Book Review: Nice Job: The Guide to Cool, Odd, Risky, and Gruesome Ways to Make a Living
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books and other resources from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
Nice Job: The Guide to Cool, Odd, Risky, and Gruesome Ways to Make a Living (Lookout Media Series), by Jamie Rosen, Nicholas Corman, Chuck Kapelke, Jake Brooks, Michelle Sullivan, 276 pages, Paperback, Ten Speed Press; ISBN: 1580080332, $14.95.
Reviewed by Katharine Hansen
It’s not surprising to learn that Nice Job was originally conceived as a humor book. The book’s whimsical style has the power to keep a smile on the face of any reader.
But Nice Job is more than amusing. I belong to two online discussion groups for career counselors, and anytime a question is raised about helping a student or client hone in on an unconventional career field, this book is always high atop the list of suggestions.
The authors freely admit that they are not especially trying to steer readers to careers as rodeo clowns, tattoo artists, Zamboni drivers, or sports mascots (some of the many offbeat careers described in the book). “Our mission in writing the book,” they write, “is not to lead you to jobs, but to broaden your perspective, to help you start thinking outside the box, and to inject some creativity and nonconformist thinking into the process of choosing a career path.” In other words, you don’t have to pursue a career related to your college major or to what your parents think you should do. You don’t even have to have a career that everyone has heard of. Nice Job nicely accomplishes the task of opening the reader’s eyes to all sorts of creative possibilities.
The authors are not afraid to be risque, offering a whole chapter on such sex-related careers as stripper, porn star, geisha, erotic screenwriter, romance novelist, and even dominatrix. Other careers, such as executioner and pooper scooper, fall into the category of “dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.” Even so, the authors note that most of the weird-career people they talked to were “unusually happy with their off-beat occupations.”
And while the authors don’t necessarily expect readers to take up these exact careers, they offer enough research so that one could get a leg up on any of the wacky fields described. For each career, the authors have provided a job description, details about compensation, a description of prerequisites, a list of qualities employers in the field are seeking, perks, risks and drawbacks, a detailed overview, and practical information on how you can actually break into the field. The book is liberally sprinkled with cute illustrations and entertaining sidebars, such as the first-person account of a young woman who worked for a sham psychic-reading outfit.
The authors also claim they wrote the book to inject some creativity into the world of career books, with their “earnest and mind-numbingly banal advice.” As an author of several of those books, I snort, “ahem,” but I have to admit that the light and almost silly tone of Nice Job is refreshing.
If you or someone else you know who is about to enter the job market is looking for a creative take on the world of work, you could do a lot worse than Nice Job. It will open your mind and eyes to a whole new world of possibilities — and keep a smile on your face.
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