FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What’s Your Dream Job?

Hi Dunders and Mifflins! It’s me, Mey, and I’m back in the Friday Open Thread driver’s seat. Actually, I probably shouldn’t be in any driver’s seat as I can’t drive. I got a license as a teen, but then my epilepsy flared up and the state took my license away. It’s been long enough that I could get it back, I just haven’t. Driving just seems really Generation X to me. How many of you drive? I know a lot lesbians don’t, but also I feel like most people probably do. But what do I know, I’m just a virgin who can’t drive.

As you may have noticed, I recently stepped down as the Trans Editor here. I’m still definitely writing for Autostraddle and involved, just not in that position. I’m in a transitional and growing period in my life, and it was time for a change. Have any of you been in this same position? Definitely being Trans Editor has been a dream job, literally. The night before Autostraddle posted that they were hiring new writers back when I applied, I had a dream that I got a job at Autostraddle. That’s not a joke. Autostraddle was my dream job. But I also have other dreams and it’s time to explore some of those (again, I’m still staying here, just in a smaller capacity). I was talking with a friend recently, and they told me about their part-time receptionist work. All the sudden I found myself really loving the idea of being a part-time receptionist while still working on my writing.

Back when I was watching The Office, I remember thinking that Pam’s job looked super awesome. I love talking to people and helping them and I absolutely love making a good first impression. I kind of think I really want to try being a receptionist for a while. I think it would be really fun. Right now my dream job is a combo writer/receptionist. What’s your dream job? Do you have it right now? Are you close to getting it? What else is going on in your life?


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Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 574 articles for us.

128 Comments

  1. Literally all I want to do is write (for myself!) full-time and also teach because wow I don’t miss grad school but I super miss teaching? But specifically I want to do these things and also pay my bills and not live in a way that requires massive financial sacrifice because I grew up working class, basically lived in poverty as a grad student, and wow, I never want to go back there again.

    I’m getting close to this life, tho! My 9-5 is as a copywriter and I also freelance for publications I love. A book project is in the works (MAKE IT SO, UNIVERSE). I have a feeling that leaving the shackles of 9-5 office life and getting back into teaching will be the last thing to come back to me, but I fully believe that it’s doable. Especially now that my Saturn Return is wrapped up, I feel basically unstoppable.

  2. That is my would-be life! I’m working two jobs right now – one a tolerable retail job and the other a really enjoyable position at the front desk of a medium sized museum. My ideal life would see me quitting the retail job and just staying on part-time at the museum (easy work, lots of talking to people from all over, awesome colleagues), while really focusing on my writing. The weird thing, though, is that I’m qualified for a much better museum job and everyone I work with expects me to apply for better jobs as they show up. It’s tricky to explain to them that I prefer a lower level, easier job, especially as I haven’t published any writing or anything yet.

  3. I’m actually going through a career change RIGHT NOW- starting next week I am leaving my desk job behind and going to be a tradeswoman / have accepted an apprenticeship with a local union. It definitely feels like a d r e a m!

  4. The receptionist/writer combo seemed to work out well for Samantha Irby? And meeting that many people all day would give you lots of material to work with!

    I kind of have my dream job but this last few weeks it has been A LOT. Glad that you will still be around, I always love your pieces.

  5. I want to be the artistic director of a non-profit off-Broadway theatre company. I currently work at a Jewish community center, which is an amazing job, but in a very different field. My JCC job gives me enough flexibility to pursue my theatre work (most of the time), so I’m good for now. Eventually I’ll want to transition back to theatre administration, but for now, I’m very happy here.

    Also, I don’t drive. I used to have a permit, but I never took my road test. My permit expired many moons ago, but I live in NYC, so I don’t need to drive.

  6. i am unbelievably lucky and kind of have my dream job?? i’m a games developer, and really the only way up from here would be to make games with more diverse people that have more meaning than free-to-play car games haha.

  7. I went out to brunch with a former co-worker of mine, and we were sitting at my favorite gay restaurant and brunch place.
    She joked with the overworked waiter that I was looking for a job, when he said, relieved,”Really? We’re hiring! You seem like a good fit,too!”
    I really wanted to take that job! I was so tempted!
    Draw drinks, serve people, smile at them, and just exist in a space with them, who are drinking and laughing and arguing and I’d be making them happy, or at least happier.
    Blending into the background amidst all of that life, pulsing and crashing in waves all around me.
    Walking out into the night, in the midst of summer, catching phrases of conversations as they drift by, setting out tables and plates and silverware in the mornings…smelling the sunrise still in the air.
    I’m an ICU doc in real life.

    • This will probably sound weird to anyone who hasn’t worked in a hospital, but when I did (speech-language pathologist) the ICU was my favorite unit, because it was so calm.

      My dream job would be to work in a teaching-&-research hospital, doing clinical speech-language pathology (particularly aphasia & dysphagia diagnosis/treatment and palliative care) about a third of the time, research on those topics about a third, and teaching (mentoring students or teaching master’s/doc students at an affiliated university) the remaining third.

      Then go to Amidola’s restaurant for lunch. 🙂

      • This sounds like a perfect plan!
        Also the trifecta of research, clinical work and teaching.
        This winter has been harsh, I feel like the warden at the river Styx more than anything lately.
        Maybe I’ll save up some money, open a tiny café and work in the clinic half time.
        Or transfer into a university hospital, that’s actually not a half bad idea!

        • I hear you. Make sure to make some time for yourself, ok? Do you have a palliative care team at your hospital that you can work with? As difficult as it was, I often found end-of-life work intensely satisfying because I could see patients’/families’ fear, stress, guilt, anxiety, etc. etc. change once there was clear acknowledgment of what was happening and a plan in place for how to respect their wishes and maintain their dignity and comfort.

