. I could use one of those t-shirts, please.

    Awesome post! Do not move until the money is straight. Rock on!

  8. I actually am reading this when I ought to be looking for a job. And, at the moment, stripper doesn't sound so bad.

    Mostly because it sounds better than "hungry."

    Maybe I will go to a strip club today and see if they tell me to get on stage. But don't worry! I will bring my own g-strings.

  9. Brooke... let me know if you want to borrow my glass high heel shoes.