Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Dream jobs

Hey all! Today, we’re going to talk about gender issues in the skeptical movement… KIDDING! :)

No really, don’t talk about that stuff – I have to moderate this thread and I have plans tonight :)

First off, a big thanks to Chelsea for covering for me the past couple of weeks. Last week, I started a new job so I’ve been a little buried. After 11 years at my previous position, it has been a HUGE change for me.  So far, I’m loving it. It’s not my dream job, because that would involve something to do with skepticism full time.  But it’s close. It’s a small company, I’m working for someone I’ve worked with before who I really like and respect and although I’m overwhelmed, I’m learning new stuff every day. So I’m pretty happy.

So, on this Friday afternoon, I ask you, dear reader:

What’s your dream job? What would you love to be doing 8-10 hours a day? Are you doing it?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.


Maria D'Souza grew up in different countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Trinidad, and Kenya and it shows. She currently lives in the Bay Area and has an unhealthy affection for science fiction, Neil Gaiman and all things Muppet.

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  1. I have my dream job writing code 40 hours a week on projects that I design. The only thing I would change is who I do it for. Optimally I’d like to be working for an environmental cause or human-powered transportation, but no paying jobs like this exist around here.

  2. My dream job is, like Peter from Office Space, to do nothing… which is sort of a problem, as you might imagine!

    A somewhat more realistic dream job would be to operate and program a small repertory movie theater and manage the attached cafe/restaurant. It would be tons of fun for someone like me with an MA in Snakes-on-a-plane-ology (Film studies) to be able to make use of my “training” for something!

    Of course, it would ALSO be awesome to make movies for a living, but that’s terribly unlikely and I think Hollywood would EAT ME ALIVE :-P

  3. I dunno, but it’s DEFINITELY not in IT, which is what I do now.

    Maybe working for UCLA’s movie preservation lab? Hockey referee? I really have no idea.

  4. My dream job, I guess would be writing and performing comedy.

    Right now I do it for free. And it’s totally worth it. Currently on Friday nights I do Improvised soap opera’s at Acme Theatre in Hollywood and I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing.

  5. I’d want to work with Dean Kamen on his artificial limb team (aka “The Luke Arm” et al). I’d sweep floors for a year to get in on that.

  6. I’d really like to act, make my own horror films, or have my own television show for a living. I love to entertain people and express my creativity. It’s not easy starting out in that kind of business though and it isn’t really a steady job. I know the job i am in now is not my dream job, but i don’t hate it. I just wish it paid better.

  7. I’d really like to act, make my own horror films, or have my own television show for a living. I love to entertain people and express my creativity. It’s not easy starting out in that kind of business though and it isn’t really a steady job. I know the job i am in now is not my dream job, but i don’t hate it. I just wish it paid better.

  8. Ideally I’d love to make art all day long and get paid for it. I would also like to get paid for promoting community based arts (teaching workshops, kids, stuff like that).
    But if SurlyAmy decides to branch out into New York, I’d submit my résumé in a heartbeat!

  9. @andyinsdca: Nobody actually wants to do IT, they just end up there. It’s kinda like waiting tables, in that regard.

    My dream job would be to get paid for reading blogs. Not writing on blogs, because that takes work. Just reading them.

  10. Every time I’ve actually done what I thought was my dream job, from teaching, to selling art, to professional photography, to graphic design, to IT fro a medium company, to working for Apple, to working for a small IT company, I’ve ended up disappointed.

    And yes, that is my career path so far.

    As to my dream job – that’d be to do something significant for NASA. Alas I suck at math so badly that most jobs they’d want are right out. And now, due to the aforementioned career path, I’m not really qualified to do anything for them.

  11. I had my dream job for nine years: Lone-gunman IT guy for seven (by the time I was done) radio stations. I largely set my own hours, though the 24-hour/365-day on-call status provided some amusements. I made all of the judgment calls about which products to implement, how. I worked with fun, interesting, creative people (along with the callow jackasses). Getting the occasional free ticket or stack o’ CDs wasn’t too shabby, either.

    I loved that job.

  12. I think Zapski has made a point that I always suspected was true — once you start doing whatever it is you’d really want to do, and do it AS A JOB and become forced to do it in order to make money, you no longer enjoy it as much.

  13. for example — having sex is pretty great, right? imagine if you could get paid for having sex! …. yeah, most of the time that doesn’t turn out to be the dream job.

  14. I used to be doing my dream job – then I discovered how much I enjoy researching obscure paranoramal cases. I want to travel the world solving mysteries.

    Please convince your elderly relatives to include me in their will so I can live this dream.

  15. I would love to work as IT manager for a non-profit, one working in the adoption/foster child/helping at risk kids or similar areas. Ideally I’d be able to build and run a tech learning lab for disadvantaged kids.

