The ships that sailed: Career paths that weren’t to be

In 2012, it was estimated the average Gen Y-er would undergo 10 career changes. It’s a high number, but considering the volatile working situations many of us enjoy (was that the right word?) and the need to follow a career path a good few kilometres before realising it’s a mistake, the number is hardly surprising. If the projections are accurate, maybe I’ll have brief stints as an architect, a lawyer and a Hawaiian shirt enthusiast before settling down as pig rancher – the career jumps might seem illogical, but I doubt my dad envisioned his transition from teacher to massage therapist 20 years ago.

But before I surrender myself to the weird and wonderful careers my future may hold, let’s take a moment to remember the paths that weren’t to be – the jobs I turned down for the glamorous and income-stable life of a writer.

High school detective:

Many kids dream of thwarting juvenile crimes like Veronica Mars (or Disney’s lesser-known student detective, Filmore), but I wasn’t dreaming – I lived it. In my senior year, I was approached by a teacher to investigate a crime scene: A giant phallus burnt into grass on school property. I presume the teacher, or chief, had enlisted me as her detective for my skills of deduction and my strong rapport with the younger students.

My preliminary analysis of the crime scene drew a picture of the perpetrator: A young male; immature; a hardened vandal. He’d done his homework, ensuring he didn’t leave a trace of evidence. Not ready to give up, I went undercover and chatted to some juniors about “how awesome the graffiti job was,” and after gaining their trust they revealed the identity of the culprit. Although I deserved a glass of scotch and a promotion for my efforts, I decided not to turn the boy in. The perp was still a fellow student and I couldn’t betray him, because as they say in prison, “snitches get stiches;” or to put it in laymen’s terms, ‘wink wink, stab stab.’

Radio shock jock:

When radio personality Alan Jones made offensive remarks about Prime Minister Gillard’s father, all advertising was pulled from his programme. I hate to say it, but I was once among the ranks of this jerk. For about 18 months, I was a part of a little-known but long-revered radio series call The Tom and Vinnie Show, best known for pioneering 3D radio. The show was a delightful mix of hearty discussions, music, interviews and the odd ad break.

There was one particular ad that Tom and I loved – the Megalong Cattery commercial. Though intended to be dead serious, the ad was incredibly funny. After all, it promoted a hotel for cats, so what’s not to like? Our obsession with the ad became so severe that we gave it drumrolls, commentary and back-to-back plays. We even made ads for the ad – it’s just that good. Unfortunately, neither our management nor sponsors approved of this activity, with Tom and I receiving a stern warning and all advertising being removed from our programme.


My knowledge of magic tricks extends only as far as ‘got your nose,’ but I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I emit “the magician vibe.” And apparently it’s a compliment, but I can’t see anything flattering about being told I’m shadowy, underhanded and probably trying to steal money from bystanders. My only strange talents are making a believable trumpet sound with my mouth and performing the pop ‘n’ lock intro to Seinfeld entirely a capella. It has occurred to me that a life of illusions could be my calling, but I really don’t want to be that guy. You can’t make me!

Porn star:

A friend once told me he wanted to direct a porno and asked me to star. I turned down the role, but offered to narrate. Let’s just leave it at that.


ARTICLE BY VINCENT VARNEY, a Sydney-based writer who only seems to stumble into what few would call ‘normal’ jobs. See him narrate things other than adult cinema by following him @VincentVarney


4 thoughts on “The ships that sailed: Career paths that weren’t to be

  1. Pingback: The ships that sailed: Career paths that weren’t to be | Twenty-Something

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