I’ve now been without a day job for one week. It has been absolutely delightful, and I’ve gotten tons of writing done, but soon I’ll have to start looking for a part-time job. A few weeks ago, I told you about the jobs I’d be best at, if they actually existed. So now I think it’s only fair that I tell you which careers I should never, ever be allowed to do.
Phlebotomist (i.e. person who draws other people’s blood)
When I was in third grade, my class went on a field trip to one of those replica pioneer villages. At one point, we all packed into a little log cabin, and a lady taught us how to use carding boards, which are basically big, spiky brushes used to brush out wool beforeyou spin it into thread. When it was my turn to try them, I attempted to transfer the wool from one brush to the other, but instead I ended up slicing my finger with one of the spikes. I didn’t scream. I just took one look at the blood welling up and fainted dead away on the floor in my little pioneer costume. I’ve gotten mildly better about blood since then, but not a whole lot. I can just see phlebotomist Alison: “Okay, roll up your sleeve. This won’t hurt at— Ohhhh boy. Hang on, I need to lie down.”
Take that fear of blood, then multiply it by the fact that I have absolutely ZERO sense of direction and haven’t driven a car in a decade. No one would survive on my watch.
Outward Bound instructor
I have been camping exactly three times in my life. The first time, when I was in seventh grade, was tolerable. The second time, in eighth grade, a friend and I got lost in the Michigan dunes for hours. (See “zero sense of direction.”) The third time was in the summer of 2004, when I was working at Williamstown Theater Festival in the Berkshires and our supervisors decided we needed some forced bonding time. (Never mind that we worked together eighteen hours a day every day.) It was drizzling already when we left, but within half an hour, it was a full-on downpour. None of us had waterproof clothing. When we arrived at the top of a small mountain, we found our boss huddled under a tarp, trying unsuccessfully to start a fire. All eighteen of us packed in under the tarp with him, huddled together like sheep for warmth. Every few minutes, the weight of the accumulated rain would make the ropes holding the tarp pop free, and a waterfall would come crashing down on us. After a couple of hours, it finally stopped raining, and we managed to cook. But we couldn’t do anything about the ground, which was now completely saturated. Our supervisors had pitched our tent before the heavy rain began, and they had picked a stretch of ground that was on a slight downward slope. So that meant that one side of the tent was significantly drier than the other. Guess who was the last one in? It was like sleeping in a swamp. NEVER. AGAIN.
I’m one of those people who gets seasick within about two seconds of stepping onto a boat. Actually, let’s be honest—I get seasick on the dock before I’m even near the boat. I can’t stand getting up before 8:45. I get cold incredibly easily. Plus I’m one of those hypocrites who eats meat but could never kill an animal. (I even take bugs outside when I find them in my apartment.) So I’m guessing commercial fishing is not for me.
Beer vendor at a baseball stadium
I understand that baseball is a thing that some people find important and entertaining, but I’ve never been able to make myself care about it at all. Sensitive redhead that I am, I have no tolerance for temperatures above 80 degrees. My arms are so weak that I often need to ask for help boosting my suitcase into the overheard compartments on airplanes. And though I’ve really tried my best to like it, I think beer is absolutely disgusting, including the smell. Though I’m pretty sure I could do this job under durress—unlike all the others on the list—I would be thoroughly miserable.
In 2010, I made a new year’s resolution to do something I’d never tried every week. In late January, I got ambitious and went to a belly dance class at Broadway Dance Center. I thought I was taking a beginner class, but it turned out there was only one class for all levels. Since most people were regular attendees, the teacher just jumped right in with pretty much no explanation of how to execute the moves. Spoiler alert: belly dancing is not intuitive. I’m generally a pretty coordinated person, but I think I can safely say that there is nothing in the world I am worse at than belly dancing.
What are your worst jobs? Tell me in comments!