  16. No one has mentioned Dr. Who traveling companion? Seriously? Although the requisite wall of unrequited love breached only just before your tragic parting would get old.

    My dream job would actually be something in children’s advocacy… probably at our local children’s shelter…one day, definitely, one day.

  17. Voice-over artist for Cartoons and radio would be my “realistic” job. I love doing voices and joking around, but I have my serious side. ;)

    My real “dream job”, however would be to work as an astronaut on a space station.

  18. Planetarium Director…which may actually be a possibility once I finish this damn PhD. Alternatively, run a small, regional, non-profit theater company.

    Or “beach reviewer”. I once saw in a travel guide an article from a guy who reviews beaches. Someone *pays him* to TRAVEL THE WORLD and RATE BEACHES. How do I get *that* gig?

    Professional snorkeler could be fun. Or how about “trust fund child”? I’d use it only for the powers of good, I promise.

    Actually, right now I look for extrasolar planets, so I suppose I can’t complain too much.

  19. @noisician: “once you start doing whatever it is you’d really want to do, and do it AS A JOB and become forced to do it in order to make money, you no longer enjoy it as much.”

    I think this can go both ways. When you have a real job you get the support of your peers, deadlines that get accomplished, and the occasional attaboy. When you’re just doing something because you like it you don’t get any of this reinforcement. Personally I wouldn’t think this was a big deal, but my wife retired a few years back to write full time, and she insists that it is.

  20. @noisician: Yeah. I was gonna say “porn actor”, but clearly that would lead to the overjustification effect: what you said in your earlier post (at 4:03), basically.

    A JOB is not of what I dream. What I dream of is having my own business where I make money by: (a) playing lousy guitar at high volume; (b) test-tasting the latest chocolates; and (c) testing the theory of male multiple orgasms with a succession of sexy (and skeptical) women of various sizes, shapes and cultural backgrounds. Oh, and (d) reading/writing blog comments. Woohoo!

  21. Captain of England and Yorkshire, batting at number four (between Bradman and Sobers) whilst simultaneously being an opening spin bowler in a 5-0 whitewash Ashes series.

    Making 250 off 15 overs in the first innings, then taking, say, 9 for 20 off 5 in the next session.

    That sort of thing.

    Or, doing my current job for more money

  22. Professional video game tester? In space?

    I think the major thing that separates work from fun is that you can stop doing a fun activity when it isn’t fun anymore, or just do it whenever you feel like it. I don’t really know, but I imagine my chances of finding a job like that are rather slim.

  23. @marilove: Never give up. Took my mom 14 years to reach that goal.

    My dream job would be working from home with minimal paperwork. Considering I turn in a stack of papers every two weeks and I am on the road 30+ hours a week, I highly doubt I am working my dream job right now….

  24. I love working at the gaming store, I just wish it paid more. I’d really like to get my online store making some money too, but that’s not easy.
    Ideally, I’d like to do voice acting, maybe a little modeling, or work in a museum making the replica display items. That would be -awesome-. In space.

  25. I’ve decided to create my own dream job as director of a volunteer group that helps local skeptics groups share resources and recruit members. (I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’ll never be able to afford to pay myself a salary.) We’re not iiiinnnn spaaaaaaaace, but we are on the Internet.

  26. Research. Which is what I’m doing now. I’m working on the cred (i.e., getting a PhD).

    I recently started down this road after getting fed up with not being able to contribute anything in the software industry other than time and waistline. So I officially start my computer science graduate program in a couple weeks, but I’ve been an RA since February, not long after I lost my software job.

    So thanks, Bush. No, seriously. I’d never have committed to this had it not been for the mortgage crisis. It’s the only good thing he’s done for me.

  27. Time traveler. I could sightsee in ancient times and places to see what it was really like. (F*** the history books). I could bring back antiques and relics to sell to support an opulent lifestyle. Sell a couple of live dodo birds to the Philly Zoo. Listen to the curators saying where the heck did you get those things. Oh I found them in my garden; guess I need a bigger scarecrow.

  28. I really, really want to be a housewife. All of society and about everyone ever thinks that this is a stupid thing to want to be and that OMG YOU NEED FALLBACK WAY TO MAKE MONEY GO TORTURE YOURSELF WITH YEARS AND YEARS MORE SCHOOL RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

    Fuck you, I want to be a goddamned housewife. Feminism is supposed to be about it being a fucking CHOICE, not requiring me to be a fucking lawyer.

    (I’d also really like to be an elementary school librarian, but that requires lots of school and pays jackshit, and the education system and I are not on speaking terms, so no.)

  29. A few people on here have said that they would like to earn a living doing art. I do that. I work 14 hour days seven days a week and have had two days off in the past twelve months. I wish I was out on the ocean doing Sperm Whale research.

