These tough economic times call for a reevaluation of current career goals. I didn’t have to phone Miss Cleo to figure out that things are likely going to get worse before they get better.
Instead of succumbing to the gloom and doom, curling up into a quivering mess under my covers, loading my imaginary shot-gun and waiting for The Worst to happen, I decided to write a list of possible jobs I could strive for in fields that are less affected by the economic FAIL. In the true spirit of still trying, I made sure that each job could somehow be applied to my ultimate goal of being a professional writer.
It was either that I write this list or stare at the sky and wait for the vultures to circle.
Take note that this list does not include teaching, even though education is a sector that is still going to remain fair-to-strong in light of the recession. I didn’t include going to grad school and becoming a professor because I’ve heard that those who can do, those who can’t teach, and I can (and I will) get a motherfucking book deal. Note to teachers: I’m just jealous and don’t have the patience for your job.
What’s the saying, every man dies, but not every man truly lives? Yeah, well, you can capitalize on the first part. The funeral service industry will always make a killing (sorry, had to), even if the stock market is plunging lower than B list starlet’s neckline. Other than going to school for it, you need to apprentice for two years, but with courses like Restorative Art and Moral & Ethical Perspectives on Death and Dying, and grunt work like embalming, you’re bound never to be bored. Nauseated, maybe. But bored, never.
- Helps with: Fiction. I’m not great at committing to a story that goes on longer than a few pages. Even the small spurts of storytelling I can manage to plunk out on my keyboard are, to me, unimaginative, lacking in any gripping narrative, with any sparkle solely centered around detail and alliteration. Working for death would definitely reanimate my imagination, and likely give me enough material to pen a solid manuscript, filled with gore, humanity, and floral arrangements.
Drug and Alcohol Counselor
You’d be lying if you said that watching the news didn’t make you want to drink until you vomited all over your roommate’s flat screen. Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve often made reference to my time in recovery, and my tales from battle: the debauchery, one-night-stands, and assorted shenanigans I got involved with when sloshed. Nowadays, everyone seems to want to shut off reality, opting for alcohol (or other substances) to dull the pain of an empty pocket. There will always be a need for people willing to help those struggling with addiction, and I venture to think that the amount of addicted individuals is about to rise sharply as the Dow Jones drops.
Each state has different requirements for certification, schooling, and time in a supervised clinic setting, so do some research if pulling someone out of the abyss is the kind of career that appeals to you. And, as always, if you or someone you know is struggling, you can always check out the AA site. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it weren’t for the program. Which might make some of you want to slip me a mickey.
- Helps with: Self-help books. It was estimated in 2003 that the “self-improvement” market was worth a total of $8.5 billion dollars, with a projected growth rate of over $11 billion by this year. Needless to say, working in the field would probably help me to construct a pretty solid manual of how to productively handle individuals with addiction in a way that doesn‘t include condescension, a weapon, or a fraternity. It would be useful, especially since I’d be writing about a subject that touches pretty much everyone in some way.
Any Sort Of Low-Level Position In An Ad Agency
I have heard people far more successful than myself say, “You’re either part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.” Usually they’re talking about cleaning the kitchen.
The truth is that many companies have already started to reassess how they attract customers, how they present themselves on their website, what kind of advertising not only draws their clients in, but gets them to request a quote. Already we do this at Ministry of Imagery, and it’s the rebranding or web copy gigs that we love like a firstborn. They allow us to take an already valuable product or team and reinterpret their mission in text. It’s fantastic. But to jump ship and try to swim at an agency, as much as it goes against the very nature of my existence, as well as my business relationship with Simon, would be the best way to get into the thick of the feeding frenzy. Advertising will always be critical to industry, and especially with the death of print there’s a need for fresh, innovative ways to sell yourself. Another plus to selling out* is that agencies are like factories, many of them just chew you up and spit you out, which means they’re always hiring.
- Helps with: Screenwriting. Two words: Lawrence Kasdan. Also, the ability to sell is key to studio executives. Working with advertising would provide Mad Men-esque anecdotes, coupled by an invigorated ability to pitch a script.
*[Editor’s note: I don’t plan on selling out. Ever.]
(Pharmaceutical techs aren’t struggling, but that job is boring as fuck.)
In all of my desperate research to try and find fields that were not devastated by the economic downturn, the one reliable constant was “any profession in the medical field.”
I used to play gynecologist, and I often use WebMD to self-diagnose, but other than that my healthcare expertise is nil. I’d have to go to school and get certified, and also learn how not to be afraid of people, diseases, vomit, or the combination of all three, but after that I’d be golden. And just think, I’d be helping people in a way that didn’t involve crude jokes and sarcasm.
If the kind of nursing that doesn’t directly involve breasts interests you, check out the Medical Student’s Resource Guide for information on how to help people and what those funny white hats are for.
- Helps with: Teleplays or non-fiction. Other than the incredible nursing blog I could start on my precious day off, I could write a smashingly successful sitcom script. Think about it: ER, House, Scrubs, Gray’s Anatomy, that spin-off with the frigid-looking redhead. The market is there.
Other than these gigs listed above, I could work for a winery, since American-based vinters are doing well, in part due to the price of imported wine as well as the recent popularity of entertaining at home. (I assume they mean key parties.) An oenophile’s job would be extremely funny, since I’m in AA. I could even apply to work for Caduceus. Then I could write a memoir about being an alcoholic working in the wine industry, or just fan fiction about Maynard James Keenan. You swill, I swoon.
The only other surefire career I can think of is to become a repo girl, because I’m sure that’s a business sector that’s about to start booming.
You can reach me at AinsleyDrew at gmail dot com. Hugs, handshakes, and huge gratitude to all those who donate. Times are tough, it helps to share your soup.
The job I have now is the most fun you can have starving. Hire us before we get too weak to type.