Richard Lederer

Richard Lederer

Some people hold the same job for their entire career. Others move from one job to another while relentlessly ascending the corporate ladder. My personal workplace history is more checkered:

My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I couldn’t concentrate, so I got canned.

  • Then I became a lumberjack, but I just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the axe.
  • I was once a set designer, but I left without making a scene.
  • I was next employed at a diet center, but I got downsized.
  • I became a baker, but I turned out to be a loafer and couldn’t make enough dough.
  • Then I opened a donut shop, but I soon got tired of the hole business.
  • I manufactured calendars, but my days were numbered.
  • After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn’t suited for it, mainly because it was a sew-sew job, de-pleating, and de-pressing.
  • I took a job as an upholsterer, but I never recovered.
  • Next I worked in a muffler factory, but that was exhausting.
  • I became a hairdresser, but the job was just too cut-and-dried.
  • I moved on to selling lingerie, but they decided to give me a pink slip.
  • I tried telemarketing, but I had too many hang-ups.
  • I manned a computer but developed a terminal illness and lost my drive and my memory.
  • I became a dentist, but gummed up the works and couldn’t do the drill. The job was boring and felt like a bridge to nowhere.
  • I worked as a fortune-teller, but I didn’t see any future in it.
  • I sold origami, but the business folded.
  • For a while, I was an astrologer, but it wasn’t in the stars.
  • Then I tried to be a chef. I figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I just didn’t have the thyme, it didn’t pan out, and my goose was cooked.
  • I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn’t cut the mustard.
  • I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn’t have the patients.
  • I became a cardiologist, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
  • I took a job at UPS, but I couldn’t express myself.
  • Next was a job in a shoe factory, but the job didn’t last and I got the boot.
  • I studied to become a lawyer, but my career was brief. It was too trying and had no appeal.
  • For a while, I sold vacuum cleaners, but the job really sucked.
  • I became a Velcro salesman but couldn’t stick with it.
  • I was a commercial fisherman, but I missed the boat and discovered that I couldn’t tackle the job and live on my net income.
  • I was a masseur for a while, but I rubbed people the wrong way.
  • I became a Hawaiian garland maker, but I got leid off.
  • So I turned to designing lingerie, but I got the pink slip.
  • I was a printer for a while, but I wasn’t the type for the job and didn’t have an inkling about that to do.
  • I tried being a fireman, but I suffered burnout, so I couldn’t climb my way to the top.
  • I wanted to be a banker, but I wasn’t ready to make a change. I lacked interest and maturity so I withdrew from consideration.
  • I got a job at a zoo feeding giraffes, but I was fired because I wasn’t up to it.
  • So then I became a personal trainer in a gym, but they said I wasn’t fit for the job.
  • I tried selling cigarette lighters, but I lost my spark.
  • Next, I found being an electrician interesting, but I had to strip to make ends meet. I wasn’t emotionally grounded and the work was shocking and revolting, so they discharged me.
  • I thought that becoming a tennis pro would yield a net gain, but it wasn’t my kind of racket. I was too high-strung and didn’t have any love for the game.
  • I tried being a teacher, but I soon lost my principal, my faculties, and my class.
  • I trained to be a ballet dancer, but I was seldom on point and it was too-too difficult.
  • For a while, I was a farmer, but problems cropped up and I wasn’t outstanding in my field.
  • I took the plunge as a plumber, but it turned out to be a pipe dream. I was out of sink, so the job went down the drain.
  • I worked as an elevator operator. The job had its ups and downs, I got the shaft and took steps to quit.
  • I applied for a job at an Air & Space Museum, but there was nothing inside.
  • I thought about becoming a poet, but the work was a verse to my being. Iamb what iamb.
  • I sold chocolate ice cream, diced marshmallows, and nuts, but the job became a rocky road.
  • I became a candle maker. At first business waxed strong. Then it tapered off.
  • My first day on the job as a ski instructor. I slipped up, and it was all downhill from there.
  • I took a job as a cook in a monastery as both the fish friar and the chip monk. I tried to communicate with the clergy, but they excommunicated me.
  • I once worked as an optometrist. The future looked clear, and my life was coming into focus. Then I got too close to the lens grinder and made a spectacle of myself.
  • I became a statistician, but I got broken down by age, sex, and marital status.
  • I was once a Scrabble champion, but I became inconsonant, and I can’t move my vowels anymore.

So I’ve retired, and I find that I’m perfect for this job!

Dr. Richard Lederer is the author of more than 50 books about language, history and humor, including his newest books, “A Treasury of Halloween Humor” and “A Treasury of Christmas Humor.” To order signed copies, explore his website, or write him at