Just the job: careers advice for budding hunt saboteurs, Spice Girls managers, train drivers ...

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The Independent Online
Today's guest expert was to have been Earl Spencer, who was due to offer advice on your emotional and marital problems.

Unfortunately, negotiations about his fee broke down, and so instead I am glad to welcome Kevin Tiller, Professor of Employment Studies at Milton Keynes University, who is going to offer careers advice to younger readers. All yours, Prof!

I would like to be a journalist but I just don't know if I have got what it takes in this modern, competitive world.

Professor Tiller writes: OK, let's try a simple little test. What you have to do is think up a headline for a piece of news. Here's the news. Chris Evans buys up Virgin Radio. Right, what's the headline?

Ummmmm ... "Chris Evans Buys Up Virgin Radio"?

Professor Tiller writes: Oh, come on, lad! You can do better than that!

Ummmmm - I know! "Yes, it's Virginger Radio!"!

Professor Tiller writes: Excellent. Just what The Sun chose. You'll go far. And the next?

How do I set about being manager of the Spice Girls?

Professor Tiller writes: Hurry, hurry, hurry, while stocks last! Actually, if you want my advice, it would be much better to be ex-manager of the Spice Girls. Next!

How do I set about becoming a full-time hunt saboteur? Whenever I have gone after a meet, I have always enjoyed the camaraderie of the hunt, and the excitement of the chase, and I would like to devote more time to it.

Professor Tiller writes: Sadly, it is quite possible that Parliament may soon decide to ban hunting with dogs altogether, which will spell the end of the noble calling of the hunt saboteur, and turn loose on the countryside hundreds of unemployed and aimless ex-saboteurs. It would be a tragedy. I believe there are plans afoot to retrain them as angling saboteurs, though I personally would feel that snipping fishing lines in half and tipping tins of maggots into the water would not have the same thrill and romance as old-style hunt sabotage.

I would like to join the BBC and make programmes. How do I set about this?

Professor Tiller writes: I am not sure that the BBC is recruiting programme makers any more. It might be safer to join the BBC and become one of the men or women who scrutinise incoming programme proposals from independent producers.


Professor Tiller writes: Because then, if you spot a really good idea, you can write back to the independent producer and say that although it is a good idea, the BBC are, alas, already working on a very similar project.

But what if they aren't?

Professor Tiller writes: Oh, they always are. Or if they aren't, they very soon will be. Next!

I would like to be a train driver when I grow up.

Professor Tiller writes: You won't when you grow up. Next!

I would like to be the next Chris Evans.

Professor Tiller writes: See answer to last question. Next!

I would like to be the daughter of a well-known agony aunt who decides to satirise the pretensions of her mother's craft by going missing and precipitating a police search costing tens of thousands of pounds and then turning up days later perfectly safe and well, with the mother covering up her confusion by saying: "Oh, we knew she could look after herself all along," which rather begs the question of why mother alerted the police in the first place ...

Professor Tiller writes: You're living in a fantasy world. Things like this don't happen. Snap out of it, woman! Now, one last question, please!

When I grow up, I would like to be the man whose job it is to chase round the world after Richard Branson's big balloon when it goes off without him, or indeed without anyone on board at all, and I would chase it in my helicopter till I caught up with it and then I would radio back: "Balloon at 30,000ft over Kenya, heading out Indian Ocean at 80 knots, please advise!"

Professor Tiller writes: Thank goodness someone has got a practical, realistic game plan at last. You should do well.

Tomorrow: Grand Competition! Win one of Earl Spencer's old girlfriends!!