Pinning Down One's 'Dream Job'

Key Factors: Freedom to Watch 'Juno,' Waking Up Happy

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
I was having a conversation with some colleagues not too long ago when the topic of "dream jobs" came up. Actually, it was more in the context of what would happen if the agency went south for some reason, and I had to go out and look for work. Having our own thing, I suppose, would qualify as a "dream job," but it is interesting to think about what would happen if someone really did dangle a sweet carrot in the form of a "dream job."

I have said publicly that I would gladly go back on the air to do mornings at KINK, my favorite radio station here in Portland. But that job has been taken by Dave Scott and Sheila Hamilton, two outstanding, very talented people who are very very "KINK." I would consider mornings on the air at other stations in Portland, but before I committed to waking up every day at 3 a.m. again, it would have to be a pretty damn good situation. There are a couple of other things that I would consider, two of which are here in Portland, one in New York and a couple in London.

The question that we bounced around, though, is what constitutes a "dream job"? We distilled it down into four issues/scenarios that we thought felt right:
  1. Complete and unconditional freedom. Having the option to work 12 hours a day or go see "Juno" would qualify. Granted, getting the work done first is a priority, but doing so in a way that we thought was justifiable to our values was important. As one colleague put it, "So what if I want to take part of a Tuesday off? As long as the work gets done well, it shouldn't matter."

  2. Long-term rewards. The thinking here is that, if it's a "dream job," it should be the last job we'd all ever want. Would it continue to grow? Would there be constant forward momentum and change? Would the compensation be right?

  3. Partnership. One person thought that a "dream job" should include real partnership/ownership. Another was satisfied with feeling as though he was part of something big and important. I weighed in (with my typical "make everybody happy" style) by thinking that the answer would be a combination of the two.

  4. Waking up happy. This may have been the most important part, avoiding the dread of getting on the train or into the car. After all of the money and freedom had been established, would this "dream job" just make us feel good every day? We differed on some of the other issues, but we all agreed that being happy was the single most important part, even if it meant creating some leeway on the other things.
In this chat, one of my friends warned, "It doesn't matter what it is. The word 'job' is still there and 'dreams' are shattered every day." True, but it's always fun to think about that one gig that we'd take in a heartbeat.
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