(A friend of mine found a list of peculiar jobs and we talked about writing a story including some of them. Here’s my version).
Bragging, Buzzwords ‘n’ Bullshit. I call them the 3B’s of Curriculum Vitae writing. In 25 years of assisting the clients of my secretarial service to construct their pleas to be hired, I’ve realised that’s pretty much all these documents consist of. If someone says they were described as a rising star by their last employer, it means they’re an egotistical upstart. Anyone who claims to have smashed their sales targets at the age of 17 probably just sold a few extra burgers. It was the usual phone call enquiry. Meeting set up. He looked normal. Jeans, T-shirt, neat haircut. His moccasin shoes were a bit dodgy, but I just supposed it indicated him to be single.
I led the way up the steep staircase to my attic office and took a seat at my desk beneath the eaves, motioning for him to take the chair opposite, which he did. I picked up my notepad, beginning with contact info and basics. “OK, employment history. First job?” I enquired.
“Well, I started out as a goldfish catcher.”
“Yeah, it was a big pet store and we sold loads of them. Popular pet. Cheap. Doesn’t shit on the carpet or bite the postman.”
“OK,” I wrote it down.
“Then I got promoted to the neon tetras in the tropical section. Fast little buggers. My career was on course to get to the gouramis next, but the bloke on Betta splendens went and ruined that.”
“Sorry, that’s Siamese Fighting Fish to you.”
“What did he do?” I was intrigued.
“The git invented an invisible net. Made the job much easier and he took over the whole section, so I left to become a cow banger.”
“Yep. Saw a local farmer advertising for help with his herd. It was a disappointment.”
He shifted uncomfortably in his chair, face turning red. “Wasn’t what I expected. That’s all. Misunderstood my duties. Got fired by lunchtime. The farmer wasn’t very happy.”
“Right.” I decided it best not to ask more.
“So then I became a turnip shepherd instead.”
“Turnip shepherd.” I jotted it down, nothing surprising me at this point.
“Bit boring. They didn’t do a lot. I was traumatised after the cow incident and well, I guess I grew disillusioned with farming. When I saw the job advertised for a knocker up of working people it seemed like a good idea. Turned out that wasn’t what I was expecting either. That went worse than the cows…”
“So what next?”
“Emasculator. Do you want me to explain my duties?”
“No, I don’t. Let’s just assume what I’m imagining is accurate enough.”
“That’s fair,” he looked into the distance, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “Well, an examiner of underclothing vacancy opened up, so…”
“OK,” he’d gone too far. “Who put you up to this? Was it Kelly or Laura?”
“Kelly or Laura?” It was his turn to look bemused.
“Have you got a hidden camera? Is this some kind of TV windup program?”
“They’re real jobs,” he protested. “Look them up on the Internet if you don’t believe me.”
“I will.” I flicked on my computer and typed goldfish catcher into a search engine. He was right. It was a job. Even appeared on a census. I tried cow banger next. It soon became clear how he’d got fired from that one. I should’ve known better than to type in emasculator, but went there anyway. It was inadvisable. Enough.
“OK, they’re real jobs,” I conceded. “Weird, but real. So what are you doing now?”
“Sampler of drugs.”
I wrote it down. I didn’t need to question that one. “What would your ideal job be?”
He shifted again in his seat, looked down at the ground and mumbled, “I’ve always wanted to be an accountant.”