  30. @NoAstronomer: Same dream. At least I got as far as a private license. Ideally, that would be my dream job. However, after spending 21 years in the airlines in Customer Service and Operations, I think I shoulda’ listened to Momma and become a gigolo.

    @Expatria: It gets damned boring really quick. I have one of those jobs now.

    @JeffereyEllis: I second that. Wish I could join you. Does NASA need any tech writers?

    Failing all that, I’d be happy just to have a decent aviation tech writing job like I had at Independence Air, but at my current pay. Maybe working for Virgin America, Scaled Composites, Lockheed at the Skunk Works, etc.

    However, I dohave this urge to join Starfleet…

  31. I think I’m pretty close to my dream job, but not quite. I’m a SysAdmin for a small XaaS company in Minneapolis, which is pretty cool.

    I almost think I’d rather be a Systems Engineer, designing some large-scale Exchange deployment, for example.

    And yes, I did choose to go into IT. Once you get past the stupid-facing (read: “customer service”) side, it really isn’t that bad.

  32. My dream job would be to do what I am doing but make alot more money. I have always loved to drive, since I do it for most of the day I am quite happy, not rich but happy.

    I think the person that had the greatest job ever though was the guy who played the original Godzilla. Basically waited for a bunch of modelers to finish making a replica of Tokyo, someone yells action and he gets to trash it. I can’t imagine ever getting tired of that.

  33. @MiddleMan:
    I used to do cartoon voice-overs. It’s great… when you actually get a job. The rest of the time it sucks auditioning for jackasses that have no intention of hiring you, because they already promised the job to someone else, but have to put up a facade of auditioning others.
    But I’m not bitter.

    Which is why I now have my dream job, ASPCA veterinarian! <3

  34. I’m working on qualifying for my dream job right now – I’m an undergrad working toward a master’s in Library Science. Though I’m not clear on why it couldn’t be a bachelor’s degree, frankly.

    School is damned confusing, sometimes.

  35. Teaching, which I’m doing, but the dream would be on-demand unstructured teaching. An considering the fact that I now want to tell you about the pigeon that just landed on the top branch of the birch tree outside, there’s a danger it’d go off on tangents quite often.

  36. I LOVE what I do … most of the time. I love working with (almost all ) of my patients, teaching med students in my office, formally lecturing from time to time ( my stage ) and constantly learning and updating my fund of knowledge within my field, which occasionally requires travel.

    Eliminate my having to deal with insurance forms, prior authorization forms, the TRULYYY manipulative patient seeking narcotics or a free ride from work, and being on call … and I’d be happier than a pig in slop.

  37. I’m a vet tech right now, which would be the perfect job if it weren’t for the drama between employees in this field.
    I’d like to change careers now. Children’s Librarian seems fun and interesting.

  38. @Ashley.Ele: I wonder if anyone’s done microgravity ballet. There are a few companies who do microgravity flights but the effect only lasts a few seconds at a time. Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital flights should extend that to about 5 minutes, which might be enough for a zero-gee pas-de-deux.

  39. @Ashley.Ele: Photographer
    Howard Schatz filmed ballerinas underwater for his book Water Dance. Amazing stuff. All of the grace and none of the pain.

    As for me:
    Dream job – antiquarian book dealer.
    Current job – Used book dealer.

    Baby steps.

  40. In many respects, I am already doing my dream job.

    I’ve known that I wanted to be part of the entertainment industry since I was 7 years old and that is what I have been doing professionally for the past 15 years.

    Another dream job is holding political office. I’m starting to think more and more about that, but I also need to get more financially secure before I take the necessary time off to run for office.

    Some day I will though. I’m just not sure when. For the record, I have been politically active for far longer than I have been skeptically active, but it would be nice to combine both of those skills on a Local, State, or Federal level.


  41. Okay, I’ll bite.

    Palaeontologist. Working in the field prospecting, excavating, burlapping (noun->verb transition complete!), and chiseling followed by painstaking hours in the lab identifying and staring at the fossils under a lamp and dissecting scope, SEM, or compound light microscope.

    Sadly, getting into grad school just ain’t happening for me. :(

  42. My dream job … this week?
    This week I’d love to be in a lab somewhere gently removing dirt from ancient pieces of pottery and perhaps even putting the broken pieces back together.
    Next week…maybe boxer…

  43. Hands down, I want Zane Lamprey’s job filing the TV show “Three sheets”. I want to go around the world and get hammered on the local libation. Greatest. Job. Ever.

  44. Hands down, I want Zane Lamprey’s job filming the TV show “Three sheets”. I want to go around the world and get hammered on the local libation. Greatest. Job. Ever.

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