What’s Your Dream Job?

So far, I’ve already had a few dream jobs. The first was working in production at a medium-sized radio station in a medium-sized Midwestern town. I produced commercials, the occasional public relations program, captured commercials from network, edited various items, and performed routine preventative maintenance (i.e., cleaning up). During lunch on Wednesdays, I’d run across the river to my favorite bookstore (Readmore Book World, how I miss you!) and pick up my weekly comics. If business was slow during that afternoon, I’d read the comics and eat a late lunch. Things were going along swimmingly until I decided to pursue graduate studies in Radio-TV. (No, I did not complete my masters degree, something I regret to this day.)

My second dream job came in 1984, in Fort Worth, Texas, when I was hired as the AudioVisual Coordinator (later Director) for a national retail company. This was the first job where I was hired mostly for my writing skills. The position involved writing, producing, sometimes shooting and editing, multimedia and video productions for the company. Mostly these were training materials for salespeople and instructional materials for consumers. Once a year, we did the “dog and pony show” at the regional sales conferences. I’d put together some fun shows to be shown over a two-day agenda, then I went along on the trip to stage the shows.

For my first year, I produced six multi-projector shows. At the time, before video or PowerPoint, we actually used slide projectors, nine of them daisy-chained through a computer and programmed in sequence to emulate motion on the screen, create special effects, and present information. I wrote a few comedic/motivational “Day in the Life of a Salesperson” shows, based on interviews with the president, store managers and salespeople in the stores. These were fun to do, showing some humorous situations in a fictional store location, and how that store’s staff reacted to them.

But the centerpiece was the presentation shown at the awards dinner. Richard Steel, private eye, is hired to spy on a store’s staff. The client says the staff must be doing something shady, because they keep racking up high sales and winning awards. The script is typical hard-boiled stuff with a comedy edge, inspired equally by The Maltese Falcon, Get Smart, and Firesign Theater’s “The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye,” from their We’re All Bozos on This Bus album. When I turned in the script, my boss and her boss were nearly rhapsodic in their praise. (My boss’ boss actually said, “This is the best thing you’ve written.”)

When the production was finished, we previewed it for the president of the company, who loved it. When we showed it to the salespeople, they laughed, hooted and hollered, and gave it a big hand. The best compliment? My boss, who had to take maternity leave during the latter half of production cycle, saw the presentation for the first time at the last regional meeting, which was held at home base in Fort Worth. She never told me her reaction directly, but I learned second-hand that, after the Richard Steel presentation, she leaned over to a co-manager and said, “It looks so…professional!” Best praise I could have had.

Of course, five years later, the company laid me off, but it was a good run. And they continued to hire me on a freelance basis for three years thereafter.

My last dream job was as videoconferencing project manager for a community college system. I was hired in mid-summer. Before spring of the following year, we had established a VC network with three area high schools to offer them college-level courses through distance learning. That was an achievement that still surprises me to this day, considering the short time we had to put it together. A few mistakes were made along the way, but it was a learning process for all of us.

And yet, I still haven’t achieved my real dream job. Sure, I’ve made stabs at it here and there: the FutureView column for The Buyer’s Guide to Comics Fandom, the motivational and instructional scripts I wrote during the 80s and early 90s, the short fiction and aborted attempts at novels through the years, and the movie review career I tried to get started during the remainder of the 90s. I’m taking another stab at this dream job this November with NaNoWriMo.

Bruce Diamond, novelist.

Wish me luck. And please allow me to ask . . .

What’s your dream job?

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About Bruce Diamond

Despicably proud old man. Text-extruding asshole (thank you, John Scalzi) with a skewed vision on life, pop culture, writing and general assholiness. Not a scholar, not a gentleman, not Martin or Lewis. But still trying to make life fun and funny.
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2 Responses to What’s Your Dream Job?

  1. Dave Gardner says:

    I’ve had many “dream” jobs already…

    My first “dream” job was at a working university marine laboratory. Although as a “research aide” I had to do occasional “grunt work” like shoveling fish poop from the huge aquariums, there were some nice tasks as well–such as providing tours of the laboratory to lost tourists (usually Japanese tourists) who accidentally stumbled over the lab. I also provided photographic and editing services for the lab’s technical reports (and got a nice mention many times in the documents).

    My first jobs out of college were as an English teacher at a parochial junior high school and as a science teacher at a public senior high school. I loved interacting with the kids and seeing their faces light up when they finally *got the concept*. Even more satisfying has been to find out that some of them are now teaching the same courses that I had taught… the influence carries on…

    For a while, I was a staff writer/photographer for a daily newspaper…. the hours were horrible and the pay was worse… but the variety and excitement were awesome. If I hadn’t been married with a kiddo on the way, I’d probably still be there. One of the greatest highlights of that job was being on the runway in the special “media section” when the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-3) landed at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Truly a historic experience!

    Ten years later, I was the sole technical editor/writer with NASA’s International Space Station Project Gravitational Biology Facility. This job was a wild ride–and I worked next to a mock-up of the Space Station… and worked with astronauts, scientists, and engineers on some of the components of the GBF. A truly mind-blowing experience!

    At a weeklong “career focus” seminar, we were asked to name “dream jobs” that we’d like in the future… and one I came up with was:

    —PR Director for the Honolulu Aquarium (I have a degree in biology/marine biology, journalism background, and I’m an “island boy” –attended the University of Guam … so I’m familiar with the marine biology of the area).

    The key to attaining “dream jobs” is to take steps in the direction of certain goals… and after a while, those steps lead to things that start to resemble your dream job. Sometimes it’s a matter of being *prepared* when the *opportunity* arises. Of course, your milage may vary.

    Thanks for an inspirational post!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Dave. I’m especially envious of your NASA job, as I had dreamed of space as a kid. I would’ve wanted to camp out in the mockup of the space station. Regarding taking steps in the direction of certain goals…that’s what I’m hoping I’m doing by pursuing the fiction writing. Time will tell.

    [I don’t know why this reply to your comment didn’t show up earlier. I posted it late Saturday/early Sunday.]

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