As I flew home the other day, I was listening to the man across the aisle discussing his job with his seatmate. He was a pilot, one of eight who worked for some superrich, carefully unnamed Canadian oilman. He ferried the man and his business associates all over the world (“I’m still on Beijing time,” he said. “Once when we were in Switzerland,” he said). That night he was on his way to pick up a brand new plane for his boss. He’d give it a spin, kick the tires, and then fly it to Delaware or Kansas, whichever was more financially expedient, so his boss could complete the transaction.
I just sat there and thought Is this guy for real? People actually live this way? This is a job? I knew the answers were “maybe,” “yes,” and “most certainly,” but I still marveled.
Back when I used to read the New York Times wedding announcements religiously, my favorite part (except for spotting people I knew, including, once, an ex) was reading about people’s jobs. Tons of lawyers and doctors and Wall Street types, of course. But every once in awhile one of the JDs or MDs marries a dolphin trainer or a waste-water engineer or a professional BMX biker. And I’d remember there are a lot of ways to make a living (or at least a few bucks).
What’s the weirdest job you ever had, or heard of?