          If you don’t have one but you’re interested, let’s talk. Or if you already work with one and happen to be looking for someone to collaborate with on related research 😉

    • I usually just lurk in the comments, but I can’t believe no one has said anything about this yet and it’s been bothering me for two days. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re just unfamiliar with what the service industry is and aren’t trying to be intentionally condescending. But that’s not what that job is. That’s what it’s made to look like for people like you to take your money, because you of course wouldn’t support a business that’s abusive to its employees, right? But if you’ve ever shopped at a grocery store, eaten at a restaurant, stayed in a hospital or hotel, or spoken to a customer service rep at any company ever, that’s what you’ve done. We all participate in the dehumanization of an entire industry of people for the convenience of it.

      I was 18 the first time I was sexually assaulted at work, by a customer. A man grabbed me while I was taking his order and put his hand between my legs over my slacks. He did it to make his wife cry, because she had just had a baby and he didn’t think she was losing the weight fast enough. I went and told my manager. He told me that if I was going to bitch about my tables, I could go work somewhere else. I had to continue waiting on him, continue smiling at him, “making him happier”, as you put it, because my ability to eat depended on it.

      That incident stands out in my mind because it was the first time something like that happened, but it doesn’t even make the greatest hits in the grand scheme of things. The entire point of a service job is to be available to the customer, which sounds reasonable, right? I’m available to answer questions, give directions, and help you make purchases. But that’s not what it means. It means you are totally emotionally available to your customers, all the time. If they want to complain about gays being allowed to be teachers, or Mexicans stealing from the welfare system, or selfish teachers who think they deserve Ferraris and don’t are about kids, you have to stand there and smile and nod and agree with them. I’m really confused as to why you think you get to have lively debates or arguments with your customers. If you’ve seen that happen before that worker is either messing with the customer or about to lose their job. “Rapport” is nothing but a term for a good service worker conning a sucker out of their money. Unless you knew them outside this job, before they started working it, they are not your friends. They’re your bitch, but they can still figure out how to play you with smiles and laughter and most-likely made up stories about the mundane details of their lives. They know you can lose them their livelihood with one off-handed complaint to the owner or manager about an imaginary line your think they crossed. If that line is telling a customer that you are gay and not a pedophile, so be it. If that line is asking a customer not to tell you your tattoos make you look like a cheap whore, so be it. If that line is correcting a customer who calls you a retard when you need a second to calculate their change, so be it. These aren’t random examples pulled out of my ass, these are things that people have said to me, more than once, in the course of me just trying to do my job, which in the strictest sense is to do nothing but pour their damn coffee in exchange for enough money to live in a trailer park, if I have roommates.

      The saddest part of this is, you’re right about the ways the job can be fun! I like being a barista! I like coming up with new drinks, I like how good I am at speed and efficiency under pressure, I don’t generally mind the job that I do in and of itself because a lot of the time I just go in, do my job, and go home, and that’s it. But the reality of the industry makes it really hard to do that. I’m able to fake being lower-middle-class by sleeping on the floor and foregoing healthcare. I have not had health insurance at any point my adult life. I have an untreated disability, an autoimmune disorder, a broken tooth and chronic pain in my shoulder from a car accident. None of these things are severe, all are easily remedied, but I don’t matter enough to my employer or American society to have that option. I wake up every morning in pain, some days unable to move for a few minutes while my back seizes, and I hurt every night when I finally go to bed. The life expectancy for adults with my disability ranges from the mid-30s to mid-50s. I’m 27.

      Don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty great life right now. We all have to make decisions about short versus long-term planning, but mine are more acute than yours probably are. I don’t have long-term plans. I do what I want now, with my time outside of work and my life and my body, because I don’t have the next 30 or 50 years. Do you know what my biggest fear is? A moderate accident. Mild accidents you can forgo medical care for. I don’t need to see a doctor about a twisted ankle or busted finger. And a severe accident will kill me. Even if I end up in a hospital, my iron-clad DNR and living will should ensure I never have wot worry about the bills. But a moderate accident, a broken limb or blow to the head would leave me fucked. When I wake up in the morning I say a, maybe not a prayer, I don’t believe in that, but a little reminder to myself hoping that if anything happens that day, I die. If I’m in a car accident, I hope it kills me. If I fall on a hike, I hope it’s down a ravine and my body is broken beyond repair before rescuers find me. Or I at least hope I’m rescued or treated by someone I can sue. I can’t be made unable to work with no insurance or income. I simply can’t be. So I live my life to the fullest that I can, and enjoy it, and hope it ends abruptly before that option is taken away from me. I really need you to understand this isn’t me talking about how important it is to appreciate your life or be mindful or any of that nonsense. This is me telling you how to live when you don’t plan on seeing 40. It’s not what I would choose for myself, but it’s where I’m at. Here again, I don’t dislike my actual job. I just wish it didn’t come with so much crushing, debilitating, de-humanizing bullshit.

      Most of the time when working-class people are spoken down to it’s because people think we’re lazy, or drug addicts, or criminals who can’t get “real” jobs, which I never quite understood. The sorts of jobs people think Trump would bring back–mining, factory work–are also obtainable with nothing but a high school diploma, require little to no skill at an entry level, and are largely based on experience rather than formal education. But the whole “that life is so simple and wholesome!” bull makes an appearance less frequently, almost always from people on the left, and is just as condescending. It is usually perpetrated by people who left their high-paying jobs for the “simpler” pleasures or owning their own restaurant or cafe or spa because they love the activity, knowing they can at any moment go back to their high-paying job the first time shit gets too real for them. They’re poverty tourists, and they’re the worst kind of people to work with but thankfully they usually don’t last that long, once they see what your life is actually like when you work in that industry. I don’t think you were aware of that when you posted your comment, which is why I took the time to type this out. I wanted you to know that when you “walk out into the night in the midst of sumer” that there is probably a man waiting to follow you home, because he doesn’t understand you only smile at him and listen to his dumb stories for the tips. I need you to know that the pieces of conversation you catch as you walk by is sometimes about how public housing simply DOES make a neighborhood more dangerous, and you have to be kind to those people if you want to eat that week. I need you to understand that when you’re setting out plates in the morning you have an hour of work to do and 20 minutes to actually do it, and if you don’t make it work you will be made to clock out and stay until you finish at the end of the day, regardless of how many customers wanted to tell you little jokes about their friend’s employment situation when you have stacks of dishes to do, trash to take out, orders to take and food to cook. Please stop thinking and perpetrating the idea that service work is like Ratatouille. It’s not.

