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Dream Jobs

January 14, 2009

Australia is currently advertising for what is arguably the best job in the world.  And it got me thinking – what would be the best job in the world for me? (The “for me” part is really key here.) And I thought about it – what would combine the stuff I love (travel, writing, reading, unstructured time, creativity, meeting and studying people) and still pay the bills and be an actual job.

Why did I think about actual jobs as opposed to dream jobs or pie in the sky stuff? Well, firstly – because I already blogged about what I would do if I won the lotto. Secondly, it’s a little boring to think about and thirdly, by now you realize I am neurotic and would start worrying about what I would do if money was no object and I start getting bored.

How am I narrowing down job as opposed to some sort of fantasy? I am not sure, but I think that it probably has two components – one is feasibility. I never really had a great chance of being an astronaut or rock star or Angelina Jolie. The other is that it has to be something that while maybe I would do if I wasn’t being paid – people do it because they get paid to do it.  No one is going to pay me to sit on an island and play with doggies and drink cocktails or to move my family to a loft in Paris and and write. Okay, they may – but it’s highly unlikely. Also, it can’t be a store I run – because I have a million stores and businesses I want to run – doggie day care, chocolate and coffee shops, after-school centers for teens, organic bakeries, “green” consulting firms – the list goes on and on. And I already daydream about that all the time. But, since I have no capital, rich relatives that I would feel comfortable asking for investments or any forseeable inheritance, and am currently too lazy to hustle an SBA loan – let alone almost all of my dreams are retail dreams and I live in NYC and rent just makes it more daydream-worthy than realistic.

There are also jobs that I don’t currently have that I think I would like. But not really a dream job. Like, being a librarian. I am not entirely sure of what’s involved, but it sounds up my alley. Museum outreach coordinator. It sounds awesome, but I bet you there’s a lot of red tape that would drive me batty. I also have this odd fantasy about being front-of-house management in a great restaurant.

Okay, parameters in place.

Archaeology. Right? I mean – I was going to be an archaeologist at some point in my recent history. I only stopped because I didn’t want life as a student. And I hated the more boring parts of fieldwork. And all the reading of dry, technical scientific articles. And the whole publish or perish thing. Okay – maybe I would be an archaeologist if money wasn’t an issue and I could kind of just float around, picking the work I want to do and letting someone else handle the boring stuff. So, that’s a “win the lotto” hobby – not an ideal job.

Being a teacher! Maybe a social studies teacher in a private school for smart kids. Summers off to do archaeology, expensed history books, work with smart people. Except – I don’t want to go for my Masters in Education (and the history pre-reqs I would surely need). Oh, and I don’t really have any desire to teach.

Getting a little more difficult. What about my current job? I love my job! I do, really. Embarassingly, I am not always sure how to explain what it is I do, but I get to do marketing, customer service and think about and contribute to interesting topics and problems.  I work for a company that does good things, and I work in an environment that encourages me to grow, question, learn and that also solicits my opinions. And, I work with awesome people. So, I love my job. But is it my ideal job? Nope.

Don’t get me wrong – assuming my career continues an upward (and maybe sometimes sideways) trajectory, I will be a very happy camper. I want to learn more about customer experiences and think about ways to effect change. So, if I do this or something like this on a continuously improving level (and salary!)  for the next 40 years I will have no regrets and consider it a great career.  But my dream career? Nope. I have a feeling that most people feel the same way about their jobs. Or at least, I hope that people feel at least this way about their jobs.

And then it occurred to me – My ideal job would be a spa or luxury travel reviewer. It’s perfect! Travel, meeting new people, writing, giving people my opinion (man, I am incredibly self-important!), and presumably it pays somewhat decently. Right?

See, that’s the problem. I have no idea how this whole thing works. I started thinking about why I am not a travel writer.  The first reason is that it never really occurred to me until about Saturday. The second is that I do love my current job, and certainly was not thinking of rocking the boat now. The third, and probably most important is – I have zero idea of what it really entails. How does one get started in this? Is it generally freelance? Is this something that could pay the bills? I have lots of bills and can’t really afford to make less than I do.

Do I have to just start writing reviews of things and submitting them to magazines and hope someone thinks I am awesome and eventually starts paying me? Do I have to start in a mail room somewhere, making someone else’s travel itineraries until someone (accidentally!) falls down a flight of stairs and I have to bravely go in their stead and then the senior editor realizes I am the J.K. Rowling of the luxury travel world? How much do reviewers make? Is it a cut throat business or a little known secret? Is it one of those things where these people were already super rich and do this for fun?

I have no idea. I am going to start looking into it, because my gut says that you probably have to freelance for awhile. And if that’s all that comes of this thought, I will be super, super excited. And for the love of all things holy – if you have any idea where to start researching or you are best friends with the editor of a travel magazine and you think I am the best blogger ever, hook a girl up!

So, that’s why I don’t have my dream job. Yet. Or I may never. Or I will just never be happy because even when I had the guts and financial means to go for my dream, I declined (apologies to all of my awesome professors who wrote me recommendations).

What’s your dream job? Please don’t say something like “I want to get paid to sit home and watch TV” or “caretaker of giant pile of money” or “one of the first 5 employees at Google”. Is it your current job? Your boss’ job? Would you rather be a doctor? Is it in your field, but with a different company?  And almost as importantly – why isn’t it your job now?

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