What can’t you do?

“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living” Dolly Parton

Or, as defined by my dictionary:

Job (n): a post of employment, full-time or part-time

I have been pondering the nature of employment a lot over the last couple of months. I have also been pondering a phrase from Pirates of the Caribbean that sums up a lot of my outlook on life: “There’s things you can do and things you can’t do.”

And this got me to thinking about what jobs I think I utterly can’t do:

President of the USA

Now I’m not eligible for this role by birth but that’s not the point. Yes, all that security detail would be pretty hunky. (I’m thinking President Taylor flanked by her Marines in the last series of 24 here). Going in Air Force One would also be pretty damn cool. But come on, to actually be Leader of Free World (who gave that title, btw?) The idea is terrifying. The level of responsibility, the lives that rest on your shoulders every waking moment, that people will die no matter what decision you make. And you have to have perfect teeth and always look good. I have no idea how anyone does it. Nor why they want to.


Yes, I know, it’s a bit of a leap from one to the other but I never claimed this was going to make sense. Yes, teaching. I have no idea how people devote their time (their lives, sometimes) to teaching. And don’t give me that 6 weeks holiday yah di yah rubbish. I know teachers, I know the hours they work each day, each weekend, & most of the holidays. I dislike schools when I was in them and I don’t like them any more now. I also dislike schoolchildren, of any age. Two reasons, if any were needed, why I shouldn’t be a teacher!

Investigative Journalist

Fabulous job. Amazing. I love these people. But I don’t know how they do it. There’s the level of commitment taken to put themselves into dangerous/uncomfortable/violent etc etc situations, to get the trust of people you’re investigating. And then there’s the detachment needed to stand back & report, not get involved. I can’t be the only person who’s screamed at the news “Why are you just filming, why don’t you go & help?” at some point. Now I believe that they do help, that the stories need to be told, and that the detachment needed must really affect them. God help me, I couldn’t do it.


My hands shake slightly. End of. I perhaps should have disclosed this to the person who asked me to perform a tracheotomy the other day but in the end my services weren’t required, thankfully. But seriously, if I have to slice someone open for medical reasons I like to think I could, but I should not, cannot be a surgeon. The irreversible damage I could do due to one slight tremor sends me cold.


Tricky one, this. I never liked the Police when I was growing up. Was never in trouble with them but I didn’t trust them or ever want to be one. As I grew up I knew I never wanted to be in the Police as I never wanted to investigate a murder, deal with a rape, speak to the families who were victims of such tragedies. However my respect for law and justice (sadly not always connected) is immense and I ended up down a different path of Law Enforcement.  I don’t have a uniform or flashy lights and sirens. I do have a badge & some handcuffs. And I don’t have any kind of weapon. And that is the big difference. I work in some dangerous situations and around some very nasty people (not just my colleagues!). I don’t have a button on my radio that automatically summons assistance (actually, I do but it’s disabled). I don’t have a baton, any kind of spray nor, clearly, any kind of gun. However this means that when I go somewhere and there’s too many of them, it’s too hostile, too dangerous, I can go away. And call the Police for assistance. It was once described to me as “we can back down, the Police never can” (that wasn’t from a copper though). Thankfully it’s rare we need them but when we do I’ve been fucking glad they were there. Contrary to my many moans, I like my job. I just also like the fact it’s statistically a lot less likely to cost my life.


Clearly some of this is tongue in cheek. But it’s also to express my appreciation of people who, in my opinion, do incredibly difficult jobs.

So what about you? What job do you think you can never do? Do you agree or disagree with my list? Thoughts on a comment box-shaped postcard, please.