Help Me Rank My Most Pointless Job

I play this on the bus and the EL all the time. There’s no right or wrong order to these. I wouldn’t say they are all equally pointless. There are radically varying gradations of pointlessness, but there are also kinds of pointlessness. Help me come up with categories. I have left out most of my direct academic experience (even the funded periods), as well as any classes I’ve taught.

We have:

I. Hot dog salesman; seriously burnt my arm several times in the corn dog nugget deep fryer; was often asked to be “on call” for weekend duty.

II. Ice cream scooper; was fired for getting caught on a security camera covering the Assistant Manager in whipped cream.

III. Night-time security guard/card swiper; lost a lot of weight; didn’t eat breakfast for a year.

IV. Tutor for college athletes; some of those guys would come in smelling like balls. No. It was not hot.

V. Tutor for kids with learning disorders; they were mostly normal kids in a hysterical society. They would give me tips about how to handle my ADHD; I distracted them from their school work by talking about video games.

VI. Editorial Intern for a famous, “cutting edge,” academic journal; absorbed some evilly banal academic gossip; wrote a heartbreaking number of rejection letter; worked for some of the most self-involved narcissists I’ve ever met; performed most of my footnote verification in a sub-basement of a research library which geiger counters register as radioactive to this day.

V. Editorial Assistant at a major university press; peppered the literary critical and art historical community with countless rejection letters; this part of the job came to be therapeutic. I can recognize an unpublishable project with half a glance.

VI. Office Assistant for the son and digital publisher of one of the most famous living psychoanalysts; learned how much he hated his mother and resented his father’s success; had to work sitting in the neighboring room as his French fiance (a cranial psychotherapist by profession) would massage his skull for hours.

VII. Porn Shop clerk. Spent a few months getting chastised because I would let guys make a mess of the gonzo dvds; got to listen to my 60 year old lesbian co-worker punctuate every transaction with “any lubes, lotions or oils with that?”; since there were no returns on vibrators she would ask all the giggling couples purchasing a sex-toy together, “would you like me to test that out for you?”

VIII. Investment bank; renamed pdf files for 70 hours a week. For a break, I would scan, fax and staple.

IX. Escrow Officer; realtors, the most pointless creatures on earth.

X. Property Manager; was once asked to determine what kind of bed bug had bitten a unit owner as he felt it incumbent to identify the species of bed bug before calling an exterminator; this owner was a professor of literature at the University of Chicago.

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