Here’s a little secret: I have no marketable skills. Sure, I may cover it up by listing lots of assets on my LinkedIn profile and making sure they’re endorsed by highly skilled professionals (read: my mom), but in truth, I am as useless as a newborn babe. With senior year looming, the pressure is on to find meaningful jobs and internships, but my utter ineptitude poses a challenge; even as I write this article, I am avoiding learning to use Final Cut Pro, the software mandated by my study abroad film program. For some reason, I volunteered to edit my group’s short film despite the fact that I’ve only used iMovie. I often wish I could find jobs tailored to my limited set of niche abilities. Here’s what some of them might look like.
1. Sleep research subject
I know most college students can relate to having a horrendous sleep schedule, but how many of you have thought to monetize it? My sleep habits have given me endless grief, from the years I endured my dad emailing me articles about the importance of getting enough rest to the fact that I accidentally overslept and shamefully missed waking up my fellowees last Founder’s Day. I’m certain there’s a scientist out there who would be interested in studying my circadian rhythm, which at this point is likely so far gone that it’s unrecognizable as belonging to a human rather than to, say, a raccoon or a vampire bat. Maybe if they ran enough tests, they could even figure out where all my energy has gone. In high school, I routinely pulled all-nighters and then stayed up all of the next day without so much as a sip of coffee. Compare that to the incident last semester in which I chugged a latte at midnight and then immediately fell asleep. On the subject of caffeine, there’s potential for further research into my hypothesis that upwards of 90 percent of my personality exists solely because of coffee.
2. Recorder player for hire
It’s typical that I managed to pick up the least marketable instrument in the world, with the possible exceptions of theorbo, triangle and zeusa-phone. I do love playing recorder both at home and in Camerata, and I’ll defend it to my dying breath, but sometimes I feel a bit ridiculous jamming out on an instrument that’s typically relegated to third-grade classrooms. One year, I even went to recorder camp, where I met a certified Recorder Asshole (he would gesture his recorder at me rudely when I failed to come in properly during ensemble rehearsals) and a girl who had her recorder specially altered because she’s missing a finger. Sadly, recorder is not the instrument people want to accompany them as they walk down the aisle, and orchestras only want flute, so the monetary return on investment for my years of recorder lessons has been pitiful. Someday, I hope to live in a world where recorder tunes from the Baroque period are the hot club jam, but until then, I’m stuck with my undesirable instrument.
3. Personal shopper/stylist
I hate spending money, but I’m an expert at helping others spend it. When I visited a friend in Stockholm over break, I forced him to go to H&M and spend almost two hours trying on everything in the store, eventually causing him to enter existential crisis mode when he couldn’t decide between maroon skinny jeans and a floral mesh shirt. This semester, I also helped dye a friend’s hair purple and then flat ironed it. Add that to my experience creating runway makeup looks for the tween girls I babysit, and I’m basically a beauty guru.
4. Unlicensed medical advisor
As a hypochondriac, I’m the perfect candidate for this job. Currently, I’m suffering from upwards of four self-diagnosed illnesses, including Lyme disease (one of my knees is sore), botulism (the can of beans I ate last night made a weird noise when I opened it), salmonella (I’m not so sure I thawed my chicken long enough before cooking) and chronic fatigue syndrome (I took a three-hour nap yesterday). If I, a relatively healthy person who has only been on antibiotics once, have this many ailments, I can’t even guess what brain-sucking amoebas or flesh-eating bacteria might be lurking in the bodies of my friends with weaker immune systems. WebMD might be cheaper, but I’m more effective—that is, until I inevitably succumb to my double food poisoning.