“Work” is a such a strange thing. We all dream of the day when we don’t have to do it. And yet, it defines us for most of our adult lives.
When I moved to Vietnam about a year ago, I was anticipating a full year off with no work. I had saved up. I had planned. I had dreamed about what it would be like to have all day, every day to do whatever I wanted for the first time in my life. Sure, I had a brand new country to explore and super satisfying volunteer work to do. But after about 3 months, I started to feel the itch. That little itch that starts as a niggle right under your shoulder blade, the one spot where you can’t quite reach from any direction. You try to put it out of your mind, but it starts getting itchier and itchier until you can’t stand it anymore.
I mean, everyone around me was working.
My barber often dons his miner’s lamp for “special ear cleaning service”. Armed with a handful of poking, scraping and brushing tools, he’s set to impart bionic hearing to all comers.
Then there’s the ingenious. A homemade machine that straightens coiled wire. Google Glass ain’t got nothin’ on this.
Or the artists who clever repurpose nuts, bolts and bicycle chains to make an army of Aliens vs. Predators.
Then there’s the ice cream man whose bicycle bell brings the kids to the yard, ready to devour tropical ice cream flavors sandwiched in a sweet bun with a healthy drizzle of condensed milk.
Or the handy maintenance guys filling cracks in my apartment building with a jerry-rigged metal seat and tied to some flimsy-looking rope…
… 18 stories up.
Or the woman who converted her motorbike into a mobile aquarium, ready to service all your pet needs.
See? Everyone’s working.
So, I started feeling bad that I was waking up late, spending way too much time watching Japanese prank videos on YouTube and playing endless games of WordsWithFriends (why oh why can you only have 20 games going at once? That’s just crazy pants!)
Just two months into my supposed one year long sabbatical, I started checking out job postings. I mean. I wasn’t REALLY looking for a job, I told myself. After all, I had turned down great job offers for Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. I just wanted to see what was out there.
And here I was, thinking that the low cost carrier terminal in Kuala Lumpur was a scary place to be at 2am.
I was wrong.
Craigslist Vietnam is way scarier.
Oh, some of the ads look innocuous enough. (Click on images for a larger version.)
Actress sounds good. No experience necessary? Score!
Except, I used my super-Internet
stalking sleuthing skills to uncover Chris26356.
Oh. my. goodness. I’m pretty sure I saw this guy in the movie Saw. And it didn’t end well for the “actors” in that movie. Do not walk. Run.
Some ads sound too good to be true.
A “person of perfection”? 25 Vietnamese / American, 171cm! Looking good so far, buddy!
But under skills, “I can fix an airplane, yes I can. I cannot fly but I’m sure I can drive any car” is just such a letdown.
Is it just me, or does this sound like a low-rent Dr. Seuss? Sigh.
On the other spectrum are people who realize their true worth.
Hello there, Desperate English Teacher who’s willing to work for VND 50,000 (USD 2.50) per hour. I am so emailing you right now.
Then there are the ads you can’t figure out if they’re real or not.
If you’re not a “fake Kevin Costner” and can take a bottle to the head, that’s a pretty respectable skills set.
Then there’s just simply sad.
Hello, Mr. American English Teacher who is “certifide”! Really? You could have uploaded any picture and this is the one you chose?
If teaching doesn’t work out for you, there’s always hamburgers…
These amateurs could learn something from possibly the best Craigslist ad ever.
With all the wonderful work opportunities out there, how could I selfishly stay unemployed? That’s just crazy talk.
Now, I have too many projects on the go, least of all this blog. But I’m happy that it’s helping so many anonymous googlers out there. I mean, just look at the search terms that brought people to this blog:
Really? I think I’m inadvertently helping some pimply faced 6th grader cheat on a paper. My best advice for you is: Just say no! Stay in school! X = 8!
I’m a great bargainer. And I always end up “buying the thing”.
Ummm. Sure! They’re very good. Let’s see. Flamenco? Chocolate breakfasts? Yes and yes.
Sorry, anonymous googler dude. You’re on your own. Antonio Banderas, maybe? Sorry. I got nothin’.
Wait. You have to write an essay on Vietnamese food AND the secret of happiness? I say get your mom to write a sickie note tomorrow. That’s just cruel and unusual homework.
You have TOTALLY come to the right blog.
Then there are those wonderful reader comments. I try to respond to all of them, but some fall through the cracks. So here’s my chance at comment redemption:
Thanks for writing in, SEO Services! Whenever people ask me questions I don’t know the answer to, I always send them here: http://lmgtfy.com/
If I had a pair of fake LV shoes for every time someone called me an “overly skilled blogger”…
Thank you, Thailand! There’s a little subscribe postcard at the bottom of the page. Glad I could help you out.
Really? MySpace? Chris26356, is this you????
So I guess we all have to work, whether it’s selling ice-cream from your bicycle, starring in horror movies directed by psycho serial killers or even the lowliest of the low, writing a blog.
I want to hear your stories! What’s the best / worst job you’ve ever had?
And finally, here’s my entry to a photo contest organized by one of my travel partners:
Everyone wants to be a panda. EVERYONE.
Contest by FoodPanda.