Friday, May 12, 2006

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Before I decided I wanted to be an actuary, I considered several other occupations: accountant, engineer, and math teacher, to name a few.

I have a certain ability in math so I thought of these as logical possibilities. There have only been two other occupations I have ever seriously thought about. These jobs have little to do with math, and I don’t think I have any special talents or skills that would help me. The reason I have thought about them is only that I think that many of the people who are now doing these jobs are doing an extremely bad job.
One of these occupations in politician. I have already revealed my secret plan to go into politics when I retire.
The other occupation is whoever it is that decides how traffic lights work.
I have seen some stupid stoplights in my life. I think everyone has. In many cases, I think it’s just a matter of programming the dang things to work different. For example, I’ve seen stoplights where the default signal for all directions is red. This might be good in theory, allowing the light to turn green quickly when it senses a car coming from any direction, but I’ve seen it work very poorly in practice (turning red again too soon and making all the cars behind the first car wait). In this type of case, as with many others, I think it would just take a simple tweak of whatever “operating program” the light has been set with.
Sometimes I get more ambitious and think I want to be head of the transit authority, or road commission, or whatever. Some roads are designed pretty stupidly. For example, at many intersections in Michigan, you are not allowed to turn left. If (unlucky you) you have to turn left, then you either have to turn right then make a U-turn, or go straight, make a U-turn, then turn right (depending on posted signs). There has to be a better way. There are of course other examples of bad road design that I could name, but we would get bored if I did. In other words: there are a lot.
There you have it. For some reason this stuff seems to drive me crazy more than even bad drivers.
Does anyone else have pet career ambitions that will never happen but are fun to think about?


Nick said...

One of the teachers in our quorum has the lifelong ambition to be the guy that glues the braille signs on the windows of the drive-thrus at banks.

I didn't get why that was so funny until Jenny pointed it out to me.

erin said...

There are a few jobs I have always held near and dear. I have always wanted to be the tambourine player in a band--ever since watching The Monkees as a kid. I wanted to be Davy Jones.

I also had a hankering as a kid to be in the FBI...or the Mafia. I can't even kill rodents, so I don't know how far I would have made it there.

As far as politics, I have always had a corner of me want to be president--an honest president who would tell you what was what and who would write their own speeches. For this reason (I'm not kidding on this) I have always kept my slate clean. Honestly, sometimes when I'm trying to make a decision, I think, when the media is looking for something to complain about when I'm running for president, how will this look on my record? How's that for a confession?

Of course my burning desire has been to be a pumpkin farmer and I see no reason to let go of that one. I'll let the mafia one slide, though.

erin said...

On the side of being a pumpkin farmer, though, I've always wanted to have my own cooking show. Never mind that every episode would be how to make bread. I was hoping to have Bob as my camera man and Ron Crummet as my co-host, but those plans may have to change.

Nick said...

I've always thought about running for the house or senate. I don't think I'd ever try for president- I'm not photogenic enough and I'm always sticking my foot in my mouth, but there are plenty of members of congress that have problems with both and they are still there.
As some may know, my office is right next to John swallow's office(remember he ran twice for congress in utah in 2002 and 2004?)- in fact, both our offices have no ceilings, and the walls are thin, so I hear everything he says on the phone. It was really interesting to hear him talk when he was campaigning, and then during the aftermath- he's just this normal guy, ambitious, but still just your average guy with a law degree. Whenever he talked strategy on the phone I just wanted to yell over at him telling him to do this or that, or stop doing this or that, and then listening to him on the phone after he lost trying to explain to everyone how he should have won but his campaign was torpedoed by other republicans or by slander from the other side. Lots of excuses. I could have just told him early on that he was just way to stiff and seemed like a yes-man and that was why nobody voted for him.

Anyway, that just taught me that even though we all joke about going into politics later, we really could if we want to because I've learned firsthand that there's nothing really special about those people that would prevent us from doing it too.

erin said...

In a way that's scary and in a way that's inspiring. What would it take to get you into politics, Nick? What you say makes a lot of sense when I look at who IS in politics (or who are? Jenny?).

JonnyF said...

Some slightly less serious things I've contemplated as occupations:
1) The side-car guy in a motorcycle duo. I don't know exactly what kind of duo, possibly crimefighting. I guess that would put me roughly on par with Robin. This appeals to me because no one would expect much from the side-car guy, then I could surprise everybody. This concept is well illustrated in that one Wallace & Grommit where the sidecar detaches and then converts into an airplane with a porridge gun.
I guess the idea of being any kind of side-kick appeals to me, not a useless sidekick, rather one who plays a vital put perhaps behind-the-scenes role. Good examples of that would be the cat from Hong Kong Phooey or Brain from Inspector Gadget.
2)I sort of want to open a hat shop someday. I would call it "Jon's Fine Head-wares" or something like that. I would every kind of had or headwear except wigs. I have often found it frustrating to try to find a hat I want to wear. I often just end up getting a cheap, solid color baseball cap without a logo because I dislike that less than the other choices. Thus, I think there may be an underserved market: hat lovers.