What kind of job is this man suited for?

One of my co-workers is about to become unemployed. We are very concerned about him and his family…one-year-old baby and a wife(who used to work for us) and would like to help him find a new career. Let me describe him, and then I would appreciate any suggestions you might have about what job he might be suited for. You will be graded on creativity, originality and practicality.

“Paul” is 27, balding, shaggy longish hair, beard, getting a belly. I’m not sure about his education level…I think he has some college, and he did graduate from a technical training program for tool & die or some such job, which he quit in a week because, well, I think because it was a lot of physical labor.

He is extremely well-read, esp. about the Russian Revolution, and loves to discuss and argue politics. With the customers. He has a sharp mind for details…knows all the stock numbers and prices and item count per box of our product line. He is generally a good salesman, but believes that capitalism is wrong. He is employed as an assistant manager, but says no one who is paid hourly can be truly considered management, so he feels no responsibility to act decisively.

He likes nice things…pipes, suit jackets, ties that celebrate “Heroes of Russian Agriculture”…but does not like deodorant, ironing his shirts, or using air freshener after a long session in the communal bathroom (says he prefers natural scents). Or even making sure there are no skid marks left on the toilet seat. Or butt-fur.

He loves to talk, drink coffee, play little hand-held video games…except he does that while working. His handwriting -printing, even, is so atrocious that the bank routinely sends back deposits because they can’t distinguish the numbers. He adores his son, and resents any time required to be away from him; i.e, the 40-hour work week. Anything that should be done routinely is resented…taking out the garbage, keeping the stocroom orderly, following through on projects.

He can rarely give a succinct answer. Example of a conversation:
P: Starbucks has great coffee, but was a lousy place to work.
Me: What didn’t you like about working there?
P: You have to understand that American corporate culture bases its success on giving the customer a uniformly consistent experience, as it were, and they pride themselves on churning out little cookie cutter employees who can toe the company line and sing the company song, so to speak, and what they fail to take into consideration is that they are dealing with human beings who don’t fit into their little molds, and if they had tried this shit during the revolution they would have been executed in the first rounds of the purge.
Answer he should have given: The hours were lousy, I couldn’t make the drinks consistently and I didn’t like cleaning things.

So I know this is long, but can you think of a new career for Paul? There must be someplace that could appreciate his talents. University professsor? Radio talk-show host? I need ideas!

My first impressions of possibilities for him.

Mayor of any of several large cities.
Syndicated columnist.
Annoying guy in TV commercials, kind of like Ben Stein.
Head of the DEA (if you want a really shitty DEA :smiley: )
Any at-home telecommuting work without a live human at the other end of his link.
Tour guide of his own apartment and worksite, after someone writes a fabulously successful situation comedy using him as a character.

This is a joke, right? :stuck_out_tongue:

No offense to the gentleman, but it sounds like a mental health screening might be order. I’d recommend one for his SO as well.

If there wasn’t a child involved I would say target holder for flamethrowers would be a very good position.

With his credentials, telemarketer would be a nice position.
Toll colllector
University professor, political science.

Reguardless, there is a very good chance he will never amount to anything worthwhile.

House husband? If his wife is currently staying home, perhaps they could switch roles for awhile. But thta type a guy is often not really competent enough to run a house, or fails to understand that they are now responsible for all the things their wife was doing.

Substitute teacher?

Most places are so desperate for subs that they will take anyone with a high school diploma who can pass a background check, and it is really a uniquely unsupervised job–as long as the kids are quit and there are no fires, no one checks up on yu. All oyu have to do is show up on time, hand out worksheets, and keep things quiet.

The down side is that the pay is for shit–$50-100/day. Certainly not enough to support a family on. But if his wife is working it might be sometihng he could do to bring in supplemental income and give him a little more time to grow up/find something better.

Academic Librarian: Libraries are often laid-back places with huge numbers of bohemian-hippy types. All the really good jobs require an MLS–and if yu have an MLS you can write your own ticket these days–but there are jobs avalible for regular schmucks, too. Libraries tend to appriciate intelligence, even when it isn’t practical ,and since your funding dosen’t come directly from your "customers’, you don’t have to do quite as much ass-kissing as you have to do in retail positions. Furthermore, you work for hte government, which is evil, but you are selling a product to people, which is less evil.

but you are not selling a product to people, which is less evil.

