Friday, February 11, 2005

Wanted: A cool job that doesn't require actual ability

If you could have any job you wanted, regardless of money, skill or talent, what would it be?

My ‘dream job’ fantasy goes something like this: After a short career as a professional athlete winning double Olympic gold medals in triathlon and the 100 metre freestyle, I’d become a back-up dancer for Justin Timberlake.

After a few years on tour, I’d try my hand as a columnist with the New York Times writing about whatever I felt like writing about.

I’d follow that up with a stint as a professional chocolate taster in Belgium, while drawing a wildly popular comic strip on the side.

Sadly, my string of dream jobs in no way reflects any actual abilities I possess. I lack the discipline, youth and raw talent to become a world-class athlete. I don’t have the rhythm, coordination and motivation needed to be a professional dancer. A column in the New York Times? Pure whimsy. I’d be lucky to get a column in the Master’s Swimming newsletter.

When I was a kid, I always had an answer to the ubiquitous question "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Mostly I just wanted to be able to stay up late, eat junk food and watch TV.

But I also wanted to write mystery novels, be a Solid Gold dancer, have my own radio show, or be a girl detective like my hero Nancy Drew.

At some point, we all grow up and make the best of whatever skills and talents we have (or don’t have). Some of us feel an added pressure to make a positive contribution to society or help others. So we end up happily (or unhappily) living a life a lot different than the one we dreamed for ourselves.

In a way, my real life is like a funhouse mirror reflection of my dream life. It’s a bit twisted and distorted, but the general image is the same. I’m not an Olympic gold medallist but that doesn’t stop me from competing in swim meets, triathlons and other races. I’m not a professional dancer but I pretend I am when I shake my ass around the living room.

I don’t have a column in the New York Times but I have this blog. I’m something of an expert in the finer points of dark chocolate -- 70 per cent cocoa is best! And I draw a comic strip, which is wildly popular among my family and friends but in a "it’s so bad it’s good" kind of way.

Unfortunately, none of this pays the rent. I have a real job for that. As much as I like my job, I wouldn’t call it a dream job. I’m stuck inside the office most of the time when I’d rather be outside, meeting people, doing new things.

Anyway, back to the original question. If you could have any job you wanted, regardless of money, skill or talent, what would it be?


Anonymous said...

Professional philanthropist. Can you think of anything more fun than giving away billions of dollars to support projects and people that are important and worthwhile? -K

Anonymous said...

oh sarah, where to begin? first of all, you are very talented! i can't do half the things you do, including shaking my ass! but i think that if you were to do all the things you love to do and get paid to do them, you may not like them so much anymore. it's this whole leisure stuff that i keep hearing about day in and day out.

anyhoo...if i were to do anything i wanted, besides being on y&r, i'd like to be an actor on a show like the oc. i could do it!

Carrie said...

I'd be a researcher - preferably in the medical or philanthropic areas.

Mostly I'd just like to do my work with good people who act like humans instead of cannibals. ;-)

Alan said...

Don't confuse work with your hobbies. The best way to kill an interest in something is to do it for a living. I'm a retired gigolo (just kidding).
Love your blog! Very good.

Sarah said...

I worry that if I were paid to do the things I love to do, it would become work. Which is why I'm happy to keep my fantasies a fantasy!

Some of you seem like better people than terms of fantasies involving wanting to do things for the better good of society.

-- Sarah