What’s Your Dream Job?

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ESPN Dream Job Logo, credit: ESPN.comMy wife and I are both job-hunting, and I’ve been thinking a lot about careers in general. I also recently watched the movie High Fidelity. If you haven’t seen it, there is a scene where John Cusack has a list of his top 5 dream jobs if “qualifications, history, time, and salary were no object.” After going through them, he realizes that he is already doing one of his dream jobs, owning his own record store. So I wondered, what are/were my dream jobs? Here they are, sorted by era, along with why it didn’t work out.

High School – High School Math Teacher
High school was where I first realized that good teachers can change your life by showing the beauty in a subject. Seriously. I also tutored some math and ACT/SAT students, and it was very rewarding. The problem? I was afraid that I would feel more like parent than a teacher, and I don’t have that kind of patience. Also, let’s face it, the pay is horrible.

College – Professor of Physics [at a small liberal arts college].
I still think about this sometimes. I love physics, also in large part to a great teacher. Besides the difficulty in getting the degree, the number of Physics Ph.Ds churned out every year compared to the number of tenure-track positions available is insane. You need to graduate from a top school to even have a chance. On top of that, you would have no power to choose where you lived. If a position opens up, you had better take it!

Corporate Worker – Optometrist
I have to admit, this was a very selfish choice. I was tired of feeling like an under-appreciated worker bee, and I wanted out. Being an optometrist seemed like the best combination of salary, autonomy, and quality of life. I really have no idea what the true life of an optometrist is like. It also would have required a lot more schooling and tuition.

Currently – Own My Own Educational Software Company
See a theme? I think that educational software is going to be a huge field in the future. We need to improve how our children learn. If the government doesn’t support this, then pro-active parents will buy it themselves as a supplement. You already see this in many areas, such as the SATs. I still have a ton to learn before I can achieve this, and my dream job may change in the meantime, but there you go.

So, what’s your dream job? (Pro athlete or big-inheritance aspirations aside.) It’d be especially awesome to hear from people actually doing their dream jobs.

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  1. My dream is sports writer. Watch the exciting games and write game summaries and comments. Unfortunately my writing is not good enough for me to get anywhere close to that kind of job.

  2. dude… optometrist? you should intern with an optometrist.. you will find its quite boring.. looking at eyeballs.. go the next level and be an opthamologist

  3. My dream job? Rock star. In fact, I’m pursuing that now (part time of course) 😉

  4. My dream job is to be a professional baseball scout. I have no idea what the pay is, but I like travelling I love watching baseball. What a perfect mix.

  5. I used to think that some sort of independant doctor would be nice (optometry, chiropractic, etc) but I don’t like dealing with and small talking to new/different people all the time. Maybe it’s a huge character flaw.

    I’m still searching for a “dream job”. I have a degree in computers (MIS), but find the average positions available to be far from the stereotypes. Most of it is “keep everything running without spending any money”. There’s also been little or no incentive to get certified in a path. My current employer doesn’t cover any continuing education (from professional meetings/seminars to tuition) and my previous (Fortune 50) employer thought they were too big to need to worry about certificates.

    I’m not even sure what exactly I’m looking for yet. In some ways I think teaching and medical degrees offer much better exposure for their students by way of rotations, student teaching, internships, and hand-on real world experience. I wish I had the chance to try all the various areas of computers. How do you apply to be a medium wage intern though? I just want a job where I wake up wanting to work more often than wanting to curl up and die.

    I’ve tried the personality test things (Meyer-Briggs, etc.), but haven’t found much that REALLY excites me on the lists of suggested jobs.

    I’ve been lost in this question since graduating.

  6. As a business broker, I read your question and I interpret your question really as: “what job gives me the best quality of life”. In my profession, I’ve seen a variety of different jobs/careers/businesses. I’ve concluded that having my own business is my dream job and will give me (based on my particular needs) my best quality of life.

    But owning your own business is not easy. In fact, it can be incredibly stressful and lead to the break-down of family relationships, be a huge strain on your personal health and vitality, and be a a financial money-pit. But the upside is tremendous as well…

  7. That is funny – if ?qualifications, history, time, and salary were no object.?

    You should start a tag thing like the “5 things people do not know about me”. Tag someone to list their dream jobs.

  8. If you’re good with numbers and are detail-oriented, you may like being an actuary. Quality of life and salary are great, and there are lots of jobs. It’s also good if you like to study and take tests, since you move up in the ranks that way.

    Anyway, my dream job is manuscript editing. I’m working on it!

  9. My dream job is to be a world traveller for those travel channels.

  10. Jonathan, some high school teachers in very good school districts make close to a 6 figure income.

    I was an instructor at a university for 5 years. Best darn years of my life. Still felt like i was a college student but with money!!

    I partied with the students till wee hours of the morning, and then I would see some of them in my class the next day. I was a cool Prof. I was only 27 when I started working at the university.

