What Is Your Dream Job?

By Lynn Truong on 6 August 2007 (Updated 18 August 2007) 31 comments

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.

Sarah Winfrey
Sarah Winfrey 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!

Justin Ryan
Justin RyanOkay, 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.

Philip Brewer
Philip BrewerComputer 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.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

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.

Will Chen
Will ChenI 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
Beth L. ChapmanAfter 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!

 

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Guest's picture
Melanie

It is interesting - I didn't discover what I wanted to be when I 'grew up' until I was in my thirties.

I always wanted to do something artistic or creative, and while I have talent - I never had the amazing talent of those in the fine-arts or graphic arts field. I hav floundered through my career never really all that satisfied with what I was doing. I never completed college because I never dicovered what it was that made me passionate.

Then I worked in an office and started dabbling in Marketing, and found that I loved it. I could tap into my creative-thinking abilities (I love to problem solve) and my slightly artistic side. I also found I loved the social aspect of marketing. Finally, I discovered what it is I wanted to be when I grow up (better late than never)!

To pinpoint what I would like to do is run marketing for a small to medium size business. To achieve this dream I am taking on as much of the marketing as I can take while completing my currently assigned tasks. I attend on-line seminars to learn as much as I can, and in the fall I will be attending an on-line college to earn my degree. Eventually I would love to be in business for myself, but for now I am satisfied with the goals I am working towards at this time.

Guest's picture
lucille

I have done a few of my dream jobs. Sometimes finding yourself in that dream job can kill the fantasy pretty fast. I worked in graphic design and web marketing, something I drove hard to get where I was as the web emerged. After a few years of loving the job I totally burned out. I was sick of difficult clients and sick of marketing completely.

I worked as a costume designer. I still love the creative process of the job but I don't live in an area where that kind of work exists anymore and I physically can't pull off the level of crazy it takes to meet the deadlines anymore. It is a much more hands on job that most people think. I'm glad I did it though.

What I found in these and some of the other career incarnation s is what I hate and don't want to deal with.

Mine are:
Commuting
Anything that involves a cubicle
Clients, I don't want to deal with that relationship anymore. Though dealing with middlemen doesn't seem to have as many problems.
Deadlines, I just can't work in a deadline situation anymore for a number of reasons.

My dream job is to work as an artist. Right now the hurdle is finding an outlet for the things I create. That has been both intimidating and challenging. The concept of creating what inspires me without a deadline or demanding client has a great appeal.

Myscha Theriault's picture

Hi Lynn.

One thing my husband and I would both love is to be the people who hand out money to worthwhile projects and needy groups of people. This would include tackling major world issues like health, economy and education. I'm really intrigued with micro credit financing entities. They are a powerful way to get people who would otherwise not be able to participate in a world economy into the game.  

 

Guest's picture
Cheryl

I tell everyone that my "dream job" is the Wal Mart greeter! Good benfits, No stress..just greeting people at the front door, directing them to returns, and handing out smiley face stickers all day!!

Guest's picture
Todd

Realistically speaking, I would be a professional book-writer (an author). I say realistically because being a "playboy" isn't a real profession haha.

This started to become my goal just last year and I tried to make a promise to myself that by the age of 30, I wanted writing to be my sole source of income. I've finished writing one novel and submitted my very first proposal about 2 months ago (haven't heard back at all yet) and I'm currently working on the sequel to that first book.

I am basically fed up with being in the IT industry; I've been working as a computer support tech in some way, shape or form for the last 7 years. I will admit that I got my BS in Computer Science ONLY for the promise of the high income (which I only achieved after moving to Colorado and changing jobs in 2006). I won't say it was a mistake but all that time in college and all the debt I amassed in student loans has really amounted to an unfulfilling career prospect.

I've always been ON computers (since I was about 4 years old) and I can use them really well. That was why I decided going into an IT career would be easy for me. As it turned out, I enjoy my work so much better when I'm allowed to be creative, and finishing my first writing project was one of the most satisfying events in my life thus far.

Guest's picture
Ian

I, like many others, fell into the trap of going through college with no real direction or passion for what I was going to do when I entered the workforce. As such, I have had some good, but unfulfilling jobs. However, while attending graduate school (part-time, at night, after work), I recently had an epiphany. I always remembered thinking during undergraduate study that I could do a better job than some of my professors. Well, why not do so? I have always enjoyed teaching/presenting at work and school. The lifestyle of a college professor is great, the pay is decent, and you can have summers off. So, long story short: college professor is my dream job (well, to be specific, tenured college professor).

