TORONTO, ONTARIO: Last week, I was walking down the street and I came across a flatbed tow truck. The tow truck driver nervously fastened a motorcycle to the back, checked and re-checked the straps. A large, beefy guy with arms crossed carefully watched him. He wore a leather jacket that said Hell’s Angel’s on the back. And it occurred to me: There are some jobs I would actively avoid. A telephone help line agent. How many times have you called a help line just to say, “Hello! How are you doin’ today?” No, we call to complain. We call because something is wrong with our service. I have prided myself on patience but sometimes even I have lost it on the phone with a Bell or Rogers representative. I try to remind myself that it’s not their fault, they are simply presenting you with the answers that the company provides.
A salesperson of any kind. It’s just not in me. I worked one summer a few years ago selling programs and t-shirts at one of the theatres downtown. My credo: If they don’t need it or want it, I won’t bother them. Not the best way to bump up your commission.
Parking ticket officer. People argue about tickets all the time. They could have been parked illegally, they could have not paid when the sign clearly said it was required, they could have only been “running into the store for a few minutes”. Whatever the excuse, the parking ticket officer has probably heard them all. Just a few weeks ago, I watched as a man snatched the parking ticket from under his windshield wiper, scanned the street, saw the parking ticket officer down the road, got in his car and floored it to catch up to him. He jumped out of his car, waved the ticket under the officer’s nose, yelling about the unfairness of it all.
On the flip side, there are some jobs I would like to try.
Working at a zoo would be entertaining, especially if I got to hang out with the orangutans. I went to the zoo for the first time a few weeks ago and watched as the trainer launched pieces of bread from behind the barrier at one of the orangutans. The limber animal caught each piece of bread and slipped it into his mouth, holding out his arm for more. I could have watched all day. I understand there would be more to the job, as well as a considerable amount of education, but it seemed like fun to me.
War photographer. One of those rough looking guys on the front lines, getting the real story. Seems exciting. But I don’t think war is right, and although you’re exploring it and not supporting it, I would be a morally conflicted participant. Plus, I have an acute sense of self-preservation.
Sky dive instructor. I went sky diving a few years ago and it was an exhilarating experience. I don’t feel it’s necessarily something I need to do again right now. Perhaps if I had to jump out of a plane everyday, I would get used to it and be deemed courageous in the eyes of the world. However, my sky dive instructor was named Thumper and I never had the imagination for nicknames.
The jobs I would be interested in all seem to have an element of danger. Maybe this is why I want to be a writer. I can explore many different subjects without being directly involved. A passive observer. And so, for now, I’ll the watch the orangutans from the sidelines, admire war photography from the comfort of my apartment and sky dive again when I hit my mid-life crisis.
Any jobs you actively want to avoid. Any dream jobs?