Ask Ceil – Jobs Are Easy; Parenting is Hard

Dear Ceil,

I understand that Leona Helmsley’s dog, Trouble, had a full-time security guard who was paid $90,000/year to dog-sit. How can I get me a job like that?

Planning to Protect Pooches in Peoria

Dear Pooches,

That’s correct. Trouble, the dog who was heiress to $12 million of Helmsley’s fortune, was laid to rest last December. Before she went to her great reward, though, she was guarded around the clock. Or played with around the dog-bone shaped clock. Whatever.

In order to answer your question more fully, I spent several minutes researching this issue on the internet. Apparently, you mustn’t love dogs…

10. Restaurant Critic. Get paid to eat. Write about what you eat. I have always wanted to be this person. I think I’d be great at it. I have a very friendly relationship with food, and I think food likes me back. Special skill needed: ability to eat and write, though not at the same time.

9. “Deal or No Deal” Holder of Briefcase. I know several people whose skills suit this profession perfectly, though they may not look so great in a dress. Special skill needed: standing and holding.

8. Travelodge’s Director of Sleep. In 2006, Travelodge hired someone for £60,000/year ($98K) to test the chain’s 25,000 beds. Wayne Munnelly tests mattress tension and pillow density by sleeping on them. For a living. Special skill needed: ability to tuck self in.

7. Vanna White. I have no idea how she landed this gig, but for being the person who will sell you a vowel (something most people can acquire for free), she is my personal idol. Special skill needed: the magical ability to turn glowing rectangles into letters.

6. Beach Umbrella Renter. One of the many jobs on this list that I, myself, have held. I can say with complete and indisputable authority, there is no better job than Beach Umbrella Renter. When someone asks for an umbrella, you retrieve it, take their money and ID, put them in a coffee can, give them the umbrella and sit back down. Special skill needed: ability to identify an umbrella.

5. Nigerian Prince. As far as I can tell, you don’t really even need to be able to write for this one. If you can string together a loosely meaningful paragraph of misspelled, grammatically misused words, you have this one in the bag. And the payoff is potentially huge, provided that you can hoodwink an octogenarian. Special skill needed: lack of ethics.

4. Car Wash Attendant at automatic car wash. There is a guy at my local car wash who stands at the end of the line and wipes down my side mirrors when my car is done being washed. I don’t know what he gets paid, but it’s enough. Special skill needed: absorbency.

3. Overnight shift, Building Security Guard. So every 20 minutes you walk around and make sure that all the nothing is safe, and that the door which you are either (a) standing next to or (b) monitoring by closed-circuit television hasn’t been breached by the lack of teeming hordes trying to get in. Special skill needed: walking, looking. Insomniacs welcome.

2. Overnight Disc Jockey. I used to DJ for a jazz radio station in the middle of the night. You know who listens to jazz in the middle of the night? Sleeping people. The hardest part was having to go to the restroom during a short song. I once fell asleep for two hours on the sound board and no one noticed. (A friend of mine once played the same song twice by mistake, and when he copped to it was told “Meh. You did a two-fer.”) Special skill needed: ability to listen to “smooth jazz’ at 3am and not fall asleep.

1. Advice Column Writer. But the pay sucks.

Dear Ceil,

Help! My kids are driving me crazy with their unending cries for attention. What do I do to not go crazy?

Twitching in TN

Dear Twitching,

Count to Ten. Thousand.

Some of the unending cries for attention can actually be assuaged by paying attention to the child.

However, it is sometimes difficult to put in Hour 10 with your child when all they want to do is play Candyland. By their own rules. Which they will not tell you.

Sometimes they will require you to answer the same question over and over again:

“Mommy, did Daddy get this toy for me?”
“Did Daddy get it?”
“For me?”
“Mommy, is this toy from Daddy?”
“Did he get it for me?”
“Oh for the love of Pete.”

You get the idea. Some days you want to fake your own death just so the person specified in the will has to watch your kid for a while. I can only advise patience, and the soothing realization that someday, your child will be helping you play bingo while answering your nonsensical questions.

In a life marked by crippling indecision, Ceil Kessler has worked too many types of jobs to count, and is finally in her own business, consulting on business intelligence software. Ceil also markets and publishes the magazine “Business Perks”. Like everyone else in the world, she is working on a couple of novels. She also runs the Laurel Highlands Vegetarian Society, plays pool in her increasingly rare free time, and is an appreciator of fine wines and single-malt scotches.

If you have questions for Ceil, please send them along, or you can use the Ask Ceil-o-matic form.


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