Are you embarrassed when people ask you what you do for a living? Are you bored with your present line of work? Are you still in school, unsure about what you want to do with the rest of your life?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, read on. Below you’ll find brief profiles of ten jobs and profession you’ve probably never considered.
Is parliamentarian just another fancy word for legislator? Not quite. The present squad of 800 American parliamentarians are our white-collar umpires. These intelligent, good humored fellows are hired by societies, organizations, clubs, schools, political parties and labor unions for $70-$80 per day to superintend their meetings, convocations and conventions. Parliamentarians inform and advise conventioneers of their rights under parliamentary law. They also serve as the final judge in any dispute over a point of order. Requirements for this obscure, but highly interesting job include a thorough knowledge of parliamentary procedures, self-control (in other words, you can’t fall asleep), an open mind, and a good sense of humor. For more information write The American Institute of Parliamentarians, 4453 Beacon Street, Chicago, IL 60640.
In ancient Greece, auctioneers sold women of marriageable age to the highest bidder among a particular town’s eligible young men. Today’s auctioneers no longer traffic in human cargo; however, they handle just about everything else: art, antique cars, jewelry, cattle, fruits and vegetables, you name it. Veteran auctioneers say that their job requires an interest in merchandising and, in the words of one, “the lung power of a long distance runner, clear diction, fast reflexes — and a pair of eyes that swivel directly from left to right while watching the bidders.” People seriously interested in auctioneering should enroll in one of the country’s 10 auction schools or hire on as an auctioneer’s assistant. The outlook for the profession is good.
3. Diamond Cutter
The greatest challenge for the master diamond setter is when he is given an irregularly shaped diamond to “cleave.” First he scratches a painstakingly calibrated little groove into the diamond. Then he places a “knife, “or square-edged blade, into it, and hits it carefully and forcefully with a mallet, smashing the diamond into so many beautiful little pieces. Neophytes generally enter the, diamond cutting business, or gemology, by references, apprenticing them selves to a master cutter before trying to make it on their own. Pay for the better cutters runs to $10/hr. and more. The best cities to look for work are Antwerp, Tel Aviv, and New York.
4. Piano Tuner
If you love pianos, but can’t quite cut it as a pianist, then you may do well to try piano tuning. It’s probably more interesting — and more difficult — than you think. There are about 3,000 full-time piano tuners scattered around the country, earning $7 — $20,000/yr. Piano tuners and servicemen generally learn their job through dealers and repair shops who hire beginners to do general clean up work, help servicemen, move and install instruments, and perform other routine tasks. One local piano tuner who takes on students is Detrick Kalman, 1656 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx (892-3966).
5. Medical Illustrator
Medical illustrators do more than illustrate textbooks. They also make films, television programs, 3-dimensional models and exhibits and, on occasion, artificial noses and ears. They are employed by medical centers, biological laboratories, medical colleges, authors, publishers, and pharmaceutical companies. These highly-skilled, highly-respected professionals earn anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 a year, sometimes more. For more information about this little-known, but highly rewarding profession write The Corresponding Secretary, Association of Medical Illustrators, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, 30902.
The holdings of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. where millions of ‘visitors come each year to see original copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence on display, amount to some 900,000 cubic feet of records, including 1.5 million maps, nearly 200,000 rolls of microfilm, and 34,000 sound recordings. Overseeing the collection, maintenance, and use of all this stuff is the National Archivist and his or her fellow archivists: in a sense, they are responsible for editing the nation’s history. Work is available for archivists at dozens of state museums and individuals family libraries (e.g. Kennedy Library) which also maintain their own sets of archives. To enter this growing profession you generally need a degree (s) in history and/or library science.
7. Landscape Architect
Landscape architects plan, design and supervise the arrangement of outdoor areas. Their projects include beaches, botanical gardens, cam- puses, cemeteries, country clubs, highway, hospitals, parks, parkways, recreational areas, resorts and shopping centers. They are employed by architectural and engineering firms, landscape contractors, city planning and urban renewal offices and universities. Prerequisites: a B.A. in landscape architecture, an interest in art and nature, imagination, a good sense of design, an understanding of plants and an ability to get along with people — especially finicky people. Training in the field. Classy job. Well-paying, too.
The U.S. Forest Service has a crack squad of 450 airborne firemen, known as smoke-jumpers. Like his urban counterpart, the smokejumper, stationed at one of the country’s regional fire control camps, is ready at a moment’s notice. Once a fire is spotted, the smokejumper pulls on his jump suit, fastens his wire-masked helmet, clips on his parachute, dashes to a waiting airplane, takes off, and, when he is over the conflagration — jumps. Then he goes to work, containing the advancing flames as best he can. For this he is paid $3.50/hr. One can learn the necessary skills for smokejumping — parachute jumping, first aid, fire control equipment use, et al. — at the Forest Service’s 4-week course in fire control. Write: The Director, Division of Fire Control, Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. And don’t tell your mother.
Like languages — but don’t want to be a language teacher? Consider interpreting. There are an estimated 200 full-time. interpreters currently employed in the U.S., most of whom either work for that latter-day Tower of Babel, the United Nations, or the State Department. Two schools in the country currently offer professional training in interpreting: the Georgetown University School of Language and Linguistics in Washington, D.C. and the Institute of Foreign Studies in Monterrey, California, which offers a 2-year program leading to a Master’s degree in Language and International Studies and a certificate from the State Department’s Dept. of Translation and Interpretation. Who knows? Maybe Kissinger will take you along on his next trip to Africa.
Taxidermy is defined as “the art of collecting, melting, and preserving birds, animals, game heads, fishes and reptiles as they appeared in life.’” Professional taxidermists are employed by individuals, private companies, schools, and museums. The best known American school currently offering courses in taxidermy is the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Taxidermy can also be learned through the mail. The Northwestern School of Taxidermy, 1202 Harney Street, Omaha, Nebraska, a correspondence school, is the largest and best known school of its kind. Here’s a good way to learn what stuff you’re made of.