While the job market in the United States poses challenges for the average employment seeker, one vocation continues to blossom with opportunity. Reality television programs are desperate to find the next large human male willing to don a pair of badass sunglasses and pose angrily. There seems to be no end to the public desire for a gruff, frequently overweight man, to snarl confidently into the camera while the name of their business (and show title) is flashed beside them. These characters can often be recognized by their slow-motion walks towards the viewer, eliciting fear, while joined by their requisite posse of underlings. The American dreams of individuality and self-determination are underscored by these proud, similarly-themed small business owners.

In the spirit of Tony Soprano, or Al Capone, this blue-collar entrepreneur reflects the audience desires for independence and “taking no b.s.”. Analysts of rebellion in modern society have noted that nothing is more effective in declaring one’s freedom from conformity, than to lash out with a sleeveless shirt, a tattoo, and a penchant for loud, inefficient motor vehicles. Being perceived as tough with little regard for societal conventions is best achieved with a tangible chip on the shoulder, and a universally agreed-upon look of macho abandon. The proximity of a masculine, well-padded female cohort with a loose grasp of the language is almost guaranteed by rule. Nielsen polls indicate that 78% of television viewers will spend their time away from their place of employment watching “jamokes at work.” Organizers of a recent Chicago job fair were encouraged by the notable increase in casually dressed applicants who “smelled like work.” Estimates of as many as four new jobs next year are expected to open on reality tv for these unique individuals.

Tim Wanish