      • Oh wow,
        I am so sorry!
        I actually grew up in restaurants and started working in the service industry at..14? Later on it was McDonald’s, Dunkin’, etc.
        Part of my nostalgia is familiarity.
        But I’m German.
        We have a lot of bureaucracy and laws. Like work laws. Most of what you describe would not happen in the gay restaurant I know well, and are punishable, by law, offenses. Enforced law. We also have super strict anti-discrimination laws.
        It’s not perfect anywhere, but at least in alternative inner city Berlin, if you grab a waitress you are very welcome to a hearty slap in the face by said waitress and being kicked from the place by the tender.
        Also, I have health insurance.Everybody does, because it’s, again, the law.
        I’m so sorry that you’re upset and sick and struggling so hard! I really am!
        I just wanted to let you know that what you’re assuming is maybe not altogether correct.
        I’m middle class (German doctor) maybe upper middle class by now, but I was living way below the poverty line until 30.
        I finally got a closet last Monday, because I’m still playing catch up in the furniture and clothes department from those years.
        I really do enjoy serving people, which is also perfect for my current job, that I do love dearly, btw.
        I’m just burnt out and since this is the second time in a handful of years, I do need to make a change.
        Maybe, one day, you can come and work in my imaginary restaurant, and make spectacular organic coffee and Iarran will have stories and smiles for you, that are completely benign.
        Ani diFranco will play over the speakers and it will be summer and we’ll leave the doors open for the fresh air to get in.

        • Ahhh, that makes sense, you’re not the first European I’ve talked to with a wildly different idea of what to think about in terms of your quality of life. My job would be a lot better in a country where my bottom-tier needs were met without the need to constantly scramble for them. It’s a glaring difference between the US and countries with better social welfare systems; I imagine the German government cares about your actual quality of life. They’re okay with providing–and people are okay with paying taxes for–basic needs like housing, food, and healthcare if you can’t afford them, and you can build on those things with bigger houses or fancy restaurants if that’s how you want to spend your money. The American way can be summed up as “FIGHT TO THE DEATH FOR YOUR INHALER IN THE CAPITALIST-DROME”. Essentially, your country has decided that all of its citizens have potential and are worth investing in, and America views vast segments of its population as disposable. That’s not new, but now the vehicle is semantics and bureaucracy,instead of outright barbarism (and sometimes we can’t even make that bar).

          I’d work in your imaginery restaurant if it was in Munich. I’ve never been there but I’ve heard great things. Also I want to pretend to be a Cold War spy.

  8. I currently have my dream job in internship form (which is THE WORST because A) I only do it part time, B) I still work full-time at a different job, and C) I don’t get paid for it). I’m interning with the Victim Services Crisis Team unit of my local police department. I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for trauma counseling, dead bodies, and high level crisis situations but it turns out I fucking love it. And I’m good at it. I graduate from my master’s program (and internship) in August and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll have an opening. Otherwise my fall back plan is CPS. I’m currently an academic advisor at a community college (a job I really like, but the pay is horrific).

    It’s amusing to see people romanticizing service industry and low tier jobs because I’ve worked so many of them and they are LITERALLY THE WORST, except for my very first job in high school which was a sales clerk and workshop teacher at a scrapbooking store. I seriously considered dropping out of college freshman year so I could become to store manager, which would have been a terrible decision because I think the chain went out of business sometime around 2010.

  9. This is the million dollar question and I can’t wait to read everyone else’s responses to try to find my answer!

    Because mes amies, I do not know.

    Growing up I wanted to do lots of things – make movies, be a journalist, save the world. I majored in international relations in college planning to go into non-profit work or the sort, but took a detour to France and now I am working on a PhD on art and migration and teaching English.

    I love my research topic, but I am getting pretty worn out of teaching. I really love most of my classes, but it’s exhausting and feels like it doesn’t really matter. My class is the tiniest drop in their schedule (1.5h/week for 10 weeks), it’s neither their major nor their priority. With so little time with them and such big classes (45 students) and wildly varying levels of English, I just feel like it’s a lot of work for very little difference. And grading gives me anxiety because I think the grading system is bullshit. Some of my problems with teaching are the same everywhere, but some are also the result of teaching in a system where success for everyone is never really the goal. Over half of our students will fail their first year and that is the plan.

    I think I might like it if I get to teach a core subject in my areas of interest and not just ESL, but a lot of my issues with the system will still be there. LE SIGH.

    So I’m constantly trying to figure out what I really want when I finish my PhD. I’ve got a lot of random job experience and 8 years teaching and I’ve tried to use MOOCs to add coding skills to my resume and learn more about project management and leadership. I speak fluent French and I’m learning Portuguese and plan to learn Spanish after my PhD. But I just don’t know what I really WANT to do with it all. I just want to feel like what I do matters to someone and uses my potential.

    Hopefully this winding path I’ve taken will lead somewhere interesting.

    Sending good vibes to you, Mey, for the exciting changes ahead for you. And very glad you’ll still be around here a bit!

