I always used to tell people that my ideal job would entail a considerable amount of lolling around all day sipping tea and reading books. The rest of the job would require talking and hanging out. Maybe watching some baseball.
Well, apparently there is a job that's somewhat akin to this. Plus it pays pretty darned well - $150K - especially when you consider that it's considered a job for a twenty-something.
Anyway, a brief article in the March 10th New Yorker covered a job opening for a "cultural attaché" for Brian Glazer, a movie producer I've never heard of, who's a partner with Ron Howard, a movie producer and child star (Opie of Mayberry) I am familiar with.
Here's an excerpt from an e-mail describing the position, which was circulating so madly that it started to sound like an urban legend, but was apparently the real deal:
...This person would be responsible for keeping Brian abreast of everything that's going on in the world: politically, culturally, musically.
Okay, I'll admit, this part of the job is only quasi-dreamy. I mean - especially in this day and age of TMI - how can you possibly keep up with everything. Think of the pressure of deciding whether it's more important that Brian knows that John McCain lost his temper over a question about talking to John Kerry about being his VP in 2004 or that he knows that an advisor to Obama had to quit after she referred to Hillary as a "monster". Or would Brian need to know both?
And culturally? Brian should probably know about the most recent spate of fake memoirs - after all, he might want to make a movie about a child raised by gang-bangers or wolves, so he's got to know that these stories are bogus. But does he need to know who Heath Ledger left his estate to? Or does he already know stuff like that, just automatically, because he's a Hollywood guy.
And musically? Does the latest on Britney count as music or culture or both?
...They're also responsible for finding an interesting person for Brian to meet with every week...an astronaut, a journalist, a philosopher, a buddhist monk.
Well, I'm sure you just don't go looking in the yellow pages for ex-astronauts or buddhist monks. And what if you made the mistake of offering up a really boring ex-astronaut or buddhist monk? Luck of the draw, there have to be a few of them out there.
Here's where the job gets really dreamy:
There's LOTS of reading for this position! Grazer may ask you to read any book he's interested in. You'll probably get to read about 4 or 5 books a week.
But on second thought, what if the books aren't interesting? What if most of them are self-help nonsense or puff-ographies? What if they're Tom Clancy novels? I mean, would Brian ever ask you to read a really good book on his behalf? Shouldn't he be reading those himself? And how do you impart what goes on in a really well-written, really good book - fiction, memoir, whatever? You really can't.
Sure, you could give him a juicy plot summary of The DaVinci Code - one of the books he's turned into a movie. But if the book was really good - The Kite Runner - wouldn't you just want to say, 'Come on, Bri, read it yourself.' (And why does this part of the job seem like a more pleasurable version of whipping boy: the job exists because someone can afford to pay for it.
There's a travel component of the job:
...you may be required to travel with him on his private plane to Hawaii New York, Europe - teaching him anything he asks you about along the way.
At least you don't have to make your own travel arrangements. And even if you did, this job comes with an assistant.
There's a slightly edgy element to the job, too.
"I like to meet people in dangerous organizations, and my cultural attaché" finds out who that person is - who runs the Yakuza, or the Masons, or M15."
Ah, those dangerous Masons, with their medieval double speak and weird velvet robes. Not to mention the Shriners in their fezzes and those goofy little cars.
Yep, I'd sure lump the Masons in the same category as the Yakuza.
One thing about Brian Glazer, though.
He apparently doesn't expect anybody to do anything for him that he hasn't done for himself.
"I used to do the begging and groveling and ass-kissing myself."
I guess that's what separates someone who gets to be a private-jet owning, mega-important Hollywood producer capable of getting the Dalai Lama or the head of the Yakuza on the horn, from a run of the mill schlump like myself, who never in a million years would have thought about writing a letter to Edward Teller asking to meet him. (Not that I would have picked Edward Teller to begin with, but Grazer did.)
Not that my career has been entirely devoid of begging and groveling and ass-kissing. But most of it was in the service of getting some tech publication to write about my company, or getting a few extra bucks in the budget, or snagging a raise and promotion for myself. Not much time left in a day to write to Edward Teller (or equivalent).
Anyway, the job actually does sound like it would be fun for someone young, energetic, and curious.
Unfortunately, I've only got two of the three covered.
Besides, they're down to the four finalists already, so it would have been too late to float my résumé out there even if I had all three.