10 JOBS WHICH INVOLVE NO ACTUAL WORK—AND MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF ONE OF THEM

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A FEW DAYS AGO, music lovers in Texas paid US$16,200 to rock singer Ted Nugent NOT to sing at their local festival.

Perhaps if everyone in the world chips in, we can get Mr Nugent to spend the rest of his days in monkish silence on the new dwarf planet found recently beyond Pluto?

Being paid to not do stuff is the HOT NEW THING.

I benefited from this myself.

This columnist was once paid a huge salary for not writing columns by a censorship-mad Hong Kong newspaper editor called Jonathan Fenby, who was too scared to sack me because everyone would know that he was a censorship-mad newspaper editor. (He thought it was a secret.)

I took the money for three months and then resigned, which was verbally tricky: “I’m outta here! I can’t not work for you any longer!”

My colleagues wished me luck: “Bye! We hope you find a new job not to do!”

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In India, thousands of people signed up for a scheme offering them cash to not have babies. But officials warned authorities trying to replicate the scheme that you need A LOT of terms and conditions, since everyone in the world spends most of their time not having babies, if you think about it (women in the Philippines excepted).

APPLICANTS: “I am Ajit and this is my friend Nirmala. We’ve never had children and demand a huge chunk of taxpayers’ money as a reward.”

OFFICIAL: “But you’re kids/ gay people/ cross-dressers/ household pets.”

APPLICANTS: “Discrimination!”

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The “actress” Hillary Duff was reportedly paid US$100,000 not to be in a movie.They could have saved US$10,000! I would have not been in it for US$90,000. Indeed, since the movie has now been made and neither you nor I are in it, dear reader, let’s just all send in our invoices.

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And while we are at it, let’s also write to fashion retailer Abercrombie and Fitch, which offered cash to the badly behaved cast of TV show Jersey Shore to not wear its clothes.

Just write this:

“Dear Mr A. A. Fitch, I am planning to behave extremely badly this year and will do it wearing none of your clothes for a small fee. I will wear the clothing of your rivals for a larger one.”

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In India’s Tamil Nadu in 2010, officials paid people to go to the toilet, creating a useful supply of fresh fertilizer while gently training residents to stop pooping in unsuitable places such as the queue at McDonald’s, the hospital lobby, etc.

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Feeling left out? No need.

There are at least 10 “careers” which sound like real jobs but have been scientifically proved to involve NO ACTUAL RECOGNIZABLE WORK.

10) Movie critic.

9) Timpani player.

8) Tenured university professor.

7) Film extra.

6) Food critic.

5) Pool life guard for the Olympics.

4) Orchestral conductor.

3) Police station security guard.

2) Musical triangle pinger.

1) Newspaper columnist.

Regarding the last of these: hands off, I got here first.