  10. I kind of have my dream job! I’m a wedding planner (DC area couples,check me out @ lulamaeevents.com!) which lets me be creative, have flexible hours, and meet ridiculously awesome people. The only thing I wish I could change would be to have co-workers. I’m really social, so working alone at a computer 80% of the time is hard. I love it though!

  11. Mine is specifically NOT to work, does that count? I want to be one of those people who quit their job, sell everything they own, and travel around in an RV for 6 months or so. Ideally with a pet, but my cat would NOT be down for this. TOTALLY unrealistic, though.

  12. I am 47 and learning to drive for the first time! Taken my theory test once – passed the multiple choice, but failed the hazard perception. What I find annoying is there is no feedback on why you failed – it’s just whether you click at the right time or not.

    I don’t think I have a dream job. I do what I love in my spare time – write fanfic – and have no desire to be a published author of original fic. I’m learning Italian through something called Memrise, which is a free online thing, because I always wanted to learn Italian.

    My actual job is OK – I got a new role at the end of January which is more money but in the same place as before. I work public sector, so I know what I do helps people ultimately, if not directly and there is satisfaction in that.

  13. I both do and do not have my dream job because I contain multitudes.

    I’m a Teen Librarian which means I spend most of my time hanging out with teenagers and running workshops on everything from music production to 3D design to college and career readiness. Sometimes I play video games with the teens and they kick my ass — except for Guitar Hero cuz I’m really good at that game. Sometimes they come to me with serious break my heart real shit that they are dealing with, but I’m always glad that they trust me. Some of them are queer and my baby queers are my favorite (shhhh don’t tell the others.) I love it! It’s amazing! It’s everything I love to do!

    But I also would really love to just be able to work on my novel full time. And I would also love to work in the position that buys all the YA books for all the branches in the library system. It would be nice to only have to read book and write them. But I also think I would miss the teens and their tomfoolery, so there’s a grass is always greener metaphor for that.

  14. right now i’m the editor-in-chief at my college newspaper, which is pretty damn close to a dream job. it’s a great office and most of the friends i’ve made in college have been through working here, and i’m really proud of the work we’re doing. student journalism is important! plus the office has couches for napping, a dartboard, and a foosball table. it doesn’t get better than that.
    my dream dream job is an english literature professorship. it’s a dream job because it only exists in dreams. tenure is dead! the academy is crumbling! administration sets fire to humanities departments to keep the engineers warm! there are no jobs! i’m only half joking. but i love teaching and research in equal measure, and the academy has been so good to me despite its faults, and writing essays is really the only thing i’m good enough at to make a career out of it, so i’m giving this thing my best shot.
    if academia doesn’t work out, i’d like to herd goats in the pyrenees.

    • CONGRATS! I was once the editor-in-chief of my college newspaper and it was an awesome experience. I waited till two weeks before graduation and then posted a two-part series on why “homosexuality is not a sin according to the bible” at my super super conservative christian college. It was fucking chaos. I got death threats. At least 4 grown adults (including the head of Concerned Women for America) told me I wasn’t going to heaven. A professor tried to block me from graduating. And my mom was super pissed.

      Student journalism is truly the best!

  15. Ahhh this is an exceptionally fun topic for me this week – I literally JUST scored my dream job!! I’m going to be working as a lead trainer with a company that trains both household pets and working dogs for tasks like service, search and rescue, and scent detection!! I’m absolutely over the moon about the whole thing. I recently left New York and moved back to my home state of Iowa, and I was terrified I would lose all the professional headway I had made when I decided to move back here. But NOPE! Not only do I have a job I’m super excited about, but I also have a leadership position/interns. Saaay whaaa? Thanks universe.

  16. I kinda have my dream job right now because it’s very low stress and I get to be alone a lot (strong introvert) and it’s beautiful at the location where I work. The flowers are amazing. Sadly I’m finishing up grad school to hopefully get a higher paying job. Which is good and fine, but it’s also a little sad.

    Good luck with the changes in your life!

  17. I feel this so much! My dream job would be freelancing and making videos for my Youtube channel and having a low-stress part time job like secretary for a nonprofit I believe in. Freelancing full time seems to scary atm so I’ll settle for part time.

    Alternatively, I’d love to just be paid for existing.

  18. At some point in my life I think my dream job was to be an inventor. Wasn’t sure what I would invent, just knew I wanted to be one. Now I am just a store owner, wishing this administration would end so business picks up as some of their policies have not be the best for business(like giving out less work visas). Who knows what I’ll do next, maybe I will come up with something useful that makes me money.

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines felt long and kind surprised it’s Friday already. It was surprisingly winter like earlier in the week, but now it’s summer again. It’s also been a werid week for my. My hiking/outdoor accomplice(relative) is slowly going off the deep end. He’s kind of become a flat earth support(he thinks the earth is a rectangle) and might have a messiah complex. I may have to go solo hike more again.

    The woman I am seeing also had her car towed this week and put her in a real negative funk(lets just say Bombay Sapphire was her friend). A part of me wants to help her bail her car out, but the other part of me is like you need the save to move out and start some form of HRT. Last night I spent time with her and I think it was what she kind of needed. Night ended a bit awkward as she feel asleep sort of cuddling and I wasn’t sure what the etiquette in that situation is, but left after I made sure her phone was charged. Didn’t get a reply yet today. You know I normally don’t do this, but if anyone would like to help a fellow lbtq woman it would be really appreciated. A bit more info on the post on my tumblr about it. https://www.google.com/url?q=http://cannaqueers.tumblr.com/post/173577472843/cannaqueers-cannaqueers-a-little-assistance&sa=D&source=hangouts&ust=1525546766573000&usg=AFQjCNHbsffyY7DGCPQTrKFVAkSd-w_pJA

    Sunday I will be at Cuties for donuts; will be nice to be with community and friends. If anyone is in the LA area please say hi to me.

