Writer offers potential career paths for young adults

Categorized as 03/09/09 Goshen News column

The word of the day, boys and girls, is careers. You know, jobs. We all have to get one sooner or later. Without it, you will never be able to leave your parents’ home and become completely independent, juggling a mortgage and college debt and health insurance and a car payment and – oh, yes – college bills for your own kids.

Look, I know that at 13 you all want to be runway models, video game testers, or NFL players, but let’s face it. That’s about as likely as me being a real winner in that UK lottery that keeps hitting my spam account. It’s good to have dreams, though, so keep on dreaming.

I realize that there’s a lot of pressure on you to choose a career, starting when you hit high school. It’s baffling and scary, this business of choosing what you want to be when you grow up. Some of you poor, confused souls have even been known to change your minds as often as you change your underwear, which, in some cases, isn’t nearly often enough. If you know what I mean.

Because I care about the next generation, I’ve done a little digging on your behalf. I’ve come up with a list of potential career paths you may not have considered before. Maybe one of these will strike a chord and your destiny will suddenly open up before you.

Now, anyone can be a doctor or a nurse. And you know that hordes of your contemporaries have headed off to become computer engineers and programmers, hoping to become the next Bill Gates. You don’t have to join the masses, following along like so many sheep in pursuit of the money and status these particular jobs purport to bring. You can make your own mark. You can chart a new course.

You can, if you’d like, be an odor tester. Yes, I mean an actual sniffer for a deodorant company. You don’t think this is a real job? Think again.

It makes perfect sense for the antiperspirant companies to have an odor testing department on site. The success of the company rests on the effectiveness of their products, right? So if you’re going to claim 36-hour protection, but a customer experiences an unwelcome odor breakthrough at, say, 12 hours, this bodes ill for repeat business. Worse yet, just let this poor fellow’s coworkers get wind of which brand he’s using, and your stock could tank within the week. Word spreads to Tuscaloosa and then to both seaboards, and the rest is history.

If you’re looking for some real excitement, you could join the rodeo. As a clown. This job involves running around in baggy pants that could actually hold three people while playing tag with angry bulls and playing chicken with bucking broncos. You pretty much have to have a rocket in your britches somewhere to propel you up and over the fence should the hairy beast with the flashing horns suddenly charge.

Perhaps you’d rather run with these creatures strictly on an annual basis. In that case, they have a few openings for that yearly dash of death through the streets of Spain in what is known as the running of the bulls. The uniform over there includes little red tights and a flowing, sequined cape. If this intrigues you, just go to www.runninginmytights.com to download an application.

Love working with animals? You could be an elephant tender. Your local zoo or circus probably has a spot for you even as we speak. This job is particularly good for pumping up your musculature as it involves lots of shoveling, to put it delicately. For one young man in particular who is concerned about the size of his biceps, this job would allow him to retire the Iron Gym we got him for Christmas.

Furthermore, scrubbing those behemoths down several times a week with a push broom could really bulk him up. And no, I won’t give the ‘yea and amen’ to a flag tattoo on his left bicep just so he can make it ripple when he flexes. I don’t care if he does put “Mom” underneath it.

This job is not for the faint of heart, though, so be warned. One must constantly be on the lookout for flying peanuts and sudden showers from large, hairy trunks. You must also be aware of where the animal’s tail is at all times. If that thing suddenly heads south while you’re doing that shoveling I just mentioned…well, that is a phone call I do not want to make, so heads up.

If you have more of an artist’s temperament, you just may have a future in political writing. You don’t really think the politicians personally write up all their own brochures and campaign material, do you? No way! They hire professionals to do this. So if you’ve got a knack for writing lively and interesting fiction, then go nuts. This is the place for you.

The bottom line here is, opportunities abound in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I know tending elephants isn’t the same as playing in the NFL, but, hey – if it pays the bills, you can’t complain. Just be sure you scrub behind the ears, okay?

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