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ricketybridge
02-03-2010, 09:21 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm trying to find an office job that is off the beaten path, but still soul-sucking and cutthroat in that inimitable corporate way. Something like George Clooney's character's job in Up in the Air (firing people), or Ed Norton's character's job in Fight Club (assessing car accidents).

A weird nook of a job within a run-of-the-mill industry (finance, health, marketing) would be ideal, as opposed to just being in a weird industry (chicken farming, toilet paper).

Looking forward to hearing your ideas!! Thanks!! :)

threedogpeople
02-03-2010, 12:23 PM
I saw a short on TV about a lady in Silicon Valley whose job title was "Office Mom". If I recall correctly, her duties included bringing in home made cookies, baking cakes for everyone's birthday, planning parties, bringing you chicken soup at home if you were sick, etc.

Something more cut throat would be a divestiture specialist. They go into companies and take them apart before the parent company gets rid of them. They do things like valuations of the property, decide if anyone is worth keeping at the parent company, sell off the assets, etc.

RobinGBrown
02-03-2010, 12:40 PM
In Soviet Russia 'office mom' would be a good metaphor for 'political officer'.

To the OP - travelling salesman? Did you want a job that gets you out of the office like the two you mentioned?

Ms Hollands
02-03-2010, 02:47 PM
Something maybe a bit boring, but possible to liven up with a good character and/or situations, would be the person from the real estate office who goes around checking newly-vacated rental properties to check they're in good condition before giving the bond back to the last renter.

Bing Z
02-03-2010, 02:51 PM
Some ideas here... but who is it for? Answers may be very different.

- Someone hired to write the corporation's Facebook/twitter pages.

- Lee Iacocca once mentioned they had a guy at Chrysler doing nothing all day but to think where they could save some bucks.

- Restaurants or banks that have many branches/outlets may hire undercover inspectors posing as customers to check on standards or efficiencies.

johnnysannie
02-03-2010, 04:05 PM
Some big retail chains hire people to pose as customers, to come into the stores and be difficult as a "test" for employees. If the employees fail to offer kind, prompt service, then the results are revealed.

I always thought it would be rather fun as a job - go around, be an a-hole, and get paid for it!

RJK
02-03-2010, 04:51 PM
EVERY job is cutthroat. I talked to a guy whose job was garbage collector. He was worried about pissing off his boss, because he didn't want to lose his preferential position. It seems he worked a truck where you load the garbage from the side, rather than the back. Somehow, this was much better. If he fell from grace with his boss, he'd end up on a back loading truck.
I just stared at him in disbelief.

dirtsider
02-03-2010, 05:14 PM
There's a book out there called "Odd Jobs" which is about just that - odd jobs.

BillPatt
02-04-2010, 12:20 AM
One of the weirder jobs I had to do was a condition inspection of some underground rail tunnels. We couldn't start until midnight, because of all the trains. We'd get all filthy doing this inspection, then have to go to shirt-and-tie land and write up the inspection. Man, the hateful looks.....

Maryn
02-04-2010, 01:10 AM
Writing the newsletter for a huge company doing layoffs--an acquaintance used to do that. Had to be chirpy and upbeat.

Being the English-to-English translator for communicating between engineers and non-engineers, rewriting every memo, letter, instruction, etc. so non-engineers can understand it.

Support staff for someone who does not have enough to do and therefore doesn't give you enough to do--but won't allow you to surf the internet, read, or write lest someone see you, realize he's not necessary, and fire the both of you.

Maryn, glad not to have any of those jobs

Canotila
02-04-2010, 01:14 AM
I got a weird letter today from some company. Apparently my medical insurance company decided my medical bills were too high, so they hired some cost containment people to write me a letter asking if my medical expenses are part of an accident or if there is a third party at fault who they can get lawyers to hunt down and sue. That would be a strange job.

DeleyanLee
02-04-2010, 01:25 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm trying to find an office job that is off the beaten path, but still soul-sucking and cutthroat in that inimitable corporate way. Something like George Clooney's character's job in Up in the Air (firing people), or Ed Norton's character's job in Fight Club (assessing car accidents).

A weird nook of a job within a run-of-the-mill industry (finance, health, marketing) would be ideal, as opposed to just being in a weird industry (chicken farming, toilet paper).

Looking forward to hearing your ideas!! Thanks!! :)

I once worked for a small-press publisher that made the majority of its money pushing the founder's self-help classes. The place pretty much just published his self-help text books.

After about a month working with the guy, I had all the pieces to convince me he was nothing but scum-sucking asshat--who was still within the law, mind you--but was still slimey and disgusting and a vampire in many senses of the word.

However, he also paid really really really well.

I was in charge of his international representatives (14 other countries, IIRC), setting up classes for him to go there, selling them manuals, whatever.

It was an interesting experience. I finally walked off the job because of ulcers and road rage (I nearly ran a family off the road at one point).

Fran
02-04-2010, 01:53 AM
A friend of mine had an office job that involved repatriating people who had died on holiday. There was a LOT of arguing with officials/foreign hospitals/airlines etc, veering between gentle negotiation and outright threatening behaviour. :)

CEtchison
02-04-2010, 04:04 AM
I'm not sure if this would qualify as an office job, but once, many years ago when I was temping at an international engineering firm, they brought in a man to handle threats. Someone had been fired from the company and they thought he might make good on the whole "going postal" scenario.

