Odd Jobs in an Odd Economy: A Reality Blog by Daniel McLeod
Ah, the holidays! Outside the wind whips cold and cruel as we gather in warm clusters to rejoice in the birth of a new year. There’s nothing to help escape the elements like the company of kith and kin amid the aroma of home cooking and humiliation.
If you’re a recent liberal arts grad you likely know what I mean. Chances are good you’re setting sail on the post-grad labor market at the helm of a grill saying things like, “Would you like cheese with that?” Needless to say, the prospect of your aunts, uncles, grandparents and in-laws all asking, “So what are you doing now?” isn’t the most appealing in the world.
A few years ago it was my godfather, the former CEO of a Fortune 500 company, who asked that magic question at a Christmas party. Without hesitating I answered, “Well, I just accepted a position as lead Culinary Distribution Technician with an independent upstart near where I went to school.”
He raised an intrigued eyebrow.
“Business is booming,” I continued, “thanks largely to the region’s vibrant 18-34 demographic. It’s fast-paced, hard work, but it never gets boring. I’d have to say the autonomy the field affords and the people I meet are the greatest rewards.”
“Good for you,” he said sagely and patted me, the shrewd young turk, on the shoulder, “I’m sure the sky’s the limit.”
Rather than risk sounding ignorant of what the techniques of culinary distribution entailed, he was quick to turn down the next avenue of conversation. We talked about 9/11 and his thoughts on all the conspiracy theories surrounding the disaster. Since most of these theories relied on CEOs controlling world events from some dark room, he was a bit of an authority on the matter.
Regardless, I couldn’t believe the ruse worked. Lead Culinary Distribution Technician? I was just swinging for a cheap laugh and won esteem instead. Not bad for a pizza delivery guy with a degree.