I find myself, like many people, in miserable unemployment and a frustrating job search. My mind keeps coming back to those lists that pop-up now and again about strange day jobs of the now famous. Some of the more well-known are Kafka’s employment with an insurance company which could easily be seen as a great influence in his writing or Stephen King, who was inspired to write Carrie while working as a janitor at a high school. Below, I have collected some of the more amusing.
- Before driving every college student mad with Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs was an exterminator in Chicago.
- Pulitzer Prize winning poet Wallace Stevens turned down a Harvard professorship because “[h]e’d have to leave his job at Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, where he worked for nearly 40 years.”
- In the late 1950s, America got its first Saab dealership. Who better to run it than Kurt Vonnegut.
- For eight years, Harper Lee worked at a ticket desk for Eastern Airlines.
- Employment with the Post Office seems to be a trend, most notably with Charles Bukowski, William Faulkner
and Anthony Trollope.
- And my all time favorite, Jack London was an oyster pirate (whatever that is).