So a gentleman was relocated to our office and spent his days sitting in the lobby, dressed in suit and tie, reading a paper and watching the main door into the executive offices lobby. All the while he had one of those shiny silver briefcases with who knows what the hell was in it. He also had a shoulder holster and some hardware strapped around his ankle. The only reason they informed me about this was because I was temping for the receptionist and was the only person who was a sitting duck since entrance into the offices required guests to be buzzed through or employees to use the security pad.

Anywho, this man was employed by the company and this was somewhat unusual for him to be positioned at their office in the U.S. He spent most of his time in South America.

Dawnny Baby
02-04-2010, 04:31 AM
I'm trying to find an office job that is off the beaten path, but still soul-sucking and cutthroat in that inimitable corporate way... A weird nook of a job within a run-of-the-mill industry (finance, health, marketing) would be ideal, as opposed to just being in a weird industry (chicken farming, toilet paper).
Did you ever see the movie "Office Space" ? Remember the Bobs? The two consultants (both named Bob) who did the job analysis for each person and position at Initech for the purpose of corporate downsizing and process streamlining? Well, my husband did a job similar to that for a while. He hated going into these companies, not being with familiar faces on a day-to-day basis, and not always being able to give the corporate guys (who'd hired him) the answers they wanted to hear.

ChristineR
02-04-2010, 05:18 AM
I got a weird letter today from some company. Apparently my medical insurance company decided my medical bills were too high, so they hired some cost containment people to write me a letter asking if my medical expenses are part of an accident or if there is a third party at fault who they can get lawyers to hunt down and sue. That would be a strange job.

I got one of those. The weird thing is that they apparently outsourced it, because both my name and address were spelled wrong and everything I normally got from them was spelled correctly. I checked a NO box and sent it back.

It was because my diagnosis was "other consequences of trauma." That wasn't my real diagnosis obviously, that was just the insurance code that went with my real problem.

ricketybridge
02-04-2010, 09:44 AM
Oh man, guys, thanks so much for all the ideas! This sends me into some awesome directions! :D

DrZoidberg
02-04-2010, 12:21 PM
The sales department are full of weird jobs. One guy in our office spent two years trying to sell something nobody wanted. It was some convoluted product I never fully understood. He believed in his thing a lot. Over time he became quite eccentric. Salesmen, usually are to begin with. My company eventually axed this product, and he went to a competitor and did the same thing again.

Linda Adams
02-04-2010, 03:48 PM
Weird jobs:

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2009/09/11/oddest-jobs-from-gross-to-weird/

And years ago, I read about a Japanese company that provided stand ins (i.e., you don't want only two people showing up for the bride's side in a wedding, as happened to a friend of mine), so you hire people to come fill the spaces. Can you imagine someone sole purpose is to be a strap hanger at a meeting to make it look like the boss knows what he's doing?

And one of my temp jobs was working in a mail order house where they got those prize submissions--the ones like PCH, where you have to glue this and stick that. All we did: Empty the envelopes and look for checks. Everything else went into the garbage. I think I lasted about a day--wasn't fast enough.

By the way, you may want to read The Science of Sales. There's some examples of sales methods that could possibly be twisted into something weird. Like a bookstore that marketed to different audiences during the day, so someone had to pull the books three times a day every day.

Carole
02-04-2010, 06:45 PM
In my last job, my title may as well have been "Everything Else". I was basically responsible for making sure my boss didn't look like an idiot, although she still managed against my best efforts. I proofread and rewrote her emails, contracts and memos (but she usually changed them back to being barely readable). I accompanied her on personal errands so she wouldn't get lost. I brought extra lunch nearly every day because she always forgot hers. I filled out her forms for renewing her passport, took her to pay her personal taxes, filled out the forms for her husband to incorporate his business and told her almost daily, "No. I do not have to give you one of my cigarettes just because you are my boss. You quit smoking, so if you want one you need to buy your own."

Then again, this might just be nothing more than adult babysitting.

BillPatt
02-04-2010, 08:39 PM
Like the wedding stand-ins that Linda Adams mentioned, there are groups that will come to a funeral and mourn with you. I mean, a wedding stand in sounds not so bad....but a funeral? Ugh!

PeterL
02-04-2010, 10:27 PM
In my last job, my title may as well have been "Everything Else". I was basically responsible for making sure my boss didn't look like an idiot, although she still managed against my best efforts. I proofread and rewrote her emails, contracts and memos (but she usually changed them back to being barely readable). I accompanied her on personal errands so she wouldn't get lost. I brought extra lunch nearly every day because she always forgot hers. I filled out her forms for renewing her passport, took her to pay her personal taxes, filled out the forms for her husband to incorporate his business and told her almost daily, "No. I do not have to give you one of my cigarettes just because you are my boss. You quit smoking, so if you want one you need to buy your own."

Then again, this might just be nothing more than adult babysitting.

At least you didn't have to change diapers.

kuwisdelu
02-05-2010, 02:35 AM
I've always wanted to be the guy who came up with the fortunes for fortune cookies...

Or named the different crayon colors.

Oh well.