Oh, God, no. When the manager was on vacation, it took him four days to bring up paper towels from the basement storeroom. We sell a food product. We are required to wash our hands frequently. I only work there 3-9 hours a week–I had to come up from my full-time job everyday to keep nagging him to get the towels, even though there were absolutely no towels in the whole store. And remember, he uses our bathroom for all his major events, so to speak. I really should have gone down and gotten the towels myself, but I was trying to teach him some responsibility…there were four other people working there, any of which he could have sent down for the towels.

The ideas so far are intriguing, especially the mortician idea!
We have thought about house-husband…he’s a decent cook…but his wife doesn’t seem interested in full-time work. She just quit a job to stay home…child-care being too expensive. Now if he becomes unemployed, she may have to go back.

Hmmm…the guy’s well-read and likes to debate, but doesn’t like capitalism or working in an “office-type job.” I’m thinking: academic or independent bookstore. There, he could engage in long debates with customers about the Russian Revolution or whatever, and it wouldn’t (necessarily) be frowned upon. Also, his reading on the job (so long as he cuts it down a bit) would be a bit of a bonus, as it would allow him to recommend titles to customers.

It’s worth a shot. It’s clear that, despite his obvious faults, you care about this man’s, and his family’s, well-being.

Question: Does ‘Paul’ know that you’re holding him up for public ridicule by posting an unflattering description of him to a message board, inviting total strangers to assist you in choosing a new career for him?

If yes; Good. Props to him.

If no; This thread shows the pain that unsolicited advice from ‘friends’ can cause.

Ok…I messed up that link, so I’ll try again.

I also saw that you posted in that thread so you’ve seen how hurtful even well intentioned advice can be.

Provided the OP has taken sufficient effort to annoymize “Paul”, I see no major issue, but I’m a little concerned, because the description given is fairly detailed, unless some of those details are red herring.

Short of bookseller, librarian of some sort, or perhaps a staff position working for the Green Party, I’m afraid “Paul” has a fairly limited employment future. If he can overcome the hygene issue, he may make a decent research assistant for liberal arts or poly-sci.

Sounds unemployable as far as a proper career goes. Job counselling combined with a shrink might help get him up to some minimal level.

Radio talkshow host

He is completely correct about capitalism.

Two non-sarcastic possibilities come to mind:

  1. Employment in a retail grocery cooperative where he can find a closer political fit and have company and not be expected to provide stellar customer service;
  2. Public employment, probably at the county level, or a big city if nearby. LImited expectations of keen customer service, lots of griping, decent pay and benefits, and a constellation of political games to play, always.

I just recognized him. He’s Comic Book Guy!

Well, others have noted that he really needs to either change or seek employment that doesn’t put him in contact with other people, or require that he accept responsibility or be decisive. Hygene can become an issue in a small bookstore, but they’re all disappearing anyway. I suppose long distance truck driver wouldn’t work because he hates to be away from the kid.



Tech support. That description fits a large percentage of my coworkers.

No, actually, he doesn’t, and even if some of the descriptive details were red herrings, the majority were fairly accurate, and I’m ashamed to admit, totally unkind. I feel like a jerk. I’ve felt horrible since I read your post. I didn’t mean to be so awful. Blame it on a frustrated writer’s attempt to be descriptive, and a frustrated co-worker’s attempt to help someone who seems to be floundering.

I have no intention of handing him a list of the suggested jobs…my intent was more to have answers handy when he asks. Or to be able to say, “hey, have you ever thought of applying to that bookstore around the corner?” when he expresses the need for a new job. Believe me, we all care about him, and as odd as it may sound, we do spend time trying to think where he would be happier…we’ve been wracking our brains for months.

So thank you all for your suggestions. Even the totally impractical! It was very uncomfortable for me to work with him today, knowing I had really crossed a personal line. Even when he stood around and did nothing unless I told him to do a specific task. I realize that his workstyle is different from mine, and he really needs a job where he can utilize his intellect…that reasearch assistant thing sounded good. Thanks again, and I promise not to be so “catty” in the future.

I’d say President of the United States, but since he has this thing against being a puppet for the Evil Corporations, forget it.