What if people engaged in one field used the business model of another? Something like accountants who not only do your taxes, but go on tour. I call this jobxtaposition; for my first jobxtaposition, let me introduce Aesop Lee Bailey, Philosopher for Hire.
Mr. Bailey, I wasn’t aware that philosophers were in such demand. I thought the only market would be to teach college freshman.
“Well, that has an element of truth, you see, but as a philosopher, I gave it a great deal of thought, and realized that one needs to guide people when it comes to certain services certain services. People didn’t realize that they needed designer sneakers costing hundreds of dollars until professional athletes made them aware of their need. I decided to look at a profession whose model would fit philosophy and adopt it—or should I say adapt it? Hmmm. I’ll have to give that some thought.”
So which professional business model did you decide to emulate?
“I initially thought about the clergy since the fields have so much in common, but the profit margin is absolutely abysmal.
“I finally decided on the business model used by lawyers. In days past, when we had a disagreement, we’d sit down and discuss it; lawyers convinced everyone that litigation was a better solution. Don’t like the neighbors’ dog? Don’t talk to the neighbor, take them to court. Did the school not eliminate every peanut down to the molecular level for a five mile radius? File a suit.
“The next advantage was the flexibility. If a client wishes to engage my services, the client chooses the subject and tells me whether I should be pro or con. Unlike amateur philosophers, I am not married to a particular idea or set of values. A client walks in and says, ‘I want to hire you to think up new things about global warming.’ I can then ask, ‘As a supporter or a cynic?'”
So how do charge a customer for your services?
“Billable hour. I charge by the hour in ten-minute increments, or any portion thereof. If I sit in a quiet room, I can sometimes dedicate two or three hours. Research is required, of course, so time spent reading, and of course thinking about what I’ve read is included.
“I do charge a premium for an epiphanies, which seem to occur suddenly while I’m in the shower. I figure that not only am I due the premium, but also portal-to-portal—from As with lawyers, the legal fees are one charge, and the expenses another.”
What kind of expenses do philosophers encounter?
“Well there are the usual things—paper, pens, and such, but all of the great philosophers have done their best work while drinking. Lofty ideas call for a fine wine or brandy, while blithering can be accomplished with nothing more than a pint of porter and a handful of bar mix.
“There’s one more part of the lawyers’ business model that’s useful. If an idea I think of for a client has commercial value, I receive one-third of the gross.”
Well, Mr. Bailey, I want to thank you for your time. I’m sure my readers will enjoy your unique approach.
“It’s been a pleasure.
“Oh, wait a minute…….. Here’s your bill, and please note the a surcharge since you didn’t buy me a drink.”
Hola Steve: I enjoyed your “Jobxtaposition” piece. While it busted me up, it also reminded me of OUR colleagues in medicine and the many dumb things they think of and say–especially to naïve ME.
Of course we had to be boozing it up when a doc friend told of a patient who was terminally ill, and he had to inform his patient to get his life in order because he had only had two weeks left to live. However, when the business manager told my doc friend that the patient still had an outstanding balance of $1300, he went back into the exam room and told his patient he was wrong: He had 6 months to live!
How about that for a “jobxaposition?”