Unemployed dad’s Weblog

November 3, 2008

4 made up jobs you can tell strangers you do when they ask without lying and not get busted

Poor unemployed dads.  No more pride of profession and telling people you are unemployed just makes them sad for you.  Unemployed dad does not advocate lying.  But this is a tough spot to be in when the question comes up, and you have enough on your plate without adding more unhappiness.

Asking a stranger about their profession is just a sizing up mechanism people use as a rule of thumb to quickly determine if you are better or worse than they are, and who cares what those people think?

Here are four completely made up professions that you are currently employed in, and how to execute them without lying or getting busted.

1.  Your old job:  This one is easy, a great fall back and handy if you ever get caught off guard with the “what do you do” question.  Chances are you have lots of back story to fill in if you are asked more specific job related inquiries.  Another plus is that you technically still “are” your last job, just like an MD who loses his license, a disbarred lawyer,  or non-practicing virgin. 

2.  Management consultant: do you ever get the odd phone call from one of your former co-workers?  Do they talk about work at your previous employer?  Do you offer an opinion on what they talk about?  Then you are a management consultant.  It doesn’t pay anything, but nobody is asking what you make, they ask what you do.  The follow up question here is “What type?” or “What industry?”, use the broad category of your former employer.  For example, if you worked at McDonald’s it becomes “the food industry”, if you worked at Walmart it becomes “supply chain management” and if you worked at a Chevron it becomes “the energy sector”.  If you had a better job than these you don’t need my advice here. 

3.  Freelance writer: do you have a blog, or read a blog?  Do you use email?  That makes you a freelance writer.  When you are a freelance writer, the person asking about your profession will not be satiated with the fact that you are an independant scribe.  They want you to be famous, so they can tell their friends they met a noted author and improve their social standing through association, or really unsuccessful, so they can feel better than you for the same effect.  Tell them web content mostly, and say, “It doesn’t pay a ton but I like it” and start talking about them, they like that.

4.  Personal financial advisor:  being unemployed puts this skill to work everyday, as budgeting is a challenge.  Since you watch a lot of CNBC because you have no job, you should have lots of unqualified opinion, just like the pro’s on TV!  Usually they will something like “What a crazy market these days”, which is always true, or you can say it for them.  Strangers won’t go too deep on this question because of fear they may paint themselves as a potential client, who would trust their money to a complete stranger?

The most important principles to remember are:

  • Be self employed.
  • Be vague and specific.
  • Be honest and bland.
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