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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

10 odd jobs in travel and tourism

By Terry* and Lara
In a hilarious article posted on CNN’s website in association with Career Builders, there's a list of ten 'great' jobs in travel and tourism. Given that we earn our collective livings from the industry, we thought it might be enlightening to deconstruct the article and perhaps set ourselves on a new career path. And so the story begins: "Vacations are one of the best things in the world. You visit new, exotic and beautiful places; you make memories with your vacation companions; you experience different cultures and best of all, you get a break from reality." Hmmm, we’ve always looked at travel as a chance to see how other people live and experience other cultures, but a break from reality? Isn’t travel about seeing other people’s reality and comparing it with your own? "Think about it. There's someone accountable for the mode of transportation you chose to get to your vacation spot; someone responsible for booking your tickets; someone in charge of the activities you embark on; someone taking care of your entertainment in the evening, serving your drinks, showing you the sights. The list goes on." This list could only go on if it included having someone come around at a predetermined time to give you your medication and remind you to take your teeth out before you go to bed. "Though the pay is generally not as high as in other industries, jobs in travel and tourism provide workers with an enjoyable atmosphere, flexible hours and opportunities to meet new people." It’s okay, we’re travel writers who are used to crappy pay, so lets get started...
1. Amusement and recreation attendant
Umm... a what? A golf caddy? A carnival worker? Someone who sets up games? This is number one on the list? This must be a parody.
2. Concierge. Duties: Remember Tim Curry in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York?
No. But comparing the job of a concierge to a character in a crappy Hollywood movie is odd. Besides, having a job where you have to say "Sure!" to someone who wants a sushi restaurant in Milan must grate a little. We’ll pass on the concierge job.
3. Cruise ship director

We guess this means entertainment director. We’re also guessing we can’t swim to shore after the third night straight watching the captain dance to The Girl from Ipanema with a pensioner. We’re still betting this article is satire.
4. Curator

Now this would be awesome, apart from the fact you need just a little more training than the carny (sorry, amusement and recreation attendant) setting up the Ferris wheel in the first job suggestion…
5. Gaming Dealer
What?! Travel and tourism? Right...
6. Lifeguard
Ahh, lifeguard... visions of a hairy-chested Hasselhoff and an inflatable-chested Pamela Anderson. But the job description gets complicated:
"…and rescue those in danger of drowning, if necessary…" I guess if you have all those sexy lifeguards around you, you’d want to make sure that someone is really in trouble before interrupting chatting up your workmates to actually save someone…
7. Information clerk

Dear CNN and partners, any job in any industry that includes the title ‘clerk’ is not going to be a great job. Sorry. But we have seen the movie Clerks.
8. Recreation worker

Sounds like fun until you realise you have to run an aquarobics class at 7am, Thai chi at 9am, a children’s workshop (aka babysitting) from 10am until 2pm, sunset stretching on the beach with arthritic 70-somethings before leading the karaoke hours with your rousing rendition of My Way, before setting the alarm for 6am to get ready to do it all over again. We may not have seen Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, but we’ve seen Groundhog Day.

9. Taxi driver or chauffeur

Now CNN’s really grasping at straws. And, yes, we’ve seen Taxi Driver.
10. Tour and travel guide

At least this has some merit. Tell us more… "Duties: Think Gary Growbowski in The Break-Up." We hadn't even heard of this film (although obviously we have now we've looked it up), but did we mention we’ve seen Groundhog Day? Now, unless the job involves taking tours such as those run by Context, where you get to share your expertise on a subject (consolidated while getting a PhD on the topic), and don’t have to recite bad jokes and espouse faux ‘insider’ knowledge while holding an umbrella aloft in the optimistic hope that the forty disinterested people shaking off the effects of last night’s drinking session will actually be listening, then we’ll pass again.

Pictured? Elephant wranglers at the Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle, Thailand, one very cool job in travel and tourism that the story neglected to mention. Now,
the article was a parody, right?

*Terry is my co-author and husband; as holders of masters degrees in media studies, we both get a kick out of deconstructing the media.


The Bohemian Bahamian said...

Wow, they really phoned that one in huh? That was horrible. I've seen/perused through actual books for careers in travel and tourism, and I can't believe they couldn't find a FEW things a little more plausible than a LIFEGUARD or RECREATION ATTENDANT?!

Lara Dunston said...

They could have come up with more fascinating jobs just by calling a hotel recruitment manager! A yoga instructor, personal guide or even cooking school coordinator at a Chiang Mai resort would be much more of an enticing travel job than an "information clerk"!

Jessie V said...

Lara, this list was hilarious. They had to be doing it for a joke (or else they should be reassigned to classifieds)...

Lara Dunston said...

HI Jessie, you'd hope it was a joke, but somehow I don't think it was...

Terry and I just found it hard to get past the intro - who travels like that?! Okay, let's assume that aging pensioners do - and good on them if they can get everyone to do everything for them while they have a good time - but does the assumed readership (young people looking for work overseas?) travel like that? Bizarre...