One morning as I drove to work I heard a clip on the radio about “dream jobs”. It gave the results of a “survey” which reported that Irish women’s thought that Imelda May, Katie Taylor and Cecelia Ahern had the best jobs in the world. (I found a report about it here– it’s sponsored by a beer company, it figures). It got me thinking.
The top three women are Imelda May (39%), Katie Taylor (32%) and Cecilia Ahern (21%).
I’d had a conversation the week before week with friends about what job is ideal for working mothers. It was one of many, many similar conversations I’ve had since I went back to work after my first maternity leave six years ago.
A lot of women focus straight in on teaching simply due to the holidays, but having close friends who teach I know that while the long summer holidays are blissful there’s often little flexibility during term time and childcare is often a problem when children are sick.
Others think that being your own boss is the best thing ever, but for anyone in the know this just means that you’re always on call for BOTH jobs and maternity “leave” just won’t happen.
Nurses often seem to be able to work their shifts around family life, but I don’t simply don’t have the vocation. They work very long shifts and the work is physically demanding.
Hairdressers often work one or two long days too, but my creativity is lacking.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate what I actually do for a living. I like working in an office, I like the people I work with, I like using my brain the way that my job needs it to be used, I like legal work. I also have a good work environment and helpful colleagues who are actually nice to spend time with (and I’m not just saying this as some of them read this from time to time!). I have generous holiday entitlements and have been really fortunate to be allowed take my parental leave one day a week, giving me a four-day working week (at 80% salary, obviously enough). These things are all very positive.
BUT I am on record (lots) about the fact that I do not like my commute.
This dreaded commute steals my day, the hours that in my head I think would be mine, but in reality I know would belong to my children, my housework and facebook.
This also clouds my judgment and moulds my opinion on what my dream job would be now*
*this only applies if I don’t win the lotto, in which case I’m outta here.
In my teens I’d have reeled off the classic list of dream jobs. “Spa reviewer” “Shopping Consultant” “Chocolate Tester” would have featured strongly, but with the decades, the wrinkles and the kids come more realistic aspirations**. I really wanted to be a journalist, having no idea what a journalist actually did, it sounded good, and sure how hard could it be?
I admit when I heard these survey results I despaired. I know it was light hearted, the sponsor should give that away, but there was no context given on the radio soundbite.
I felt it was so divorced from reality. That might be the whole point of dream jobs but it was still too much for me.
That list just doesn’t appeal to me. I know that I never wanted to be a singer (which, give my musical ability was a fortunate turn of events) or a professional athlete. Sure I’d love to write for a living, but then you hear about marketing and book tours and it sounds, well, hard.
Ever since I owned Day to Night Barbie and the Petite Home Office, before Desktop PCs were even invented I’ve wanted to work in an office. In Third Class in primary school, aged about 8 I wrote about my favourite outfit as a short essay- I chose a grey pencil skirt and white shirt with a ruffle collar. Classic office worker outfit, even then.
For 73%, their dream job is defined by simply doing something they enjoy followed by feeling happy every day, at 63%.
The good news is that our survey also said that 21% surveyed said that they already have their dream job. Isn’t that heartening? Given that they are unlikely to have asked Bono or Imelda May to take part in the survey these are probably normal people who can simply, hand on heart, say “I love my job”.
Right now my dream job is one where I sit in an office within 10 minutes of my house three days a week and write stuff on a nice computer. One where the keys kind of ping when you type not click clack. There’d be a kettle, and a fridge and microwave so I could bring homemade soup for lunch, and somewhere nearby to go out for a nice lunch. I could drop the kids to school on my way to work. The work could be law stuff, or writing stuff or other stuff. I’d need to have to use my brain though, and no numbers please, I’m not especially good at sums. I’d manage a bit of social media too, at a push. My colleagues would be friendly and helpful. Ditto my clients. The work would make me think, keep me interested but not put stress on me. Work would fulfil me and make me happier.
Sometimes we think that others have it better or easier. I am often jealous of mums who stay home with their kids while I’m in work, but when I’m home I look forward to the escape back to work.
We can all have our dream job, if we just think about what we really, really want from it. Do we really want to live out of suitcases or do we crave our home comforts? What actually makes a dream job? My description above is less about the job and more about the environment, but I suspect once I got all that right, if the role itself wasn’t appealing and stimulating I’d be miserable. But I’m willing to find out.
While following your dreams won’t necessarily pay the bills, a slightly more realistic dream or aspiration can be enough to get you through the rough days and to focus your mind on fixing what you can.
Sure, we can’t all have our dream jobs can we?
What’s your dream job? Has it changed over the years? Do you ever think you’ll get to do it.
**By the way if anyone reading DOES in fact want to offer me the role of spa reviewer do get in touch, I’ll still cling to some of those teenage dreams.