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?