I used to love, love, LOVE Career Day in school. There were few places you could garner real world experiences from those who were actually in the trenches. Back in the day, I remember chatting with an anesthesiologist, an electrical engineer, a truck driver, a baker, a television producer, and for whatever reason, several attorneys. I really wanted to be an attorney and I was on my way — until the brain in my other head decided he was more powerful than my real brain. Nine months later, life got in the way, and that was that. Ironically, during a heated argument several years into child support payments, “life” informed me that my offspring might not be my biological offspring. What was important was that these people had real jobs and real life experience, and we were allowed to ask them anything. I’d hit the library (remember those?) the night before and come up with some doosies. My fellow students would sit back and enjoy my third degree. I think the parents did too.
A few decades later, it was my turn to be one of the grillees. Similar to one of my idols, Wayne Campbell, I too have a vast collection of hairnets and name tags. But I was asked to speak about my main gig, which I cannot disclose at this time to maintain a certain level of anonymity for my kids and still corporate-chained wife. C’mon – who names a kid Miso? I had an entire shpiel planned that was sure to get my son’s classmates laughing and elicit dirty looks from his teachers. If you’re one of the five or so people who have been following this blog, you know I only have the best intentions, so lighten up. But I wasn’t the star of this show — the other parents stole the spotlight long before I had the chance.
The first guy up was Mr. Juan Abee Sportster. He opened his laptop and played a YouTube video of some basketball player for a minute or so. Then, he pulled out a wad of cash as he explained what he did for a living. Apparently, you can now earn a whole lot of money playing fantasy versions of your favorite sport. The best part is you don’t have to worry about being injured, or even breaking a sweat. This wealthy basketball superstar stood about 5’6″ and must have weighed 280 easy. He specializes in a game called Fan Duel, and told us he’s earned as much as $16,000 in one day. I vocally posited that it was gambling, and perhaps not the best example for young minds. He vehemently corrected me, noting that he received a 1099-MISC for his earnings, and that it was most certainly a skill-based endeavour. Excuse me. Those kids were in love with this guy. We later found out his wife was a physical therapist, which explained how he was able to play the unemployable gambling house husband.
Next up was Ms. Daisy Trader. She was quite boring and fairly taciturn, droning on in her well-rehearsed monotone speech that explained how the financial markets ebb and flow, and how she attempts to make money by buying and selling other people’s, um, money. She mentioned some crazy cockamamie thousand dollar program that told her what to buy and when to sell. I mentioned that unless she was the only person who had that cockamamie thousand dollar program, thousands of other people may be making the same exact cockamamie trades she was. She defended her purchase by informing me that only the people smart enough to buy such cockamaminess would benefit from the program, and only they would do well. Since she didn’t seem so bright, I thought I might be able to learn a thing or too from her. I desperately wanted to ask her where she got her money to trade in the first place, but my offspring gave me a dirty look and shook his head no.
Finally, there was Notso Real Broker, a forty-something mother who obviously had some work done on her face, and, well, probably towards her chesticles too. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt thinking she forgot she was slated to speak that day, so I’m sure the adolescent boys all looked past her low-cut bright-ass fuschia hoochie mama top and watched her eyes as she spoke, like I tried to do. Ms. Broker’s job was to watch over her team of professional real estate sales ladies, step in whenever necessary to strongarm a deal, and collect half of their three to six percent commissions for doing, well, not much of anything. She bragged that there were ample opportunities for some of the girls in the audience to become money-burning earners just like her. I thought that was a trifle bit sexist, but what do I know. The misandrists at Time and Huffington would love that ho.
Then it was my turn. But my spirit was completely broken by then. How was I to compete with three apparently successful professionals who do nothing for a living? Is this the new world we’re ushering? An economy that generates money out of thin air with no measurable product or service? How can that possibly sustain for any length of time? And all the great advice I’ve been drilling into my kids’ heads since they were old enough to hear — you know, about pursuing a worthwhile degree at a good college to they can secure a rewarding career — was that all for naught? Should I instead be telling them not to worry, because they too can make money doing nothing? I sidelined my jokes and muddled through as best I could. When it came time for Q&A, I casually slipped out of the room for a moment to speak with the teacher who organized the event. I asked if she thought these were the best examples for her very malleable-minded students. Her response was pretty much “They were all I could get. No one else could get out of work.”
Adapt or die, I guess. I think it’s time to quell Career Day.