    View I had Sunday watching the Sunset Piuma Road in Malibu.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post have a positive weekend.

  19. Astrobiologist and/or astronaut.

    The former I’m actually actively pursuing, as I’m currently in my second year of a PhD program, doing a dissertation on figuring out better ways to detect the presence of life on planets outside our solar system. I was lucky enough to even get some of my work written up in New Scientist last year (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2154137-ocean-covered-planets-may-not-be-the-places-to-search-for-life/). My dream is to become a research scientist at NASA.

    With that said, I promised myself when I was 12 that I would apply to the astronaut corps, and even though the odds of me being selected are practically infinitesimal (not even factoring in the whole me-being-trans thing), I still plan to follow-through with that promise as soon as I’m done with my PhD. Because hey, you never know!

  20. Hi!! So this is not in the theme of this open thread but I have things I want to share here so I hope that is ok!

    Basically for a long long time I have felt like I missed the boat in finding a cool gang of queer found family types because I didn’t have one at uni, and I live in the rural UK and basically have had envy of the cool queer L.A. scene and didn’t think I would find anything like that here.

    But in the last few months I have figured out polyamory is a fit for me, and I went to my first local meetup on Wednesday and it was board game themed and there were so many wonderful queer polyam people that I feel I have found where I fit and my heart is all full! Autostraddle has been a big part of me figuring out that side of myself and knowing you cool queer people exist on the internet gave me the courage to find them in real life so I just wanted to share my happy thoughts Here!

    Also I am lucky in that right now I am touring a one woman show about a queer disabled suffragette that I wrote, so 20gayteen is a win in terms of dream jobs too!

  21. It’s interesting how a dream job is a dream job until it isn’t. Next week is my last week at a job that I really enjoyed for a while, but right now it is not a good fit with the other parts of my life and I needed something I could let go. I have a master’s in child development and the job is supporting parents, but with our foster kids I want to focus more on my own parenting.

    I do have a part-time secretary job which I currently love! I get health insurance, sick and vacation days. It is very low stress, somewhat flexible hours, and sometimes I get to read. Especially after rough mornings or weekends with the kids, I appreciate the balance of a quiet place to go where I can be helpful in little ways.

    I’m also going to help my mom more on her rental properties, working with my first childhood friend who works for her full time. So I’ll get to talk to an adult about how life is going.

    For 10 years I did in home child care and it was my dream job, taking care of babies and little ones and then passing them along, until fertility treatments didn’t work and I wanted to do parenting, not just caretaking. Now I’m doing parenting with the foster kids. And so I’m working on getting a good balance with the various parts of my life.

  22. Being a receptionist sounds like such a stressful job to me – I Hate phoning people! But I support your dream & am sure you’d make the world a better place by being a kind not-horrible receptionist.
    My dream job would be to run my own business selling my own illustrations/books/stationery range. Luckily I’m training in graphic design so it’s a possibility! As a part-time job I’ve always wanted to work for Waterstones (bookshop, some if which have CAFES) where I did a week’s work experience in school. I loved it so much. I think if a bigger career didn’t work, working there would be a totally fullfilling backup (as long as my life also included one or more large dogs)

  23. Hey y’all, haven’t commented in a hot minute, but the timing of this thread is wild. Yesterday I got the phone call for an interview for a dream job that I NEVER imagined could actually happen. I’m a Canadian registered nurse with a specialization in mental health. One day I decided to just say fuck it, what’s the worst that can happen, and applied to my dream NYC job. It’s at the Columbia University Medical Center’s Psychiatric Institute. AND THEY PHONED ME FOR AN INTERVIEW?!

    So thanks for giving me a space to share this exciting news, because most of my friends don’t even know yet that I applied to jobs in a different country, lol. I’m now going to read all the other comments, because reading about people’s dream careers is so interesting and inspiring! Yay!

  24. Working as an editor in children’s publishing part time and writing children’s books on the side. I don’t think I could hack it as a full time author; I’d need an excuse to go outside everyday.

    Hopefully I’d get a job that’ll lead to that soon???? I love reading about everyones dreams ?

  25. I’d love to be a scientific illustrator. That means that I would use my biology degree to create scientifically accurate watercolour and gouache renditions of various animals. Here’s one of my best so far: (hopefully the image loads)

  26. When I was a kid I wanted to be John Wayne. Or his characters. Cowboy, soldier, etc. I was such a tomboy. I wanted to be a park ranger too. I grew up and through a series of events ended up working in restaurants. I worked my way up and taught myself to be a pastry chef. And that was my dream job. I didn’t know it until I started as a dishwasher. I was instantly enthralled by the whole environment. Then, the first time I made pastries, I was a goner. I fell into it so naturally, it was like it was meant to be. Baking is like breathing for me and I am grateful that I found it.

    I was in a 12 step meeting the other night and this woman was sharing about her relationship. She’s riding the newcomer pink cloud everything is awesome train right now. She was saying she and her husband talk every night about their lives and relationships. They talk all night and don’t even watch TV anymore. I whispered to the person sitting beside me (my best friend) “that bitch is in a lesbian relationship and doesn’t even know it”.

  27. Oh geez. My current job is close.

    My dream job would be working with and doing education with animals I am really passionate about (dogs, reptiles, other fun vertebrates) at a science-focused facility. A job that kept me really busy and on my toes to some degree, allowed a decent amount of freedom but still provided guidance and experience for me to draw from, and had excellent pay and benefits.

  28. My Dream Job?
    If I don’t think about it I guess I have it. I work in healthcare and its pure entertainment all day long; seriously, you just cant make this shit up. I have fun, I laugh and have little stress – OK there are stressors but they go home at the end of their shift. However if I could wave a magic wand….