What I'm doing to get there:
Luckily, I am only 2 courses away from my Masters degree. With that, I can begin to teach some classes as I pursue my Doctorate. I plan to take 1 year in between Masters completion and teaching so that I can save up some money (going from my current position to Doctorate student/part time professor is going to be an adjustment) and so I don't totally burn out (it has been 3 years since I started my Masters; it takes a while when you're only taking 1 class at a time). I guess I'm in the lucky position to finally know where I'm going.

Guest's picture
Zachary

My dream job would be as a professional personal finance blogger!

Guest's picture

I haven't figured out what my dream job quite is yet! I'm 33 I better get cracking.

I have a PhD that I don't really use, I work part time from home doing quality control for a legal coding company and I do enjoy that but it wasn't my "dream"... I like blogging a lot more than I thought I would but I'm not sure I have the commitment to try to make a living at it...

I guess right now, raising my kids to be good people is my dream job and I'm loving it ;)

Guest's picture

For the last five years every night I dream vividly about being a photographer. I dream that I travel and take portraits of people from across the country and around the world. The places in my dream are so beautiful and the people I meet inspire me in my dreams and real world.

In my dreams I take photos for people based on their budget as well as free ones for people in need. Money is not an object because my needs are met and I love what I am doing. In my dream I am so happy and the people I take photos of are pleased. It's the greatest feeling in the world.

About a year ago I decided to expand my hobby and try to make the dream real. I started taking more photos and taking a few classes. I also did some small weddings and portratis for a small donations and free.

In my dream I create stunning work that leaves me breathless. Each day I work harder to learn something new and try new ideas so that I can my dreams a reality.

Guest's picture

For the last five years every night I dream vividly about being a photographer. I dream that I travel and take portraits of people from across the country and around the world. The places in my dream are so beautiful and the people I meet inspire me in my dreams and real world.

In my dreams I take photos for people based on their budget as well as free ones for people in need. Money is not an object because my needs are met and I love what I am doing. In my dream I am so happy and the people I take photos of are pleased. It's the greatest feeling in the world.

About a year ago I decided to expand my hobby and try to make the dream real. I started taking more photos and taking a few classes. I also did some small weddings and portratis for a small donations and free.

In my dream I create stunning work that leaves me breathless. Each day I work harder to learn something new and try new ideas so that I can my dreams a reality.

Guest's picture

I am currently Freelancing while in school and I love it. Once I get my masters I hope to open my own firm doing web and software development. I get to make my own hours and do what I love to do. Plus I help other people make their ideas reality.

Guest's picture
Ceri

My dream job is what I'm working as already - a consultant. Lots of challenges, things to do, people to work with on teams, and new things to learn.

I also get my hotels paid for, food paid for, and I get to travel to different cities for free. I managed to give up my apartment, live on much MUCH less, and put all of that towards debt..

Doesn't get better than this.

P.S. Any dream job has its downfalls... no job's perfect.

Guest's picture
Bloggrrl

My dream is to have two dream jobs--part-time of course--because I am easily bored. I would spend half of my working hours writing and the other half teaching ESL. I am working towards this goal by writing during my spare time, in the hope that I will eventually make enough to quit the day job teaching ED kids and have some time to teach ESL, maybe even in Mexico! (I already have a master's degree in ESL, so that part is taken care of already.) So, if you are in the market for a laptop, do come to my blog and click on my Chitika mini-mall. You'll be helping someone fulfill their dreams...:-D

Guest's picture
Jenny P

My dream job is to work at an aquarium, with the sharks. I'd love to dive with them, feed them, and just sit around studying them. Of course, if I could also go out in the wild for the same sort of job, that would be even better! Additionally, if I could also have some involvement with teaching children about sharks and other fish, that would just be total bliss.

Guest's picture
Sandy

My dream job would be to illustrate anime graphic novels. But here's the catch...I don't draw that well. I'm starting college right after high school this fall, and I plan to register for a digital art course. Of course, it's not like that would be the first time I took art classes...but maybe in college things will be more challenging. In the meantime, I'm practicing with cheap pencils and papers, and free programs on the computer!

Guest's picture

Funny you should ask because it has been on the my mind for the last couple of months. I've explored various options and followed my passions in studying art and theatre.

