What Is Your Dream Job?
I honestly don't know what my dream job would be. I started with wanting to be an actress to producer (my last job squashed any glamorous visions of the Entertainment industry), to psychiatrist to writer and now...I don't know. All I know for sure is what I don't want to do:
- have a long commute
- spend all day doing things that don't matter to me
- not have any decision making abilities on the projects I'm completing
- work for someone I don't respect
- doesn't challenge me daily and help me grow into a better person in general
What I'm doing to get my dream job: I'm not doing any of the above.
Does anybody have any inspiring stories of finding your dream job, or even figuring out what it is you want to do and actually taking steps to getting it? Here is what other Wise Bread bloggers have to say. Please share your story in the comments and be entered into a random drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate!
CONGRATULATIONS TO TODD, OUR WINNER FOR THE $25 AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATE DRAWING. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING.
I'd love to work for myself. Specifically, I'd love to spend my mornings making stationery, invitations, journals, and whatever other papers products I could get people to buy. Then, I'd like to spend my afternoons either writing (for publication--articles or books) or working with people in some sort of not-yet-defined helping capacity.
What am I doing towards this? I'm learning all about paper products, how to make them, get them printed, etc. I'm learning Inkscape (like Illustrator) for design and even honing my XHTML/CSS/PHP skills both to help me out in starting this business and possibly as something that will generate some income while allowing me to exercise my design skills before the other project takes off. I'm also pursuing some writing gigs. My MA already qualifies me to work with people in some capacities, so I'm looking for clients and networking opportunities for that. I'm so far from my goal, but it feels good just to be doing something!
Okay, so I'm going to be the one who says it: I have my dream job.
I run my own tech consulting and web design business. I get to decide what projects to take, and if I have a project I don't want to do, I can assign it to someone else. (I have a group of independent contractors to whom I subcontract jobs.) Granted, I'd love to have *more* business (who wouldn't?), but I'm happy to be working for myself. I get to set my own schedule, work when I want to, even code in my pajamas at 3AM if I want to (and sometimes, I do!).
Of course, just because I have the job I want doesn't mean I don't have to keep working at it to keep it. I'm constantly coming up with new ideas and promotions, and finding ways to expand the business into new areas and replace markets that have been exhausted.
I suppose my "get-your-dream-job" advice is: Decide what you want to do, learn about what you have to do to get there, develop a plan, and then execute it. If you work smart and follow your plan, you'll eventually get where you want to be. The hardest part, though, is deciding where that is.
Computer programming was my first dream job. All through college I worked as a "student operator" (changing paper on the printer and helping other students with their programming homework) and generally spent every spare minute in the computer center. In those days computers were not things ordinary people could afford, so you pretty much had to be a student, work in the field, or be really rich if you wanted access to computers. I can remember thinking more than once, after I got my first real job in software, "They're paying me for this! I hope they don't find out that I'd do it for free to get access to the hardware."
It didn't last, though. Doing software became less fun. It's been a gradual thing, with ups as well as downs. About twenty years ago I found a great place to work and a chance to work on software that excited me. Over time, though, I got tired of software in general, and I got tired in particular of the non-software parts of the job--it started feeling like I was spending more time reporting my status than I was making forward progress.
My next dream job was to be a writer. I'd always been a writer. I sold my first story in 1979 and I never really quit writing, but that work took a backseat to the software, and I didn't make much progress with it. In 2001 I decided to get serious about the writing. I started writing daily. I attended Clarion, a science fiction and fantasy writers workshop. I sold a couple more stories, but I didn't become a breakout success. My day job took so much time and energy, that it was hard to put the time into my writing that I wanted. I started to yearn for a way to write full time.
One of the things that made me feel trapped in the software work was that it was very well paid. My wife and I had always been inclined toward frugality, and that plus the good pay made it possible to save and invest. I started compulsively checking on my investments, tracking my future pension, and projecting when I'd achieve escape velocity.
When I found out that my employer was closing the site where I've been working the past 20 years, I had already calculated that I'd be able to quit working a regular job within another couple of years. With the job going away before that, I'm expecting things to be a little tight, but I think we'll be okay.
When people here ask my plans, I say I'm going to be a full-time writer. I've got a novel I'm working on that I'll write in the morning. I've got some non-fiction projects in mind that I'll work on in the afternoon. With our savings and investments, we'll be able to eke out a meager existence. If we're able to make any money from our art, then our standard of living will higher, but we'll be okay either way.
As of today, I'm three weeks away from my dream job.
I loved watching Growing Pains as a kid. I always thought Dr. Seaver had the best job in the world! He was able to provide his family with a comfortable living and be available to his kids at all times. To top things off, he was able to help a lot of people just by talking to them. (Well, 90% of the time it was to get Mike and Boner out of trouble, but occasionally he does have paying clients.)
For me, contributing to a blog like Wise Bread is a step towards the Growing Pains fantasy. I get to do my work at home and most of my work involves helping people achieve their goals of becoming professional writers. I think Dr. Seaver would be pleased.
Beth L. Chapman
After years of overanalyzing my skills and goals I've come to the conclusion that my "dream job" can be summed up as "paid vacationer." Not that this title means I expect someone to pay me to sunbathe all summer - I'd be more like a photo-journalist. My work would be to photograph and write magazine articles about any and all of my pleasure-seeking experiences. With this type of loose job description I could enjoy a constant stream of timely, exciting subject material. I'd bounce back and forth between food critic and film critic, beachcomber and mountain climber, world traveler and backyard gardener. Theoretically, this "dream job" is my current hobby (since I'm not getting paid for it), but I'm confident that one day that situation will change. In the past I have managed to turn my interests and hobbies into paying jobs, from cosmetics craver to make-up artist, from puzzle magazine aficionado to editor/test solver. It's important to like what you do.
Tell us your about your dream job and what you're doing to achieve it. You'll be entered in a random drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. Deadline to enter drawing is 8/12. Don't forget to enter your email address in the field provided and only one entry per person!
THE DRAWING HAS ENDED. CONGRATULATIONS TO TODD, OUR WINNER OF THE DRAWING!