Ten Dream Jobs For Me

When I first became unemployed my initial thought was that I would probably never work again. PhDs are notoriously cumbersome items to have on a CV, add a history of chronic fatigue and you’ve got potential employers running away screaming. Plus all those conventional book-based options, like book reviewer or writer are so incredibly hard to get into nowadays, it seems barely worth trying. But in the spirit of never say die, I thought that the way to get employed in this brave new world is to offer people services they didn’t even know they wanted! Bearing that in mind, here is a list of jobs for which I would be eminently qualified….

 

1. There was an article online that I noticed a few months back about a London-based service that advised people what to read next. I kid you not! Clients proffered a list of books they’d read and enjoyed and the ‘experts’ suggested ways they could expand and develop their reading. I thought: I could do that. What a cushy way to earn a living! I’d throw in a tarot card reading and some vitamin advice for free, too.

2. Mister Litlove’s instant suggestion was that I run a pre-dinner party briefing service. Invited to a culturally taxing dinner party, and expected to have opinions on the ‘in’ books of the moment? I could advise anxious guests on what to say.

3. Book therapy. This has worked so well for me these past few weeks, I would happily share my knowledge with other suffering souls. There are fine distinctions to be made, after all, between the kind of reading that soothes a cold and the kind that can be borne with the ‘flu. And you’d need different books to read if you were divorcing than if you were moving house, or having your in-laws to stay, etc.

4. Buying entire libraries for millionaires. I’ve heard of this happening! Super rich people buy huge houses and have nothing to put in a library and no time to undertake the vast amounts of shopping required. Oh you could leave it all to me and I would be delighted to fill the acreage of shelves. I’d even read the books that need to have their pages cut so it appears their owners have read them.

5. I take a particular delight in reviewing books for authors I know, as it’s a speciality of mine to put my finger on what it is they are really trying to do or say. So I would happily work with authors in the broader category of a thematic editor, helping them to see what their real issues and preoccupations are. No more need for unconscious genius!

6. There have been so many scandals in the papers lately about authors writing their own reviews on amazon and dissing books by others. For a small consideration I would be very happy to write meaningful reviews for authors, only I would have to actually like the book and I’m not about to write bad reviews for competitors, either. But still. I’d write them for publishers’ sites, too, for all those poor, lonely midlist novels that never get much publicity or attention.

7. Don’t have time to read bedtime stories to your children? Oh how I loved doing that! Given I read Harry Potter 1-5 over the course of one summer to my son, I have tremendous stamina for this sort of work.

8. Personal shopper in a bookstore. Why don’t these exist already? Particularly at Christmas and in the run-up to the summer holidays. No matter how awkward or curmudgeonly the relative, I’m sure I could find suitable reading matter. And I could tailor holiday reading to fit the chosen location.

9. Literary terrorist. This is an offshoot of the personal shopper, only in vigilante mode. The idea would be to patrol the bookstore, taking out of the hands of naïve shoppers books like the ghastly Fifty Shades, or Wayne Rooney’s autobiography and suggesting far more satisfying purchases instead. I could also rearrange piles on tables and shuffle the book bins, so that offensive items like Tony Blair’s memoir or the latest ‘novel’ by Jordan no longer see the light of day.

10. TBR counsellor. This is a special online service I could offer to book bloggers. I’ve noticed how much anguish there is regarding the size, scale and height of the average TBR, which often leads bloggers to despair and embark on desperate culls. As Freud himself might have said, I can’t prevent anyone from being a book hoarder, but I could certainly help others to live happily with the trait.  Feel you’ve bought too many books? Ashamed of the number of trips you make to the library to return unread novels? These and many other bookish problems I am sure I could resolve. ;)

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50 thoughts on “Ten Dream Jobs For Me

  1. I saw that article about the what to read next service as well. I thought I would give it a go, just out of interest, until I saw what they were charging. You could make a fortune doing that. And number 9 made me laugh. I very nearly got thrown out of the Shakespeare Birthplace book shop the other week because I was trying to discourage someone from buying what has to be the worst edition of the Complete Plays ever published. I was suggesting an alternative, but nevertheless they weren’t best pleased.

    • Oh but Alex, that’s an important public service you’re delivering there! And the story made me laugh, too. I would certainly want to be diverted from a poor edition of the Complete Plays, if I were the customer! I agree with you about the charge for that reading service – unbelievable!! Surely no one in their right minds would hand over so much money for something they could do themselves??

  2. Why isn’t 8 a thing? I would be soooooooo good at that. It would probably require a lit Phd and 5 years experience to get into though, considering the current state of UK jobs market (not bitter, just accurate :P). Any kind of summarising service would be in high demand I expect.

    • I don’t know why 8 isn’t a thing already and I entirely see where you are coming from. I did actually consider reading self-published novels and creating a recommendation site, but sigh, I don’t think I have the guts to get through them.

  3. Love, love, love your list! I’d hire you in every one of those capacities if I could – or offer myself as partner in the business!
    I’m particularly interested in n°5 as I could do with an editor of your ilk to advise me. Any way we could work something out??

