Driving past a fast-food restaurant today, I spotted a sign out front that said, “FUN JOBS! Apply inside!”
Fun jobs. The sign seemed to contradict something my dad used to say to me at least five times a week when I was a teenager: “If it was fun, they wouldn’t call it work.” His other favorite sayings were, “That bed won’t make itself,” “That lawn won’t mow itself,” “This house won’t paint itself,” and the one we always hated to hear, “That fire you kids set in the garage won’t go out by itself.”
Still, I wonder: What could these “fun jobs” possibly be? Cleaning the restrooms? That’s not much fun. If it was fun, kids would do it at home. If it was fun, the customers would pick up after themselves. Perhaps that’s why so many places have stopped cleaning their restrooms -- it’s just not fun.
It’s, like, a job.
That would also explain why there are no paper towels in the paper towel dispenser, why the place smells of antiseptic spray instead of soap and elbow grease, and why there’s some kind of nasty mold growing under the sink. Cleaning -- it’s just not fun.
What would be a fun job in a fast-food restaurant?
Microwaving the food sounds fun. But after the first four or five hours, I’ll bet teenagers figure out it’s not as much fun as bullying on Facebook while locked in their bedrooms. Cooking food all day long is not as much fun as playing video games all day long, and then ordering a pizza online when you get hungry. If only they would pay us to play video games. That would be a fun job!
There’s not really much of anything in a fast-food restaurant that would qualify as a fun job once you’ve done it a few hundred thousand times. Emptying huge bins of trash, mopping floors, policing the parking lot -- not fun, not fun, not fun.
A fun job would be, say, testing suntan lotion.
Fifty-thousand a year to start, no experience necessary. That’s the kind of place that should have a sign outside that says, “FUN JOBS! Apply inside!”
Being the heiress to a hotel fortune is probably a fun job. No wasting time getting a college degree; no bothering with inconvenient job interviews. Just buy a closet full of $10,000-dresses and you’re in business. The great part is that you pick your own hours and you’re your own boss. Now that’s fun.
The bad news? No paid vacations. Bummer.
Movie stars look like they have lots of fun on the job. Most Hollywood studios could believably post a “FUN JOBS! Apply inside” sign. No one asks movie stars to clean the studio parking lot; someone’s always fussing with their hair and makeup; they get driven to work in a limousine and they get an entire RV for a dressing room. Best of all, the minimum wage for movies stars is a few million dollars a year. And there’s good opportunity for advancement.
Here’s the perfect first, fun job for a young high-school student: cellphone tester. The kids would work on commission. The phone companies would give them a cut of their parents’ bill -- say, 15 percent. So if your phone bill is $100, your high-schooler would only make $15 that month. But if they can drive your bill up to $700 or so, they could make a decent amount of cash.
Some of them might even be able to test two phones at a time. They wouldn’t have to learn how to make change the way they would at that “fun” fast-food job, and they wouldn’t have to wear a uniform, a hairnet or a nametag.
It’d be like hardly working at all. What a fun job!
(Contact Jim Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.)