You are in the 'approaching or just crossed 40' zone - bored of your job, sick of being a faceless lab rat, living a Groundhog Day existence. You yearn to take a break, do something different. If nothing works, you can always come back to your insipid professional life later you reason; your bank balance can afford this little transgression.
Each scam job comes armed with a Mug-Shot Visibility Potential (MSVP) and Moolah Earning Potential (MEP) rating.
If you can work towards maximising both MSVP and MEP, then you are gifted and, perhaps, should consider taking this break forever. If you can't manage to increase either, then this article is clearly not for you.
Become a co-founder: Don't bother becoming the sole founder - it is way too much hard work. You need to look for the easy way out. Find a willing partner who has some 'app-worthy' ideas, a detailed business plan that's just right for the 'friends and family' round of funding to kick in, and is nice enough to start a you guessed it right startup and you are well on your way to instant fame, and hopefully some series A-level moolah. You can co-find anything you fancy. Start with a glitzy digital write-up about your company and some garbled, but impressively worded, vision statement, a future-ready (whatever that means) business card and you are already off to a good start. Make sure you have checked all boxes in the social media world of measurement (enough likes, comments, engagement and other fancy metrics) and have cranked up the PR machines to make you look and sound important. Update your LinkedIn and other professional profiles with your new co-founder lingo and you are already winning.
MSVP: Medium to Strong
MEP: This one starts of Weak but can end up Strong (if your other co-founder is actually working hard enough or if venture capitalists love you).
Become an executive coach and mentor: Don't we all love to give unsolicited advice? We have an opinion on the rising dollar, falling gold prices, Black Mondays and the ominous "but why hasn't it happened yet?" E-commerce bust, the obvious lack of talent in companies today and so on. If you think mentorship is your forte then start by working on your 'thought-leadership' skills. Become a prolific poster boy or girl on LinkedIn, post and share as many utterly incomprehensible but deliciously erudite tables and flow charts on the importance of coaching and mentoring. The best part is that you don't need to be original; you merely need to be smart enough to scour the internet for material. All you need to do is add your two pennies worth to each link that you forward. The next step is to con a few ex-colleagues and friends into giving you a break by inviting you to coach their organisations and mentor young talent. Your success is directly proportional to how much you manage to confuse the mentees with your extensive jargon-filled management speak, and how well you have mastered Dale Carnegie's bible on speaking effectively.
MSVP: Super Strong
MEP: Great potential to rake it in, given that you have no overheads other than your own pompous head.
Become a Serial Marathoner: This one, clearly, is no scam, just pure hard work, discipline and a passion for running. But, what if you are plain lazy like me and hopeless at running? Don't fret, there is hope. Start by showing up at all the important well-promoted marathon events (if you can afford to go international, even better) and attempt to cover the shortest distance. (1k ramble, 5k stroll etc). Your Facebook page doesn't have to bother with details of how fast you ran and whether you actually completed the marathon or not. What you lack by way of training, you will compensate by way of posting strategically shot sporty selfies. If you can run for charity and a good cause (just make sure you support the ones that are trending), then you are set. For professionals still stuck in the corporate world, there is also the Mileage Run which is what you undertake just when your Gold frequent flier status is about to turn into - horror of horrors - a mere Bronze; so a frenzy of red-eye flights is embarked upon to destinations far away before the expiry date, just so that you retain your all-important flying status.
MSVP: All Star: This one is a winner for your social media visibility factor.
MEP: Low: Unfortunately, there is no scope to earn anything here.
Become a Professional Social Commentator: If all you really crave is visibility and (more than) two seconds of fame, then this scam job is tailor-made for you. Today, there are more conclaves, forums, conferences, management boot-camps than you can juggle. Back in the day, a boot-camp was a place for combat training. Now, any small conference is a boot-camp. Get invited to one and network well to make a lasting impression that will ensure that your calendar is filled with all kinds of bizarre sounding corporate events. And, if serious visibility is your quest, then embrace the theatrical world of TV, with 100s of channels, 1000s of banal, sensational, topical fires all waiting to be doused by professional panelists. A goldmine of opportunities awaits you. Don't attempt becoming a specialist; brand yourself as a social commentator. That way, you will be invited to speak on anything from dancing God women to alleged contamination in food.
MSVP: You have hit the jackpot here!
Become a Health and Wellness Expert: This is one of the quickest ways to earning some serious money without too much effort. Join an online course on the basics of nutrition. You can enroll in any of the far-flung international universities, just so that you can appear more credible in front of unsuspecting clients. Tap into your network of friends and family, and incentivise them into helping you with referrals. Refresh all the grandmother remedies that you had once scoffed at as a kid, rebrand them with important scientific terms and long-winded explanations and witness how far your healthy platitudes can take you. Start with the Freemium model of giving free advice, getting your audience hooked and slowly start throwing in paid special consultations for specific issues, and watch your fortune grow.
MSVP: Super Strong
MEP: Super Strong
What are your favourite scam jobs?
(Shruti Bajpai is an International Media Consultant and the former head of HBO South Asia)