    My dream job would be in organ regeneration / tissue regeneration research and development. I already know it would be all-consuming eat-sleep and dream cells, tissues and how to train them into organizing into a fully functional and implantable organ. I kind of already do but in low doses. when it comes to things I don’t ask why, I ask why-not, “why the fuck not!” actually and figure a way around, over and under obstacles in my path to solving the puzzle before me.

    So Yeah my dream job would be growing kidneys, livers and figuring out how to encapsulate a pancreas to make it more hardy organ to implant.

  29. I drive, but only when I have to. It’s dangerous and stressful. Otherwise, I prefer to walk, bike, or whatever.

    I’m not sure if I have a dream job or not. Does “doing nothing” count as a dream job? Ha ha. :p

  30. I love the job I have now, IT director for a national nonprofit, but I also think I’d love doing something in public safety. Telecommunications, emergency management, , or paramedicine. Those are just always interests…back of the brain musings/desires…whatever you want to call them I’ve always had and I love helping others.

    Mey, good luck with exploring your dreams. I hope they all come true. 🙂

  31. This is a really timely thread for me right now, because I don’t think I have a dream job. I’m one of those people who has a million interests and no real pull in any one direction over the other. (I also changed my major three times in college. It’s that bad.) I guess my “dream” job, the one that stays with me, is to be a writer, but I’ve never wanted that to be my full-time job unless I’m making enough from it to not have to worry about money. I never want writing to have to support me. So, I’ve been looking at a thousand different careers to try to find something stable I can do that I feel connected to and passionate about. The problem is that I’m passionate about so many things, I don’t know what to pick, and every time I try, something goes wrong.

    My goals and dreams have also changed a lot since I was diagnosed with a physical disability. I ended up enrolling in grad school across the country and then dropping out two weeks before school started because I was at a crisis point and had to finally admit that I needed to see some doctors and find out what was wrong. Turns out I have a connective tissue disorder that causes my chronic pain and a bunch of other problems, so all my plans and dreams are just going to have to shift to be around that. I’ve been planning a career in archives, which is something I do love, but lately I’ve been realizing that it’s just not the right thing for where I’m at and what my life is going to look like.

    Anyway, this is all leading up to the fact that a couple days ago it occurred to me that I should be a book editor because it’s a flexible enough career for my uncertain lifestyle and it’s the intersection of “thing I like/am really good at” and “thing people will pay good money for”, the only dream job I have is writing which I don’t want to be a job at all, and some people just have more interests than they know what to do with and maybe it’s okay to not have one thing you’re “meant” to do. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Also, I don’t drive because I have an anxiety disorder and live in a city with terrifyingly bad drivers.

    Also also, my not-career in writing has produced one book and one poetry manuscript, so at least that’s going well. Please look up Fairy Tales For Modern Queers (under my birth name since it was before I started transition) if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Much as I hate self promotion, I believe I am obligated to plug it in a thread like this.

  32. Honestly the main thing I want as far as a job right now is to be an entrepreneur (because I’m tired of making money for straight white men) and to grow food/medicine for people and habitat for native ecosystems. I’ve started toying with the idea of a BnB/retreat space (for queers! And other rad people!)and farm mashup, but purchasing land AND starting a business is both expensive and formidable. I just need to go to some community college business classes I think and then take the plunge and do it because I’m 31 and life isnt getting longer and all the pieces are never going to fall perfectly into place.

    On a different note, I would love to see some knd of group form from this thread where we can check in with each other about how we’re making our dreams come true?

  33. Happy Friday!

    It’s been a whole week since I defended my dissertation and finished my PhD, but it still doesn’t feel quite real.

    I’m starting a new job next month, which I’m hoping will be a dream job. It’s an engineering job that’s focused on taking apart broken machines all day to see where the issues are and how to fix them. I haven’t started yet, but during my interviews it seemed like a great mix between tinkering and puzzle solving which are both right up my alley.

    Now to finish the 100 things to do between now and my start date (graduation! moving to a new apartment! trying to not traumatize the cats during the move!)

  34. I have finally reached my own personal pinnacle, and have achieved MY DREAM JOB.

    I’m a wedding and event planner, and I work for myself. I’ve worked corporate jobs as an event planner for about 6 years until last March when I got really brave and just walked away to start my own business. I market really heavily to the local LGBTQ+ community and also the arts community, which is something the rest of the local planners don’t do. It allows me to reach an audience who is looking to do something different, and outside the box. I also work with businesses to do things like grand opening events (I have one next month with a local naturopath).

    I recently partnered with a baker who makes dog treats and a photographer who specializes in pet portraits. We are now throwing pet parties for people’s dogs, cats, ferrets – any creature that deserves a special day!

    I do assorted work on the side to make ends meet: I petsit a lot, because I’m a big animal lover. I also work for my friend’s catering business whenever she needs weekday help, because I don’t do a lot on say THURSDAYS. It’s been a big help this year so far, and I like to stay busy.

  35. I want to do ALL OF THE THINGS, if I’m being honest, except for the thing I’m doing for work right now (graphic design at a newspaper).
    My dream situation would be working part-time at a library or museum, part-time making comics and illustrations, and part-time as a writer. Unfortunately it feels like I’m a million miles away from any of those (the illustrator/comic artist part is probably closest; I have a webcomic and I’m making connections with indie comics creators, but nothing monetary has come of it yet), and I’m in the midst of trying to figure out how to get from here to there.

    I’ve driven since I was old enough to drive. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so getting anywhere without a car was a real challenge. Now I live in a city, but our public transport situation isn’t great, so I still drive when I’m not feeling up to biking.

  36. Mey, thank you for all of your amazing work as trans editor! I’m so glad you’ll still be around AS. <3

    I really enjoyed being a part-time receptionist! It's nice to be able to help people, and have small projects that actually get finished, and I actually like answering phones, so!

