[This week is Off-Topic Week at TOP. This is just a temporary interlude, not a permanent change of direction. Please join us next Monday morning when we'll resume normal programming. —Ed.]
You might remember a former post about the world's best jobs. According to a report I read once that evaluated jobs by a number of basic parameters, including how many people had the ability to do the same job and work time spent outdoors, the world's best job is left fielder for a professional baseball team. I thought that was greatly eclipsed by Dan Castellaneta, who currently earns $300,000 per episode for providing the voice of Homer Simpson and several other characters on the Fox TV show "The Simpsons." Vanna White, the mostly silent woman who touches the letters on the game show "Wheel of Fortune," ranks way up there too. (Oddly enough, both Castellaneta and White are my age, White to within a few days; maybe I'm just considering my own age group?)
But this ain't a bad gig either—this woman is paid $500,000 a year to be the television spokesperson for Progressive Insurance. She plays a character named "Flo." Her real name is Stephanie Courtney. She's a standup comedian and comic actor.
Now that's "nice work if you can get it," as the old* saying goes.
Actually, these might not be the best jobs, just the easiest ones. But then, I've never done well with the question, "What job would you want if you could have any job you wanted?" I think my true answer would be, the job I have now...but maybe with Flo's salary! :-)
*Depression era, I think. It's a Billie Holiday song, that much I know (written by the Gershwins).
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Featured Comments from:
David Miller: "There's another old song with the line, 'When I'm not near the girl I love, I love the girl I'm near.' With that in mind, most of the 29 different jobs (including three major careers of 10 to 25 years) I've had have been the ones I've wanted most…at the time. Life is too short to spend doing anything else. Bringing enthusiasm to the job is my responsibility and when I can't do the task with my whole heart it's time to move on. (This was a bit of a challenge during the summer I spent cleaning hog barns, but it was only a summer job and I was able to keep the attitude going until going back to school in the fall.) If you're just in it for the money…well look for the best financial return you can get and take pleasure in your bank account. But if you work for the pleasure of the work, you'll be the envy of the world, and you'll know when it's time to move on to something else. (I'm 65. So far it's working for me.)"
Mike replies: Americans know that lyric as "When you can't be / With the one you love / Love the one you're with," from the song "Love the One You're With" from Stephen Stills' eponymous 1970 album.
And more to the point, what you're describing about jobs takes a lot of courage, and, I would imagine, a fair amount of ability (ability, because otherwise people just wash up on the rocks of unemployment, a fearsome place where I've spent too much time). It's not something everyone can manage, so you should be proud of yourself that you were able to accomplish it.
Chris Pisarra: "The best job in the world is lead driver for the Ferrari F1 team."
Rod Graham: "In defense of 'Flo,' maybe her job looks easy because she's good at it? Full disclosure: I'm kind of smitten by her. Lol. But I think there's a kernel of truth in there."
Mike replies: Are you smitten by the character, or the actress? In other instances, I keep getting smitten by characters. Currently I'm smitten with the woman in the recent "Chevy Connected" commercial. That actress plays that part to perfection, even in the space of a few brief shots.
Kenneth Tanaka: "Of course there is no such thing as 'The World's Best Job.' There is only 'YOUR World's Best Job,' defined loosely as something you absolutely love and live to do every day.
"Yes, money can be a distracting factor on both sides. Being richly rewarded to do something that's killing you is no good; I have known my share of these folks. But nor is being impoverished by work you love. I've known some of these, too. Surveys suggest that sweet spots are rare. I am certain that you have more than a few readers who sit at their office computers each day occasionally fantasizing about writing TOP for a living."
Mike replies: And I try to feel grateful every day that I get to do that, my recent difficulties aside.
Tim Fitzwater (partial comment): "Easy jobs are far too boring for me."
Bob Burnett: "But...as actor/writer friends have told me, Stephanie gets $500,000 a year to be Flo—now. Her bio says she's been an actor since 1992. She's been a secretary, caterer, etc. over the years while honing her craft, going to auditions and all the challenges a $10,000-a-year lifestyle that brings. It is nice work if you can get it but it's also only fair to take into account the many, many lean years most actors-writers go through to get to the 'Flo moment' that few get."
Mike replies: True dat. Could be said of many successful photographers, too. Oops—gotta stay off-topic.