My Dream Job

Here’s my homework for my Speech class tonight. Enjoy:

My Dream Job.

That’s a doozy, isn’t it? It’s supposed to be an easy question right? Figure out what you like doing, or at the very least, what you’re good at doing and do that, but for money. My problem is 2-fold. 1) Right now, my dream job is the one that pays the mortgage and keeps the kids fed. 2) I’ve never really known what I like to do.

Now I’m not talking about the general ennui that seems to affect so many people of my generation. The cynicism and boredom that has us thinking “everything worthwhile has been done before, so why should I bother trying anything?” That’s bullshit. The world is huge and amazing and full of questions to be asked, problems to be solved, fun to be had and wonder to be created. You get one life, and to waste it by not even trying is the height of self-absorption. Sorry, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

My problem is that I like too many things. The world is just awesome, and there are so many things to try, so many opportunities one could miss. I’ve tried so many different jobs, trying to find one that paid the bills and gave me the opportunity to do something interesting. Starting from the age of 16 on I’ve been a: Dishwasher, Line Cook, McDonald’s register monkey, Poster and Art framer, office supplies salesman, and a PC repair tech. I’ve worked in a print shop, I’ve been the head cook at a conference center, a rock climbing instructor, maintenance guy, recreation director and program director at a summer camp. I’ve packed and shipped exotic flowers and I’ve been a tool operator, delivery driver, Quality Control and ISO 9001 auditor at a glass fab plant. I’ve been a forklift operator at at lumberyard, a bartender, computer chip manufacturer, and now I’m a waiter and a part-time magician.

I’ve been payed to play on the beach and then help kids to shatter their self-imposed limits. I’ve stacked lumber in -20 below temperatures and cursed everything about New England then driven tour buses up and down the coast of Maine marveling at the natural beauty of its beaches and the engineering marvels of its lighthouses.

I’ve done it all to the best of my ability and been pretty good at most of it. I can see myself doing almost any of these things again. So lack of skill isn’t really a limiting factor.

If anything my problem is that I want to do too much. I want to learn how to do everything, to face new challenges, to try and find my limits, and once I’ve done that, I love to share it with other people. I took fencing for fun a few years ago, and all I could do (all I still do) was tell everyone around me how fantastic it was and try to get as many people interested as I could. I’m excited about learning new things, and even more excited about sharing them with others. The closest I’ve come is working at camp. I used to joke that I’d have to keep 4 changes of clothes in my office because at any moment I could be called to go under a building and fix a leaky toilet, teach a canoeing class in the salt marsh, make a country-style breakfast for 150 guests who suddenly decided they wanted meals after all, spend the day re-writing the staff manual or having a business lunch with the board of directors. It was stressful and chaotic and hectic and wonderful, but but it really doesn’t translate well into the Monster.com job search.

But even camp wasn’t quite right. (Maybe once we know each other better I’ll tell you why. 🙂 After all these experiences, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m no closer to answering this question than I was in high school. I started college as a double major, Physics and English, hoping that after a while some path would become clear. It didn’t, so I joined the working world and tried to find an answer out there. I didn’t. Now I have a life I never dreamed of, one with a wonderful wife and two beautiful kids. My time to just dither around with dead-end jobs is over. The pressure’s on. I’ve got to find that dream job and fast, so that Zoe and Orion have a childhood better than mine and a future brighter that I could have imagined for myself.

So now I’m here, at Assumption, hoping that this time I’ll be able to finish my education, and in doing so, find the answer I’ve been looking for. So for now, I’ll have to leave you with this: My dream job is one that pays the bills well enough and long enough for me to figure out what my dream job is.

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