    Unfortunately, most of my dream jobs – a big one for me is preschool teacher – will only be economically feasible for me if and when I have a partner who can help to supplement our joint income. WE SHOULD PAY PRESCHOOL WORKERS MORE. The minds of babies and young children develop at an exponential rate, and it's ridiculous that the people who take care of them often don't make a living wage!

    Anyway, guess that's my tangent for today 😀

    • Agreed! I have my master’s in child development and for 10 years had an in home daycare where I made $8.00 per hour (working 60 hour weeks).I’m cheap and was able to pay my bills, but now I love my part-time secretary job with health insurance! And I’m a foster parent so there are kids in my life.Also also we have two rental houses for retirement income.

  37. Ohhh I just had a fantastic conversation about dream jobs a few weeks ago! I decided mine would be working 9 months out of the year as a scientist and the other 3 months I would be paid to travel around the world and teach cooking classes! My main motivations in life are food and research, so this would be perfect for me.

    Currently, I have the scientist part going on (in my first year of grad school currently) but not the cooking class part! I will be traveling a lot this year for conferences, so I will try my hardest to make food a top priority during those times!

    In other news, I had my first paper accepted last week which is really exciting!

  38. I feel like choosing not to drive is a very urban phenomenon. Every job I’ve had since I was seventeen has required a license.(Camps, parks, forestry, anything on-call).

    Once, before I got my license, my friend slipped while we were on a hike and we suspected a broken bone. Even though we had a car nearby, I felt so incompetent because I was unable to drive to the hospital. That one unnecessary (and expensive) ambulance ride was enough to convince me to adult-up and learn to drive a damn car.

    I briefly dated a woman who acted superior about her choice not to drive, but who assumed that her friends and I would drive her places she needed to go. Needless to say that this is one of my biggest pet peeves.

    Anyway I’ve finally got the opportunity to pursue my dream job! It’s a healthcare position in Northern Ontario (in a once-familiar town that’s fairly far from the place we now call home). I’m hesitant – for my children’s sake – about how the move will impact them; but I feel like it’s bringing so many “loose ends” of my life together and moving my family closer to the core values that inform the way I want to live and parent. They’re excited about it, so I’m just trying to embrace the uncertainty and look forward to this new adventure.

    • Yes but some ppl can’t afford to drive…whether it’s the cost of the lessons, joining a car-share or owning a car.
      Not to say anyone should feel superior either way, but it’s definitely not a choice for everyone.
      I’m super fortunate now and have all those options, but I remember well not being able to afford the bus let alone a car, and needing to hitch hike to get around.
      A big part of why so many First Nations women have gone missing is from lack of access to safe transportation.

      • Yeah, obviously it’s easier to choose not to drive in urban areas with decent transit, and no one should judge people who do drive or feel morally superior while asking for rides.

        But a lot of things need to line up for someone to be able to get their license and for it to be worth it:
        -no disqualifying disabilities
        -money for lessons
        -having access to a car and a experienced driver to practice with, which is easiest for teenagers who live with family willing to teach them and is much much harder for people who don’t have such access
        -ability to pay for a car
        -ability to pay to maintain said car
        -ability to pay for insurance
        -ability to pay for gas and parking fees
        -ability to pay for repairs in case of accident
        -or help from family who can cover all these costs

        Also, some people are not cut out to drive even if they pass the exam, and it’s safer for everyone if they don’t insist on doing it.

      • I know firsthand about lack of access to safe transportation in northern communities. I used to live in a community of 800 people, where the nearest bus stop or airport was over two hours away. At the time I had a toddler and could not afford a personal vehicle. I did not have any family nearby, because I was there for a work contract.

        Transportation in northern communities is obviously a different issue than *choosing* not to get a license and then acting as if it’s cute to voluntarily opt out of adult responsibilities, intentionally diminishing your ability to contribute.

        It is not necessary to own a car to learn how to drive; I learned from friends and family members and drove work vehicles for years without owning my own car.

        I see it as an essential skill because of its importance in our society: Similarly, if you live in a home that depends on wood for heating, it doesn’t matter how you feel about chopping wood, if you’re physically capable, you’d better learn how to do it or else you’re placing an unfair burden on others.

  39. My dream job is to work at Autostraddle. I also really want to teach and be an author. I want to do so many things honestly But I want them all to be related to writing, community building and art. I’m the kind of person that needs that so I want yo create that.

  40. I’ve never had a dream job, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I’d made something up on the spot.
    Dreaming for something was a way to get disappointed I decided before I even hit double digits.

    Not having a good day, fighting an angioedema flare up in the soles of my feet and tops of my shoulders. Had a bit of screaming off with my mother in public the other day and walked off. She was being irrational and I wasn’t having it.
    I’m not going to fight with someone who’s being irrational, life is too fucking short.

    A job I would like to have would be something graphic design or publishing because that’s where my skills are at and my unfinished to degree was for.

    Some times it feels like every day since high school is a transitional period that’s just getting longer and longer with no resolution in sight.

    I made bannock and did a more traditional Beltane ritual using fire this year. I used to just dance barefoot in a field and weave a flower or clover into a braid or braids, don’t know why I stopped.

    The bannock was delicious and I’m so going to do it again with cinnamon and nutmeg, also break out the local honey. And someday the jams I got from the Hollygrove Market goodbye sale.
    I might be a bit of a hoarder.

    Something I’d love to do is just have an obscene amount of money and bankroll queer art (performing to fine arts and craft work)) like a modern Lorenzo the Magnificent, donate to to shelters and spend the rest on metal and equipment with which to make my own art. I miss doing that, the sing of a hammer meeting metal, the sizzle of hot metal meeting the pickle, the sound and feel of using fire.

