5 Jobs I Just Won’t Do

March 25, 2016

Searching for my passion has reached a process of elimination. A lot of people out there – friends, family, readers – are quick to toss suggestions my way when I mention feeling directionless. Although I value everyone’s input, it’s a little condescending. Not because I don’t believe you’ve given the idea of what I should be doing any thought; rather, these job suggestions have been pitched tens of times over after I’ve already taken them off the board.

1. Flight Attendant

I have FA friends and even dated a flight attendant based abroad, so believe me when I say I respect their work, as I do everyone in customer service; you all have a degree of patience I will never experience or even understand.

That having been said, are you kidding me???

Why in the world would I want to be nothing more than a glorified waiter packed into a dry aluminum tube with some of the worst of humanity for hours each day? Yes, there would be the benefits of being able to fly for free on days off and taking advantage of overnight stopovers domestically, but by that logic I might as well work at Whole Foods for the discount, since I enjoy shopping there.

No, just no. Unless you’re in first class, it’s painful enough just flying as a passenger.

2. Skydiving Instructor

Skydiving in Monterey

Selfishly, I believe something as exciting as jumping out of planes just isn’t for me in the long run. There are two main reasons, one of which is a part of any job: repetitiveness. Doing any activity repeatedly, mundane or extraordinary, has the potential to make one numb to the experience. Just imagine a customer service agent who pretends to laugh at the same stupid joke because a customer believes he’s the only one clever enough to have uttered it. By the same token, I worry that jumping out of planes day in and day out would become the new normal for me, and I would no longer get a thrill from the experience… that, and it doesn’t pay very well.

3. Teacher

Shades of grey fill this profession, and I admit I’m still a bit torn at times. Teaching in Asia is one thing: with some exceptions, the majority of the posts are filled by those seeking adventure. Even those that stick around may not consider themselves professional teachers; there are only so many options to keep a working visa in Japan or South Korea, and teaching presents a means to stay in the country.

So what about back in the US, where I could be properly certified and all my subtle jokes understood in the classroom? Maybe. Perhaps I’m just a bit too cynical about the way teachers are treated in certain states:

– Restrictions placed on them by administrators
– Low pay and obligation to purchase supplies themselves to keep the class running
– Reluctance to remove cancerous teachers from schools, even to the detriment of students

More to the point, it’s the system as a whole that has me concerned. I don’t want to be oiling the gears of a faulty machine, one which values math and science above all else and practically ignores the arts and students’ natural tendencies. There’s so little possibility for one teacher to make changes to this machine. Although if I were to focus on the trees rather than the forest, that is focusing on helping students individually, I may find myself satisfied.

4. Actor

In high school, it really wasn’t about acting on the stage or in films. It was just about being famous, one of those people who are emulated around the world for their silly catch phrases and good looks.

Nothing like growing up to give one some perspective. Although I’m not opposed to the theatre in the slightest, having been in a few student films and scenes for other movies, the repetitiveness would probably destroy my soul in a matter of months.

Finished one scene? Let’s do it again, with more intensity.

In addition, having lived in Japan and been the center of attention for a few years, I’m just not as much a fan of the spotlight as I thought I would have been. I could deal with an online audience, but having people recognize me on the street? I think I’d be more annoyed than flattered.

5. Military

I’m just asking for trouble with this one. First of all, am I saying that I’m too good for the military? Don’t be an idiot. No one is too good for any job because everyone is too good for every job.

Being a soldier, whether you’re a Marine on your elbows in the trenches or a Colonel in the Air Force sitting behind a desk issuing orders, is more than just a simple job: it’s a duty. Knowing a few people in different branches has been very educational; I always had this image of young men and women sent off to bases with nothing but a duffel bag, being given food, housing, and training until their service was complete.

Well, that’s partially true, but they’re allowed to have lives, take leave, and, depending on the branch and one’s rank, spend time with their families at night and on weekends. In that sense, it is a job, albeit one in which you could be sent to another country if the political landscape changed.

When I applied and was accepted for an Air Force ROTC scholarship, I knew very little of this. To me, agreeing to enroll in pilot training equaled signing my life away for ten years, the majority of which would be spent in a dorm or in training with other soldiers… yeah, so I was a bit of an idiot.

Even knowing this now, barring a draft, I’d still make the choice to stay out of the military. Not because I don’t believe in defending the ideals and principles of the United States of America, but rather, given how we’ve seen the military dispatched over the last twenty years, the ones responsible for putting our troops in harm’s way are so far removed from the equation (as are we all, listening to casualty numbers on the news) they don’t value life as highly as I believe they should. As a soldier, it wouldn’t be my place to question their authority. As a citizen, I have to.

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