    But reality hit me and I quit, because the pay sucked! I was getting older but the students remained the same age. I didnt want to be known as the dirty old cool professor.

  11. My dream job is to teach full time at a community college. I went to a community college. Most of the business/computer tenure full time instructors have a lot of free time to have their side businesses. Some make a lot of money from their business/ consultation while the full time jobs give them stable monthly incomes. The good thing is they don’t even have to publish any paper or do any research. They only work three days a week at the school. If they wanted more money, they could teach during the Summer. Well, it is not easy to get a full time position at a JC.

  12. – High School math/physics/computer teacher.
    – College engineering professor without obligation to do research and publish.
    – Financial planner.
    – Product design with an innovative consulting company like IDEO.

  13. Ooo, some good ones here.

    Being the next Globe Trekker person would definitely be a dream. Too bad it looks like I’ll have go for the paying route.

    I don’t like the pressure to publish either. That’s why I wanted to work at a small liberal art college.

    I’ve thought about teaching Physics in JC too. One plus is that at many JC the employees get free tuition, so you could take any and all courses you want for free. That would be neat to try out French, then Auto repair, then business classes…

    IDEO, I’ve been to some of their recruitment things. Let’s just say I wish I could be that creative. I don’t think I’d cut it there even if I got the job.

  14. My fantasy dream job is make tons of money making movies. My dream job is to build and own a software company (and hopefully be making enough money to be able to retire comfortably).

  15. I would like to be a college marketing professor, and own some kind of business that is yet to be determined.

  16. Am I only one who dreams about NOT having a job?

  17. I just quit from a community college…..man!! JC suck!

    You work odd hours. A class in the morning, late evening till 9pm, Saturday classes and sometimes sunday classes too. And people dont appreciate you.

    Pay is not as good as u think. Try $50K for a fully qualified Masters holder in Computer Science with 6 years of experience under his belt.
    Trust me, teaching at a community college is for losers and desperados. Take a look at the college professors in a community college. 80% of them are a bunch of losers.

  18. I am doing it and have always done it… I began in high schhol as an acor off braodway and in feature films. Did that while I got my BA. When LA called, I ventured West to continue small roles in films and get my MFA. Two years later I got a tenure track position in Miami. They give me all the time off for films and commercials as needed (called research in my tenure track profile) and gives me great money and close to 4 months off a year plus I only teach three days a week… can’t beat that with a stick…

  19. When I was in high school, I wanted to a limo driver; I wanted to drive the black Fleetwood Cadilacs; take people from their homes to the airport and back; I’ve have my radio, phone, coffee and paper and be on call; back and forth to the airport, get the tips, haul some luggage and drive back and forth from airport to the suburbs…currently, I’d like to take digital pictures of commercial airliners and get paid for it; hey, some people are into birds that sit in cages, I’m into large commerical airlners like the Boeing 777.

  20. I think there’s a whole lot of jobs out there that nobody thinks about. On my list was tour guide and garbage collector (lots of exercise outside!), http://stormy.blogs.com/stormy/2006/11/what_would_you_.html. But hands down, I’d be a permanent student if I could do whatever I wanted.

  21. Fighter pilot! That didn’t work out, but now I make flight simulators for Boeing.

  22. My dream job is to have bought Ebay yesterday!!

  23. good man bigjohn, good man.

  24. Food network star, or food editor for sunset magazine. You get to try all of the food… Mmmm… But then I’ll get fat…

  25. Head of my own social enterprise – helping people, not worrying about fundraising, and getting paid to do good.

  26. My dream job would be to run a successful online business selling something special that I could package and ship myself. I’d like to spend less than 4 hrs a day on it, make lots of money, and spend the rest of of my time with my beautiful daughter doing really fun things.

  27. turning every idea into a business… and then selling it.

  28. sfmoneymusings says

    My dream job is to be a writer for a fashion magazine covering global women’s issues. Something alone the lines of Marie Claire and Elle magazines …

    i’m amazed at how much you’re interested in teaching and helping the future scientists and doctors excel. it does take a lot of patience to work teach math though and sometimes you have to explain things five different times in order for it to make sense. that’s how it was for my math teacher who was exasperated at times when I didn’t understand which formulas to use in pre-calculus.

  29. I wanted to be a CFP (certified financial planner) at one point. How about marketing and advertising without the politics and the overhype. I like creative outlets but would bow down on terribly stressful endeavors. P.S. I love John Cusack.

  30. Savvy Steward says

    My dream job would be a writer/traveler for Lonely Planet. It would be awesome to get paid to travel and visit so many wonderful places, hotels, restaurants, etc.

  31. RavenWolf says

    Well, here’s my list of dreams… if there was nothing in my way…

    Paranormal Investigator

    Movie writer/producer/director.

    Arabian racehorse trainer

    Private Investigator/Criminal profiler, specializing in violent crimes, the occult.

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