Any distaste you may feel for a man who makes his living typing, however, should be measured against some of the jobs cropping up in the new economy.
Hiscox, the business insurer, recently published a list of unusual jobs that growing numbers of British people are doing in lieu of traditional careers. Hiscox has experienced a steady rise in the number of nontraditional businesses looking for insurance policies to cover their unusual operations.
Among these jobs, my favorite is badger consultant. They advise people how to keep within the laws protecting badgers, which are nocturnal animals. That's right: Britain has so many laws protecting badgers that you need to hire a consultant.
I happen to have a high regard for badgers. They wear natty little red waistcoats and fill a crucial role in nature (although what role, I have no clue). Nuts to anyone who says "We don't need no stinking badgers."
Other seemingly ridiculous career options that Britons are pursuing include:
--Dog psychologists, who analyze the behavior and characteristics of troublesome hounds. I could do that job. You have a problem dog? Shoot it. Move on.
--Feng shui consultants, who visit offices and homes to ensure a harmonious environment. I can't think of anything to say about people who buy such services that wouldn't offend you.
--Home economists, 'behind the scene' chefs who prepare the kitchen for celebrity chef TV programs. I didn't even know they had celebrity chef TV programs. How many of these preparation jobs can there be?
--Embalmers. Growing numbers of embalmers have appeared on Hiscox's books. Apparently, people are dying to get themselves embalmed.
--Vibration consultants. I thought this was my dream job, until I discovered that this involves advising on, and correcting, vibration and noise problems for construction companies or manufacturers.
--Saddle consultants, who work for horse lovers to ensure the most comfortable ride possible. Well, I'll be a horse's ass!
Even the quirkiest of professions have a serious side to them, Hiscox says. Such businesses need appropriate professional indemnity insurance to ensure coverage against compensation claims from clients unhappy with the standard of work delivered--and you have to believe there'd be quite a few.
Gary Head, director of business insurance at Hiscox UK, says: "The difficulty with such unusual jobs is that they often don't fit into the prewritten rule book.But, that doesn't mean there shouldn't be any rules when it comes to negligence; in some ways, the more unconventional the job, the more you need to think about the hidden risks.
"In today's compensation culture," he continues, "it is unfortunately all too easy to imagine a customer suing their dog psychologist if their dog continues to eat their slippers, or somebody taking their feng shui consultant to court if they're not happy with their home's energies."
The high number of consultants involved in these 'activities' reminds me of a cartoon in The New Yorker. Two detectives stand over a corpse riddled with stab wounds. One detective says to the other: "From the depth and severity of the wounds, I'm certain that the victim was a consultant."
is a Bermuda-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®.
October 15, 2008
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