I've never felt that I had my dream job and then became dissapointed over time. Every time I took a job I knew I was compromising. At the moment I have the best that I think I can get while working for somebody else.

That means that I am paid a decent salary to be in a certain place from 8 to 5 every day doing stuff that I mostly enjoy. I have freedom to set my own tasks and deadlines and I have a very amicable boss and a pleasant working environment.

But what I do not have is the freedom to really live. The best part of every day I spend in an office stretching out the work I have to fit the time frame.

My dream job would mean that if I get a porridge hug from my son in the morning it would not matter. My son is a creative eater and I have to fend him of in the morning otherwise I will have stains all over my work clothes.

I want a job where I have the freedom to speak my mind, the space to explore the world and a have a lot of fun every day. I want a job where I can also give that to my family.

My dream job is to be a life explorer.

I am developing two websites (one on artists and one on theatre) that over time will provide a passive income while giving me interesting things to do and people to meet. I am planning to start a blog about living which might make some money. But I also hope that it will give me a springboard to launch workshops and publishing projects from.

Whatever my dream is though, if we are not having fun on our way there, it does not matter where we are going.

My dream job in the end is having a life that works for me rather than just working for a living.

Gerhi Janse van Vuuren

Guest's picture
Peggy

Don't roll your eyes, but I really think my current job is my dream job. I work as a medical writer, working as the liason between pharmaceutical companies and the FDA. I get to read, write and summarize the results from clinical studies and present them to the FDA.

But the main reason why I consider this my dream job is because my whole career path has been about pursuing my dream of combining science and writing. I had gone through the whole pre-med/graduate school training and all my professors were pushing me to become a researcher and head of a lab. I kept asking about alternative careers involving writing, and got blank stares and animosity from my research-oriented peers. Or they would mock me and ask if I wanted to write science fiction novels or those "fluff" pieces for the newspaper which they felt dumbed down science. When I'd finally worked up the courage to tell my advisor that I'd decided not to get a postdoc position but that I was going to try to find "something else" (I really had no clue what sort of job to get outside the lab), she berated me and then turned her back on me, refusing to help. So I literally started from scratch, goign through the newspaper and job ads, really just having no idea what type of job I was seeking. I did a stint in advertising and then stumbled upon my current position by pure chance. At first, the hiring manager flat out told me they weren't hiring anybody for the medical writing position, but then she introduced me to the president and she loved my enthusiasm and took a chance. And now here I am, living my dream job!

Guest's picture
DivaJean

Easy- it would be product development for American Girl Dolls (Mattel).

My daughter is into these dolls- and so am I. I have developed a knack for coming up with outfits, storylines, etc for the "girls"- so much so that some of my online AG friends think this is my calling.

AND--- I would continue to listen to the market. Mattel has been closing some of the product lines and turning off some longtime collectors for short term gain.

Guest's picture
jos

at first thought ... id love to travel the world take photos or landscapes and people an foods and get paid, alot... not all to realistic and it would prob get old fast so id say that my dream job would be to own my own business, currently im leaning towards a photography studio that would do events, weddings, sport team shots, and anything else someone wanted. A few years ago i wanted to own a ben and jerrys... so the stable thought it my mind is that my "dream job" is to be my own boss and own a company

Guest's picture
SharonP

I have my dream job: I'm a creative recruiter for a creative staffing agency. I love my job because I work with graphic designers, web designers, and copywriters to help match them up with employment opportunities all throughout the city of Chicago. I absolutely love the process of meeting with them, helping them polish their resume, and reviewing their sample portfolios. I also get to work with local college students enrolled in arts programs to help them craft their portfolio and learn interviewing techniques. I have to say: I love my job!

Guest's picture
Amy

I have been fortunate to finally get my dream job as a school librarian. I am almost 40 and just finished graduate school to obtain my Master of Library Science with school media certification (I used to be a paralegal:( ) I just landed a job at a brand new middle school and am getting ready to start living the dream. To me, there is nothing more exciting than introducing great books to students. It is my goal to have a book (or magazine)in every student's hands by the end of the school year.

Andrea Karim's picture

Oh, man. Perfumer.

If I had the technology, I'd totally go back in time, attend the right classes in France, and be a "nose" at a reputable fragrance house.

