Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Ooof this is a tough prompt!
I enjoy reading about people with other jobs and professions, but a lot of the ones I enjoy reading about I would not like to do. Like be a ruler/royalty—no thank you. Think of Princess Anna’s breakdown in Roman Holiday. That would be me. Too much peopling, too much structure and decorum, and no freedom. Pass.
And perhaps I’m overthinking this, but a lot of these worlds are scary as fuck and a lot of the main characters get into horrible scrapes or the secondary/tertiary/background characters drop like flies and no thank you. I want to live in a world where I have a decent-ish chance of survival and a higher than average shot at mundanity. Plus a world with modern plumbing and hygiene standards. I want to live in boring times, please! (Don’t we all).
So anyhow. Here are a couple jobs I’d love to try!
Jobs I’d Like to Do
Magical librarians! Yes, I absolutely want to be a librarian (or library assistant) in a magical library filled with dangerous things in the collection. How fascinating would that be? Magic and caution and forbidden knowledge, all there to be protected and catalogued and pulled for academics and occasionally you get to use a sword. Also, I love the pack horse librarians—and the concept of mobile libraries—and the Pack Horse Librarian program of the 1930s was just fascinating and such a great program. We really need to bring back bookmobiles (they are kiiiinda coming back with mobile hotspots and pop-up libraries, but really need to be brought back on a larger scale).
One caveat: I don’t want to be a librarian in a contemporary book, mainly because the majority of those librarians are depicted completely unrealistically by people with a stereotypical and vague understanding of the job. It’s not all story times with children and you’re probably not going to be cozily reading a book all day. There is planning and programming and committees and computer assistance, and a whole lot more people than you’d expect—and a whole lot less children than you’d expect as well if you’re not a youth services or school librarian.
While the prospect of riding through all sorts of shit weather doesn’t excite me (and neither does the prospect of being shot at on the regular), I do like the idea of being a courier. Long rides, lots of alone time, just you and a horse…yeah that works for me. Of course, I’m talking about being a boring courier, not one as danger-prone as Kerrigan or any of the main character Heralds of Valdemar. Just your average, bumpin-along, doing-my-duty Green Rider or Herald with absolutely no excitement, thank you.
I love seeing how things knit together, and looking at everything from a systemic viewpoint. The logistics and machinations fascinate me, and who gets to do all that? Not necessarily the main character, but the people behind the scenes doing the work so the main character can do the heroing—or work or romancing or whatever the hero is going to do. I would love to have either Shaan or Zahra’s jobs, as annoying as it would be to manage either Alex or Henry, it would be so interesting to be an aide to the president (Democrat only though). And being an assistant for a hotshot producer would be cool too. Or being an assistant to a regent or admiral or prime minister, like Jole. These folks are helping do the heroing from the background, filled with competence and quiet initiative, and I love it.
The weird nostalgia for a time that never was, perhaps? I have a lot of friends who are in college, and I just kind of want to go back to that time with the knowledge that I have now—and the knowledge that while college sucked massive balls, it was actually a pretty good gig. And being an anonymous and famous fan fiction writer sounds so awesome—because all the feels and people who love your writing and working in a known world and…okay I just love fan fiction. Also, I wouldn’t mind being a college student like Aly was in the beginning of Trickster’s Choice because I would love to live in Tortall but I do not want to be a hero. However, I need to stress that while I don’t mind being a magical student, I would prefer to have general run-of-the-mill powers and decidedly not be The Chosen One or friends with The Chosen One or be a student in anything like the Scholomance.
Not a religious human monk. A fucking mouse monk or whatever friendly animal is in Redwall. Because despite the inherent dangers lurking all around, being a monk at Redwall sounds like a pretty damn cushy gig if you’re not one of the heroes. Think about it—yes, the abbey is continuously beset by scary rodents bent on stealing its resources, but on the many frequent periods of peace you’d spend your days lolling about under the summer sun, gardening and eating mountains of delicious fucking food. You never have to worry about what to wear, because you wear the same habit every day, and the hygiene is pretty on point because they have running water and shit, and you never have to worry about starving because of all the damn food. Plus it’s an abbey so there are a lot of books, and it’s a non-religious abbey so there are lots of non-religious books. Sounds like a damn good job to me.
Jobs I Would Not Touch With a Ten Foot Pole
Once upon a time, I spent seven years of my life as an officer in the Marine Corps. While I do not regret it, I would not do it again. My back and my body are done. So all of the marching and shit and nonsense of military life is a definite hard pass. Not to mention all of the space military crap of these worlds, with space armor that can decompress and amputate limbs and kill you just as easily as the enemy, and weird magic stuff if you’re in a fantasy world. And, of course, if you’re a soldier in a YA novel, not only do you have to worry about your body literally breaking down on you because that’s what happens when you lead a soldier’s life, but you’re going to be led by a seventeen year-old captain and there will be no adults around beyond the general who is that captain’s parent, and no fucking thank you.
This should be a given, right?
Do not mess with the dead, because when you do, scary shit will come after you and then you’ll either be seriously fucked (Gideon and Harrow), fucking overworked (Sabriel) or fucking every male thing in sight (here’s looking at you, Anita Blake). Just do not become a necromancer, okay? And if you need even more warning, watch Pushing Daisies. Beneath the cuteness is a whole bunch of horror. Hard pass.
Whether a soldier, scientist, historian, multiverse scavenger or accidental time traveler, I want none of it. The potential for bad shit is just too high. Either you accidentally fuck something up and erase your future, or you get stuck in the past or wherever you’ve landed (and someone thinks you’re someone you’re not) and no thank you. Not even a hunky Highlander could temp me to go back. I like modern plumbing and hygiene way too much. Plus I’m just not that good at lying, and it takes a lot of lying to be good time traveler.
Either your’e a pawn for capitalist greed or you’re dead after being a pawn for capitalist greed. Either way, it’s a life filled with claustrophobic spaces, alien artifacts and beings, poor ventilation, bland food, dangerously unregulated work conditions, a fuckton of dust, and on top of all that you’re literally just a number in the system. You work in terrible, back-breaking conditions in corporate slavery, and there is literally no way out. No one cares and there will be no change. Fuck that noise.
On the opposite end of eventual death through passive corporate neglect is royalty, where people are actively trying to kill you, either because they don’t like how you rule, or they want to install someone else on the throne, or they want to destabilize your government or they are a witch who just wants to fuck shit up. And, if you are royalty in a YA book, then you are doubly fucked because not only do you not have any clue what you are doing (but you think you’re definitely the right person to run the job based on your bloodline), but you will also have to contend with the triple whammy of revolution, raging hormonal insta-love and bafflingly incoherent worldbuilding. Not only do I not want someone trying to murder me because of how I was born, but I don’t want to be controlled by my raging hormonal genitalia.
Party princess is literally royalty with none of the perks. You’re living right below the poverty line. Work is chaotic and always on a weekend. The clothing is uncomfortable and hot. You’re subjected to impossible beauty standards. The potential for heat stroke is really high, depending on where you live and work, because #capitalism, and even worse there are going to be a bajillion screaming, grubby children running around trying to touch you at all times, and leering dads and older gentlemen and their gross commentary. But I suppose the one perk is that no one is actively trying to kill you? Unless you’re a Fantasist and then welp you have no agency because technically you’re not a person.