I am a teacher, an author, a DJ, a minister and most recently, a life coach. I am paid for all these jobs. My wife claims that I collect jobs, and while that might be true, I only collect jobs that have meaning to me.
First and foremost, I am a teacher. It is what I wanted to be when I was growing up. It is what I spend most of my time doing, and it is the most important job that I have.
Author is a close second. I love writing, and I am proud of what I have accomplished in the publishing world thus far. Writing has become a legitimate career for me, and thanks to my success, we were able to buy our home and keep my wife out of work for the first eighteen months of my daughter’s life. Today she works part-time thanks to my career as an author. Years ago, I decided that I would like to one day write for a living and teach for pleasure. While that goal has not yet been realized, it would appear that I am on my way to making it a reality.
The DJ business is one that I started with my best friend sixteen years ago, and though I grumble and complain when I am forced to leave my family for work on a Saturday, it’s hard to whine about spending the day with my best friend at a party of my own making, and being paid well for it. It’s also gratifying to know that I have played an important role in one of the most important days of my clients’ lives, and as an added bonus, one of my best friends is a former client. That’s a lot of benefits from what began as a dream to one day DJ a wedding. It’s also a part-time job, with most of the work taking place in the summer when I am not teaching, making it a perfect compliment to my teaching career.
Despite my lack of religious belief, I became a minister so that I could marry couples who hire me as a DJ. Over the years I have married about a dozen couples in all, including friends and coworkers, and I have begun to officiate ceremonies like baby naming ceremonies as well. It is not demanding or time-consuming work, but it is meaningful, memorable work.
My goal of becoming a paid life coach was realized last month when I was hired for my first coaching gig. Years ago, I met a woman who was becoming a life coach, and I was immediately intrigued. I had never heard of such a thing before. She explained to me that she had just completed a certification program at a local college and was looking for clients. But when I questioned her about her own life, I realized that she did not have any real experience to go along with the training. No tragedy or trauma, no struggles or surprising successes, no bootstrap-pulling scenarios that might have qualified her to help others. While I had no interest in the training she received, I thought that I had a lifetime of experience that I could put to use helping people and so my goal was born. And now it has been achieved.
Yes, I collect jobs. But not traditional jobs. Not the kind that require time cards and bosses and fixed schedules. I collect interesting work. Unique jobs. Passion projects.
Most recently I declared my intention to become a professional best man, and while some may have thought that this idea was a tongue-in-cheek gag, I am serious. I would very much like to be hired as a professional best man and think I am uniquely qualified for the job.
Today I would like to add two other prospective jobs to my list.
1. Professional double date companion
I have a vision of my wife and my becoming the couple you hire when you plan on dating someone who you do not know for the first time. Rather than flying solo and having to endure the challenges of meeting and evaluating a person for the first time while simultaneously trying to impress him or her, my wife and I would join you on your first date, either transparently as hired guns or covertly as newfound acquaintances.
Our role would be as facilitators. We would work hard to ensure that the date progresses smoothly while doing everything in our power to make you look and sound your best. At the same time, we would be garnering as much information about your prospective mate as possible in as short a time as possible in order to provide you with those all-important second and third opinions at the conclusion of the evening. Why wait for the fifth or sixth date to introduce your prospective mate to friends and family when we can weigh in on the subject immediately?
My wife’s unending charm and ability to make anyone feel at ease, combined with my insight and willingness to ask the tough question will serve you well. Stripped of the standard pressures of the first date, you will find yourself well armed with two people whose sole purpose it to serve your best interests by making you look good while simultaneously determining if your date is a person worth your time and energy.
With a service like this available, why would anyone go on a first date without us ever again?
2. Professional grave site visitor
I learned about this unique occupation after reading about it in the New York Times:
Advertising in a local newspaper and in fliers she distributed in surrounding towns, Terry Marotta-Loprioree offered her services: “Continue your signs of love and respect for your loved ones who have passed. If you are unable to visit your loved ones for whatever reason, I can help. Whether you need flowers delivered, prayers said or just a status on the condition of the site, I will visit any Westchester or Putnam County cemetery on your behalf. Proof of my visit will be either e-mailed or sent to you through the mail.”
My first thought:
I can do that! Hell, I’d love to do that. Get paid for visiting a grave? Maybe deliver some flowers and pull a few weeds. Perhaps even offer a prayer to the deceased. I’m a minister! Who better qualified. And I have died twice, giving me more in common with your deceased than anyone else around!
I’m ready, willing and able, and I’m seriously considering placing an ad on CraigsList to see what happens.
It will begin with something like this:
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this professional grave visitor, minister and near-death survivor from spending quality time with your deceased love one.”
I’d also add the option of playing a client’s recorded message to the deceased, making my visit even more personally appealing.
Not bad. Huh?
I’m also very interested in a career as a professional speaker and am seeking a lecture agent at this time, and I have plans for a corporate consulting gig following the publication of my semi-autobiographical book on productivity and efficiency.
But for now, professional best man, professional double dater and professional grave visitor will do.