I think I may have discovered the best job ever: calling strangers on the phone to tell them that they’re “awesome.” Yes, this is a legitimate, paying job. I found it on Craigslist.
I’ve been digging through Craigslist, Idealist, the Feminist Career Center – and just about ever other “ist” list out there – in search of a job that won’t distract too much from school, fits into the category of meaningful and fulfilling work, and finally, is a position that pays enough to support the travel necessary for maintaining my long-distance relationship with my Chicago-dwelling boyfriend Siddique. Apparently, the pursuit of love and happiness does not qualify as a legitimate cost of living expense under the federal student loan program.
And so I happened upon this doozy. Of course, the $8.50 per hour pay rate for an “Amazing Friendly Caller” is pitiable for a graduate student with more than seven years of working experience, not to mention the fact that there are no health benefits or any apparent opportunities for upward mobility – all typical standards for measuring the merits of a good job. But still, as an Amazing Friendly Caller, one would have the immeasurable job satisfaction of knowing that they helped to spread happiness and provide a sense of well-being to others.
How does it work? A person pays a fee to either subscribe to AwesomenessReminders for themselves or to give a subscription to someone else as a gift. A real person then calls the subscriber every day to remind them of their awesomeness.
When I told my boyfriend about this endeavor, he rationally suggested that perhaps if you need to pay someone to say “you’re awesome” maybe … well just maybe you’re not actually that awesome after all. Further, he sensibly proposed that such false encouragement could have the unintended consequence of causing even more suffering to someone who already feels down and out. “You’re awesome” would mean a lot more coming from someone who really feels that way about you rather than from a stranger being paid to say it, he said.
Well, yes. These points are all well taken. But even so the concept of AwesomenessReminders still holds a great deal of potential to spread happiness. First, if in fact someone who receives these phone calls is not actually awesome, then I’d like to think that the daily reminders of their awesomeness would generate some self-awareness and eventually guilt so that they might be inspired to work toward becoming a sincerely awesome person. Second, words of encouragement or kindness, even those from a dubious source, can still have the power to cheer someone up. Third, the idea is so quirky that surely some people give the gift of AwesomenessReminders as a joke in which case a little fun and humor is good for the soul, even if we are laughing at ourselves. Lastly is the scenario of knowing that someone who cares about you thinks you’re awesome, but they simply don’t have the time to tell you so on a daily basis and therefore has effectively outsourced their displays of affection. It’s sort of like having your secretary order flowers to be delivered on your behalf. It’s the thought that counts.
What does it take to be an Amazing Friendly Caller? According to the ad:
“The right candidate should have a sunny personality, a positive yet humble attitude, a genuinely loving relationship with humanity as well as at least one good pair of ‘favorite’ jeans or sweatpants because that’s how we roll. Strong verbal and written skills are a must!”
While I believe I’m qualified on all fronts with the exception of owning sweatpants, I think it’s in my best interest to continue the job search.
In the end, working as an Amazing Friendly Caller may not really be the best job ever. Yet, I remain sold on the concept. It would be mutually gratifying if we set aside time each week to call or email the people we love with the sole purpose of saying, “You’re awesome!” It’s a reminder we could all use. Be kind.