 

Guest's picture
Guest

Ever since highschool I've been interested in Psychology, but my love of animals had me wondering if I should persue something along the lines of Biology or Ecology. At the end of my Junior year at Marlboro College I came across the perfect blending of my two passions: animal-assisted therapy. This is kind of like using animals as an adjunct to therapy, like art therapy or music therapy. I specifically would like to help children learn about healthy relationships and personal responsibility though the use of our animal buddies. During the next year I am writing my undergraduate thesis on animal-assisted therapy, its various modes and models as well as how it is effective. Through my work I would also like to educate about the unique bond some people have with some animals, and vice versa. I want to make people feel better though interactions with animals, and create a kinder and more understanding place for the animals of this planet.

Guest's picture
JewelsHud

I absolutely LOVE to organize spaces, people, and things to make them more useful and efficient. It is like sugar! I am attempting to begin an organization service but want to keep it somewhat limited at this time as I have a small toddler and want to balance my time.

Guest's picture
Sarah

I'm in grad school currently to become qualified to work at my dream job! I'm in school for Urban Affairs and Public Policy, with a concentration in Historic Preservation. I want to work in preservation planning of some sort, preferably for an urban area. We'll see what happens in a year *crosses fingers*

Guest's picture
ww

I have to admit that as my life evolves my dream job changes. I once wanted to be a baker then once there I wanted to be a mechanic now as I happily repair vehicles I want to be an engineer and have been working on getting there! I love life and the pursuit of a dream so as my dreams come true I dream up a new one, four years to go until I dream up a new one!
Peace, ww

Guest's picture
Heather

I would love a career as a youth librarian and pastor's wife, involved with my community and with young adults. I'm currently pursuing a degree in Creative Writing, to be followed by grad work at UNT in Library Science. I volunteer frequently at my local public library and read widely. I'm also dating a wonderful man who's headed to seminary in two days.

Guest's picture
Tricia

My dream job would be to own and run a small motel and gift shop. I love the idea of being helpful to visitors and also having a shop that I can organize and take care of.

Guest's picture
Richard

I believe my dream job would either be a drummer or a flight instructor. I have tried being a web designer and an automotive technician, but have always enjoyed playing the drums and would like to learn to fly.

Guest's picture
Sun

During my undergraduate days, I dreamt of being a world-renowned professor. Even while doing my Masters in Computer Science, I continued to have the desire of publishing lots of path-breaking papers in some research area. However, the area in which I was working in was not very interesting (not theoretically satisfying).

So I decided to join a software company to see what it is like working for a private company. Frankly speaking, I have been enjoying my time here. I am working on high revenue generating projects. I have a smart group of co-workers. I also have a good mentor who teaches me different things about professional life. However, I still have the desire to be famous in an area of Computer Science (or any Math oriented area like Economics or Finance). Staying in this company will not help me become famous, especially because the company doesn't have a culture of publishing papers. Moreover, I also don't have prior experience performing research and so don't know what is involved in publishing papers.

So I guess my dream job is to be a highly acclaimed academician. However, I don't really know how to get there. Any suggestions ? Especially on how to find the right math-oriented area ?

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm not sure exactly what my dream job would be but I know what I am looking for in my dream job. I want a job that has good pay and benefits. It must have very flexible hours - as long as I get my 40 hours in, it doesn't matter when I work. This way, I can take breaks whenever I want (I hate asking permission to use the bathroom or to eat lunch). The job must offer a lot of vacation time that I can take without having to get permission from a boss, hr or manager. I don't like making decisions so I don't want any decision making as part of the job. I like to work alone and I don't get along with co-workers so it must be an independent job and not a team worker job. I also don't like dealing with customers so no customer service tasks or answering telephones. I don't like having a boss or supervisor breathing down my neck so the supervisor should show me what to do my very first day on the job and then it's up to me to get the work done on time. The work should be very easy. I am horrible at interviews so I want to be able to get the job without having to go through an interview.

The only job I've ever held that met all of my criteria was a data entry job for the Young America Corporation. No interview, just a typing test. I worked whenever I wanted as long as I got the job done. I didn't have a supervisor. It had great pay and benefits. I loved this job. After 2 years of working for them, they decided to outsource my job to Mexico. :( Since then, I've had low paying freelance jobs that offer no benefits. I want to find stable employment but I can't find a job that suits my needs. I have social anxiety disorder so I need a job with very little human interaction. Unfortunately, most jobs have some sort of customer service or you are working as a team with other co-workers.