My mother absolutely believes that dream jobs exist. She believes there’s a perfect position out there for me, and she bases this belief on the fact that she’s had two dream jobs in her lifetime. One was as a paralegal, and the other as my mother (her words). I had a hard time believing her — not because she has a habit of lying — but because I know how I behaved during some of my more formative years.
I, however, don’t share my mother’s faith in the idea of a dream job. I was a college graduate with two degrees and some proficiency in three languages, yet I worked in a coffee shop in my college town while a friend convinced me to start writing — instead of just saying I wanted to be a writer. I made it seven months before I bought a one way ticket to the Middle East, where I lived next door to my best friend and managed to land a job as an English copywriter for a local start-up company.
A Slow Start
My assignments were limited and I watched the first three seasons of “Game of Thrones” at my desk. Some might call that the perfect job, but I was discontent. That feeling propelled me into a graduate program in Northern Ireland, which I was able to do while keeping up with the clients I had gained as a freelance writer. After graduating I realized that without a work visa for Europe or the UK, I would never be considered for the positions I was applying for. When my friends joked, “Just marry a European!” I cried a little inside for the state of the global job market and my available “opportunities.”
The final blow to my notion of a dream job came in the form of the perfect job that combined two of my life’s passions: rock climbing and writing. The job was located in the French Alps and my interviewer made reference to routine company trips to local crags for bouldering and climbing, among other outdoor activities. I was hooked. I enthusiastically waited to hear back, hoping that someone would give me the chance to experience what, in my mind, might be my dream job.
I was sitting in a hostel in Rome when I got the news that I hadn’t been chosen for the job, but thanks for trying. I cried a little and sadly relayed the message to friends and family. Then I remembered that I was in Rome, and eating gelato in front of the Colosseum trumps a job rejection every time.
Just Keep Searching
You could say that I have some fairly strict guidelines when it comes to considering something my dream job, which involves being my own boss, getting to work from wherever I want and having the option to work in my pajamas. In some ways I already have my dream job — I just wish it paid a bit more, and maybe offered health insurance.
But freelance writing has allowed me to have an extraordinarily flexible work schedule while doing something I really love. Every assignment and every paycheck must be earned, because I only get paid when I finish a project. There may come a day when I have to find a more stable position in order to pay back student loans and continue to fund my worldwide adventures, but for now I am doing what I can to continue working, traveling and learning. There are hundreds of countries in this world — maybe my dream job is in one of them!