How to tell the difference between jobs and callings

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

When it comes to working for a living, there are jobs, and there are callings (activities that you love doing, but they also make money.)

In Chessington, England, there is a theme park that is testing the limits of how to make a living and love it, too.

The park is looking for “human panda impersonators.” Those hired will have to dress as pandas and mimic their behavior as part of the new “Pandamonium” exhibit.

This is a job I would take in a minute if I were about 40 years younger. But since I have been around for a while, it’s probably better to write about stuff like this than actually experience it.

The job posting is pretty imaginative. I could tell that whoever wrote it was not just doing his or her job.

To be part of this bamboozling opportunity, applicants must:
- Be able to sit around and act lazy for the majority of the day;
- Have their every need pandered to;
- Have a keen interest in wildlife; and
- Enjoy being admired for several hours a day.
The successful applicant must:
- Be color-blind;
- Be comfortable wearing a warm, thick coat all day long;
- Live on a high-fiber diet of 14 kilos of bamboo a day; and
- Pref-fur-ably, be wild at heart.
No need to paws for thought. It really is that black and white.”

The company that posted this ad deserves to get thousands of very talented applicants. It took a while to come up with all this play on words, and I think they maxed out the puns.

There must be some other unusual jobs out there, so I turned on my Internet machine and did my normal few minutes of research.

I’m going to list a few, but we need to decide each time if the following are just jobs or callings.

FORTUNE COOKIE WRITER: Who would not love getting paid for making up a bunch of stuff that other people read before eating their fortune cookies? This is much like horoscope writing. Definitely a calling.

PET FOOD TASTER: They smell and taste animal food and also chew it to make sure that Fido gets only the best. Fido really wants the food you’re eating, but that’s beside the point.
This has to be just a job. You’d have to be desperate for money to do this. Maybe wine or beer tasting, but not pet food.

PROFESSIONAL SLEEPER: Who would not like to get paid for sleeping? I know several people who would actually get overtime pay doing this. Definitely a calling.

SHARK TANK CLEANER: This is a hard one, because not only do you have to have a passion for doing this, but you also have to be crazy. We have to categorize this as a calling.

CHICKEN SEXER: I had never heard of a job like this until 48.5 seconds into my research. They undergo special training before being allowed to identify and separate male hatchlings from the females. Just a job, but very interesting. I didn’t realize that there was a difference. The hatchlings look alike to me, but I’ve never examined them all that closely. Maybe that’s why there is special training.

ELECTRO-SHOCK GIVERS: In Mexico, some men lug around battery operated boxes that dispense electrical charges and offer shocks of electricity for between $2-$4. This has to be just a job unless the machine operator is a sadist. Then it would be a calling.

PROFESSIONAL SNUGGLERS: This became popular in Japan, where for a price you can snuggle or sleep next to a real live woman. The trend also has taken off in Rochester, N.Y., where for $50 you can indulge in a private 45-minute snuggling session at the Snuggery. I’m going to classify this as just a job, because this may also be prostitution, which would make it an illegal job. But who knows? They could be just snuggling.

PROFESSIONAL MOURNERS: This is one of my favorites, but I’m going to come right out and classify this as just a job. Men and women in Africa, China and the Middle East are paid cash in exchange for their tears and vocal weeping. So, if the dead person’s relatives aren’t sad enough, these paid people will create a mournful atmosphere.

FREE-LANCE WRITER FOR THE BULLETIN: If you have read this far into my column, that means that you really like to read - anything, and you are probably a decent writer. We can use you to write articles that we assign and edit. I would categorize this as a calling, because the pay is next to nothing. If you think you are the right person for this freelancing opportunity, call us at (979) 849-5407.
Perfect for college kids whose parents pay all their bills. Or, for anyone who just loves reporting and writing.