Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Determine Which Career Is Best for You

That’s easy. You’re going into marketing. Everybody goes into marketing. Even people who claim to implant artificial hearts or extract live landmines are in fact presently sitting in a conference room named after a letter or compass point, trying to determine if they can promote something as a fruit juice even though technically it’s not a liquid.

But why does everybody go into marketing? Because anybody can go into marketing, minus babies, the dead and certain types of waterfowl. Marketing is the universal “gimme.” It’s the career safety net for those of us who keep falling. It’s the professional “Get Out of Jail Free” card for anyone who has a tendency to accidentally lock him or herself in a prison cell. It’s the job opportunity God Himself bequeathed us when he looked down at mankind and realized it took us four centuries to create fire in something other than our cupped hands. (In fact, Catholic doctrine holds that every human being is born with two things—original sin and a lead in advertising.)

Marketing also offers many, many employment opportunities. Copywriter. Graphic Illustrator. Guy Who Sits between Copywriter and Graphic Illustrator. Not to mention all the people who have to look after those people! Managers. Senior managers. Vice Presidential Senior Managers! Marketing is like a glorious pyramid scheme that can never, ever fail because there will always be more people willing to sign on. Of course, the downside to going into marketing is that from then on you won’t be able to show your face at a high school, college or family reunion again.

But what if you really, truly do no want to go into marketing? Well, entering the job market gives you a chance to learn some hard truths. And one of those truths is that it’s almost never about what you want to do. It’s about what you’re doomed to do. (A philosophical doctrine Calvinists despondently referred to as “Oh Well.”) Think of it like the sorting hat in Hogwarts, but instead of discovering if you possess the bravery, loyalty, intelligence or cunning necessary for a particular house you learn if you have what it takes to man either the register of the grill.

That’s what the job search is all about—sorting through your skills and matching them with the most suitable career opportunity available. In other words, combine Michelangelo with “interior design” and you get the Sistine Chapel. Combine Michelangelo with “day care” and you get several irate parents wondering why someone is exposing their three-year-olds to nudie drawings.

To underscore this I tried to devise a precise formula showing how professional success is dependent upon corresponding talents. Alas, I proved to possess not even the slightest talent necessary for making simple, cogent arguments for a reading public. So instead I quickly cobbled together the following example:

Why Cats Are Not Employed As Doctors
• Valuable minutes lost in surgery as doctor furiously paws at nearby fly.
• While informing patient's family of their loss, doctor suddenly loses interest and walks off.
• In bid to become chief surgeon, doctor scent-marks entire hospital.
• Doctor refuses to respond to own name during code blue.
• Staff grows increasingly alarmed as doctor runs up and down hallway for no apparent reason.
• Sensing colleagues' growing dissatisfaction with his work, doctor curls up against a radiator and goes to sleep.
• Doctor raises hackles and bares teeth whenever new interns are introduced.
• Doctor loses medical license after licking self, instruments clean.

So what have we learned? That cats are best employed in service industries? Certainly. But more importantly, always listen for meows when entering a hospital. The life you save may very well be your own.

2 comments:

Erin Wallace said...

I LOVE why cats are not great doctors! Hilarious!!

Ken said...

As a physician, I am amused by the keen insight as to why cats would not make good doctors, and perplexed as to why so many have apparently made it through training and exhibit these exact behaviors.