  4. #9 made me laugh out loud, partly because I’ve done that occasionally & discretely. I think you’re right that a lot of bloggers would benefit from a TBR counselor, starting with me.

    • Ha, I knew the book bloggers were out there, throwing a spanner in the machine of commercialism! That makes me very happy to know. I also know all about mountainous TBR’s so it’s a doctor, heal thyself sort of thing! :)

  5. You would be brilliant at all of the above – and best of all, most of these could be achieved from the comfort of your favourite chair! I do seriously think that a Litlove Literary Consultancy for Thematic Editing is a very marketable proposition.

    • Charlotte, now you see it’s the armchair aspect of most of these that is deeply appealing! It’s quite tempting to help out as a writing coach, only I have no commercial credentials, only academic ones. Ah well, you never know what will happen next!

  6. Those are fantastic jobs! I particularly like the personal shopper, book terrorist and TBR counsellor – they sound like fun and definitely something I’d love to do. Great post. =D

    • Lol! Although, I’m sure my mother would knit us balaclavas if we felt they added to the glamour! I would love us to set up a secret network, can you imagine how amusing that would be? I’ll take Tesco if you do Asda….

  7. I vote for 4! That one sounds the most fun to me, as long as I could keep it going for the rest of my life (tricky I know). I would pick the nicest copies of all the nicest books, and I would arrange them in beautiful organizational patterns.

    • Oh Jenny, you would, you would! I can so imagine you doing that. I loved the sound of number 4. If only more millionaires visited this site! I wonder how one attracts them?

  8. They all sound great! Number 4 would be fantastic. Just to be on the safe side I think you should get paid to read all of them, pages cut or no, just to give them that authentic heavily thumbed look.

    And number 9 made me laugh also. I once turned Tony Blair’s autobiography upside-down on its display – do you think I’ll get put on the terrorist watch-list?

    • I am SO amused by the number of bloggers who are ALREADY undertaking the work of number 9. This just tickles me no end! And wouldn’t no 4 be fantastic? Yes, I thnk I could undertake to read them all, for the right sum, of course. ;)

  9. What a treasure you are Litlove!

    As someone who has been on the lookout for a new job herself and at that a job in a new city and a new country, your list is the perfect antidote for the anxiety-cramps I’ve been having!

    P.S. You should go into business offering the entire repertoire to your would-be clients! ;)

    • Wordsamany, that is clearly the way forward, just stick the whole package out there and see what comes back! My heart goes out to you, in your job search. You are more than welcome to start any of the options above – only you have to promise to tell us all about it, particularly if you join the ranks of the no. 9s….. :)

  10. You would be perfect at any and all of these! I especially like the pre-dinner party briefing service. You yourself may hate to attend such parties but that doesn’t mean you can’t help others be up on important literary topics!

    • That’s it! My goodness me, I remembered it as being expensive, but not quite HOW expensive it is… I love your idea. Only someone has already written the ‘how to talk about books you’ve never read’ book. Hmm, perhaps I should write a guide to figuring out your own reading tastes? ;)

  11. Ha ha! Litlove, you’re going to be a millionaire!

    Although could we all join in with being literary terrorists? You could write a manifesto for us… I might have to employ you as a TBR counsellor, but more to persuade my partner that it’s worth having quite so many books everywhere – I feel certain this is a task to which you’re equal.

    • Helen, given that I have to persuade my partner on a regular basis, I feel perfectly up to that particular challenge! ;) But definitely, we need as many literary terrorists as possible to join the underground resistence movement. Death to all celebrity biographies! :)

  12. Hah–#9 made me chuckle! I’d happily hire you for #2 and #10, and if anyone hires you for #4 or #8 and they find they need another employee or you need an assistant I think I could hit the ground running as they say! I think you could easily set up a stand a la Snoopy/Peanuts’ Lucy and charge for advice! (You’re too nice and give it away for free!).

    • Oh Danielle, I could so use your library-purchasing skills! We would be a formidable team. :) I did laugh when you mentioned Lucy’s booth. I used to adore those cartoons (well, still do). I can just imagine setting up a stall outside my house under the banner ‘The Reader Is IN’.

  13. Numbers 4 and 8! Those are keepers. As for #10…have you been snooping into my library returns again? Is there no privacy left in the world? Anyhooo, great ideas here.

    • Heh. Not to spook you or anything, but I can read the minds of othe readers….. not least because they resemble my own! :) Grad, I promise, if I get any nice unattached millionaires I will also send them your way. You could set up a service – delightful book chat over dinner. What d’you reckon?

  14. Hilarious!
    (and very impressed about Harry Potter)
    I read an interview with a lady who runs book groups for a living. That would be so fun. Not scholarly, just chatting about books and drinking wine all the time. Yes please!

  15. You are great. All of those will be more fun than academia. We can stop worrying about you. I hope just putting them up on the web will bring you some business. And we will all give positive references about how good you are at these things.

  16. I enjoyed this list so much! I would love each of those jobs as well, particularly providing a book recommendation service. The reading to children I get to do as a babysitter =) Also, I (without having previously known it) am in desperate need of a TBR counsellor…

  17. Oh, if you find a way to make any of those dream jobs pay, do let me know. I’m far enough away not to be competition ;-)

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