My Ideal Job, the Guidance Counselor Question

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Categories:  Life, Work Commentary
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“What would you do if you didn’t need money?” is the age-old guidance counselor question. Some people might say nothing at all, preferring to just wander the Earth aimlessly. I’m not really like that. I’d go crazy if I wasn’t building something cool, discovering a new thing, or performing some form of self-expression (writing a blog post perhaps…).

This article will explore three jobs I think I’d be really happy to have. I’m not going to confine myself to reality for this. That’d be boring. However, I will lay down some ground rules for this exercise:

  • The original premise: money is not an object.
  • I’m going to stick with jobs I feel I could actually perform well. I wouldn’t be happy doing something I sucked at all the time anyway.
  • I’m going to stay away from “extreme” jobs. As much as I’d love to be the next Anthony Bourdain or Elon Musk, I’m trying to stay somewhat grounded here.

Speaking of Anthony Bourdain…

Senior Front-End Developer at Anthony Bourdain’s Blade Runner Themed Food Market

Any futuristic sci-fi influenced marketplace is going to have cool interfaces all over the place. I’d love to be on the team developing the customer or employee facing interfaces in that environment.

by jameschg-d7uuvke
by jameschg-d7uuvke

In case you haven’t heard about this yet, you can read about it on Gizmodo.

People are tapping in orders or signing receipts on touchscreen monitors all the time, and that’s a really fun medium for me to work in already. Adding Blade Runner and amazing food into the mix just puts it over the top for me.

The art would be so cool. The animations and interactive elements would stretch our coding technology to its limits. And knowing what I do about Bourdain’s management style, he’d be constantly pushing the envelope for creativity and originality.

I’d want a senior enough position that I’d have some influence on how and what we build, but I’d still want at least 51% of my time to be dedicating to coding. My position would hopefully allow me to spend a decent amount of time on-site getting customer feedback and doing research on what the “pulse” is like in the marketplace. I’d live in the city nearby in a fairly minimal apartment with rent control (I’d still want to retire someday!).

Director of Online Marketing for Cowgirl Creamery

I’d love to take charge of producing social media and website content for a popular cheesemaker like Cowgirl Creamery. We could record videos about how the place works, write blog posts about the cows and the various people who work there, and share customer reviews of our products all over the web. Not to mention the photos!

Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam Cheese

Cheese has always been one of my favorite things, and I’d love the opportunity to be around nature. Yes, I know how bad these places tend to smell but I don’t mind that as much as others seem to. I love animals, sunlight and good craftsmanship.

I’d want to have a small team of a few multi-talented people on-site at least a day or two each week with me so we could keep our inspiration fresh for stuff to talk about. The days when we’re actually in front of computers could be at a more traditional office environment or telecommuting. I’d want a decent budget for getting local or internet celebrities to try out our stuff and talk about it online. I’d want a pretty open field to do what I want within the brand to make the art of American cheese making as respected and appreciated as it deserves to be.

I love living in California, too. I’d be perfectly happy sticking around if I can continue to afford it. If I could bring my dog SooCoo along to see the cows sometimes, that’d be a huge bonus too. She definitely appreciates Mt Tam and Red Hawk almost as much as I do. She even eats the rind!

Whoever’s doing their social media stuff is already doing a great job. I’d just love to steal their job I guess.

A Priest in a Modern Inclusive Church

One of these things is not like the others, right? I’m sure it may seem strange to most people who know me, considering my stance against many organized religion. Something has occurred to me recently, and I’m not sure why it took so long.

Gangs of New York Priest
I was massively disappointed in my Google image searches for “Priest with a mohawk”, but I guess I’d have to be the first on there.

Everyone I’ve ever met has had a unique relationship with their deity (or deities) of choice. Some people are able to preach to massive mega churches about how they can use their faith as a cudgel to harm and hate others. Why couldn’t I do the same thing in the opposite direction?

It really wouldn’t be that much of a stretch considering that Jesus agreed with me on several topics. He hated war and promoted non-violent resistance. He hung out with prostitutes, so he was apparently more sex positive than most religious Americans today. He flipped tables in anger about over-commercialization and worship of money. The only rule he really seemed to promote was the golden one.

If all of these other churches can mold their god, their holy book and their ethics into whatever form they like… perhaps I could imagine a god that I could believe in. And perhaps others would want to believe in that too.

I like talking to people about ethics, sociology and philosophy. I like giving advice to people when they ask for it. I enjoy thoughtfully contributing to charity. Storytelling and teaching are also things I’m passionate about. Two of my parents were teachers before they retired, and one of them was a priest. My grandmother was a teacher too before she went into being a full-time artist. Maybe it’s in my blood.

I’d welcome people of any background. I’d eschew the boring and repetitive routines of church that I grew up despising. The music can stay, but I’d want it a bit more upbeat than the lazily paced organ music I grew up with. I’d sooner shut the place down than have my mom say “the choir sucks”. I’d try to focus on an agile business plan that allowed us to function with minimal resources to maximize the work we could do for the community. And I’d obviously have a big presence on the internet.

If I could bolster enough support, I might even speak out against the christians that preach hate and bigotry. Given enough resources, I could definitely see myself putting a dent in the negative perception American christians have in the world.

I’d obviously need to go back to school and do a lot more research about this to make it happen. But it’s a new field I’ve suddenly found myself interested in.

Conclusion: My Dream Jobs are Kind of Boring

I was trying to stretch my imagination when I was writing these. I expected to come up with something really silly like “Manager of a chocolate factory run by big-breasted hookers” a la Dave Attell.

But whenever I tried to think of something like Dog Breeder for Enormous Ride-able Hounds I was breaking my rule about being able to do that. Plus, I’m not sure I’d even like that job. I’d rather just adopt one after someone else bred them and then ride him/her to work doing something I might actually be good at.

I guess I’m easier to please than that. I simply want to be productive and feel that I’m making a positive impact on the world. Based on the three I picked, a common thread between them seems to be showing people things I love and hoping they connect to them too.

Honorable mentions go to:

  • Game Designer at Riot, Blizzard or Wizards of the Coast
  • Food critic with a huge travel budget
  • Beloved dictator of a small tropical island

What would your ideal jobs be? Mine turned out way different today than they were 20, 15, or even 5 years ago. Are you as fickle as I seem to be?


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