  41. I think I have my dream job?? Like, I am still at university but I’m about to graduate and take up a job offer with my country’s Civil Service grad scheme. Which is what I’ve wanted to do for years (and hella competitive to get) but I’ve never actually Done it so who knows?? Fingers crossed 🙂

    (Also a gay who can’t drive, I use my learners’ licence purely as ID.)

  42. I am intensely grateful to say that I have found my personal Dream Job, in the form of working at the New York Public Library, as an Adult Services Librarian in Harlem. It’s been a dream for over a decade, and when it came true just over a year ago I quickly found it to be everything I’d ever hoped for and MORE.

    Perhaps the best part of all is that I now get to pay it all forward, by teaching a wildly successful “Land Your Dream Job!” workshop series for patrons. Remembering the smiling, tearful hugs I get from the students who come to their first class devoid of hope only to find their situations soon improved with some insight and guidance…that’s what keep ME going when I too find life’s challenges draining me of my own hope.

    Survival: it doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

    • Public librarians are the best and most patient/caring, congrats! (I’ve done it part-time for 4/5 years now along studies and while I don’t want to do it full time, the sense of fulfilment I got from it that you describe is fully what guided me into going for the job w the civil service I’m now waiting to start)

  43. I recently quit what I thought was my ‘dream job’. I spent 4 years working as a carer in residential children’s homes with kids who had experienced abuse, poverty and neglect. A lot of the time it often felt like I wasn’t working – I’d get paid to take kids to the beach or a theme park! I enjoyed the less exciting parts of the job such as paperwork as well and felt challenged by the puzzle of working with children and young people every day. Figuring out why a child had exploded over something seemingly insignificant or supporting them with something they didn’t think they could do was immensely rewarding. Of course there were aspects that weren’t so enjoyable, like restraining children and occasionally being assaulted – within my first few months of working with one company, the child I worked with attempted suicide and the company decided that this was too much of a liability so when she was released from the hospital (a day and a half after the incident)she was informed she wouldn’t be able to return to the home and that carers would bring her belongings to her next home. That shook me up for a while and made me question the company I worked for and the role I was in, but in time things settled down and the reports I heard about the child were positive so I continued with my work.

    After working with a particularly difficult teenage girl who aimed the majority of her abuse at me (the assumption being because I was openly gay and am very androgynous as a lot of her verbal abuse was homophobic) I was moved to work with a young boy. Although the boy’s behaviour was extremely challenging I thrived working with him and at times became the go to person, especially when it became apparent that the boy was displaying characteristics that made us wonder whether he may be transgender and how to support him to be whomever he wanted to be. Unfortunately this child’s behaviour began to deteriorate and it became a regular occurance for me to be assaulted on shift, I was being bitten regularly and he often threw things at me while I was driving. The final straw came when he strangled me as I was driving him to school, this caused me to have a panic attack and mental breakdown later in the day and I was sent home. I was off sick under ‘work related stress’ for a month before returning to work in a different home with 2 very well behaved children although I was searching for a new job in the background. Naturally their behaviour began to deteriorate after several months and I felt myself completely unable to handle incidents that a year ago wouldn’t have fazed me. It began to affect my mental health outside of work and when I finally saw a doctor I was told I was showing signs of PTSD. I handed in my notice and attempted to work my notice period however after having a 2nd breakdown and panic attack at work I got a sick note to cover my remaining shifts.

    I currently work in a care home that looks after the elderly and adults with disabilities however I organise the activities as I feel completely unable to care for people. This is only 12hrs a week and doesn’t even cover my mortgage let alone bills or groceries. I now have panic attacks on an almost monthly basis and often find myself overwhelmed by small set backs. I fill my free time applying for jobs but have so far been unsuccesful and despite having a good amount of savings when I initially quit my job, I’m now nearly penniless which only adds to the stress and anxiety.

    I feel at a lose end and don’t know what to do with myself any more. Caring for people is all I’ve done for around 8 years, I have no qualifications and nothing to fall back on. I like the idea of working with computers or maybe plumbing but I’m stuck in that catch22 scenario of no-one will hire me because I don’t have experience but I can’t get experience because no-one will hire me.

    Sorry for the ridiculously long read (if anyone actually made it this far) although it actually feels a bit better just getting it off my chest!

    • I’m so sorry that this has happened to you and has left you with PTSD. Although I can’t say that it surprises me given the nature of the work that you have been doing. It’s virtually impossible to continue to give in such an emotionally charged work place without proper support.
      I wonder if you have a case for Workers Compensation from your previous employer. It may be worth looking into as it may help you to get some means of being able to pay for some Medical treatment for your PTSD.
      I really hope that you can begin to feel better soon and also that you find a job that will give you some respite from your money worries but also some new and satisfying mental stimulation with which to engage. Best of Luck to you and also some long distance internet hugs if you want them.

    • @Denz, thank you for all of your work with kids from hard places!!! I worked part-time for a year at at a short term care facility for kids when their parents needed a break, and often wondered about the staff at longer term facilities. For the last year I’ve had foster kids and I hear you on the getting bit and hair pulled, etc. Thank you for sharing about your journey and I hope you find good resources and supports!

  44. I’ve wanted to be a meteorologist for as long as I can remember. I was that kid always watching Twister and LOVING Helen Hunt’s character, Dr. Jo Harding. After I got my bachelor’s degree in meteorology two years ago, I actually managed to get a job in my degree field and have been a broadcast meteorologist for the past (almost) two years. I’m loving every minute of it and it’s the dream. Not sure how far I want to go as in market size/national stage, but I’m good growing where I am right now.

    On a side note, I just came out to my parents this weekend, so that’s extra exciting. I want to continue in this career field and be a role model for young women, so I can keep chasing/living the dream!

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