What's Your Dream Job?

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.

Petite Home Office image
Image Credit: http://www.stufffromthe80s.co.uk/80s-toys-and-games/roleplay/petite-office-activity-set

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”.

Me on my way to an important meeting

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.


  1. I second the Spa reviewer if there is a second offer!! I had to laugh at the “teacher & great holidays”, I always say I wish I had done teaching too, but then I see my SIL and 4 of my closest friends who are prary school teachers who like you said; are paying full time childcare, there is work to be done outside of school hours and a lot of the time it’s “crowd control” rather than being actually able to teach.
    Nursing – as much as I love it, there are more days spent moaning and I’m guaranteed to be a hunched over arthritic pensioner from years of lifting increasingly obese patients.
    My dream job honestly would be an air hostess (or I think so) for a high end airline travelling the world, this would be my perfect job if I didn’t have children!x

    • The whole having children thing puts a different spin on it! I’d love to write holiday guides, travel and then tell all about it, but that’s a pre-kids job too. Maybe personal shopper?

  2. Pingback: Irish Parenting Bloggers | What’s Your Dream Job?

  3. Really well written Sinead, a great read 🙂
    I think you will have your dream job someday in the future, hopefully not too far into the future 🙂

  4. As I have probably said too many times already, I also had my dream job! Though a few tweaks could have made it better, mainly people-related, but homemade soup would’ve been good too. But really it would be hard to beat the variety and unstressfulness of a part time management job in consumer PR with lots of time off during the summer holidays 🙂

  5. You should have been a priest- i.e., a woman priest!
    Look at all of your qualifications – especially the kids!

  6. Love this post! I can really relate to a lot of it. My dream job would be very similar to yours too. I’m also all about the home comforts, and finding the extraordinary in the ordinary!

  7. Perhaps there will come a time when technology and trust will merge to let you do it all from the comfort of a luxury shed at the back of the garden.

    Our garden’s too small to facilitate a screen big enough for my dream job – national film censor. I could reconcile that with family life no bother.

    • Oh, that’s an excellent dream job, I might steal that. I like that phrase “when technology and trust will merge”. The technology is there, it’s the trust will take a while. I do like social interaction at work too though.

  8. What great read! I can so relate to it. Chocolate tester for a living. ..Wow! But am sure that must be a lot of hard work too..

  9. I had the post office version of that office set! My dream job , thinking of me with a family , would be my current work – on a 3 day week , only working with adults with intellectual disability. At the moment I work with children 5-18 with intellectual disability and autism which includes a special school and 5 autism units , as well as the adults . Specialising would take away huge amounts of stress and craziness for me but just not possible! I’d also work in the town I live in so no 40 km each way commute ( which isn’t bad in the grand scheme of things really)

  10. I love this! Reading the last bit I realise I pretty much have an ideal job most of the time, like you, I would like a 3 day week and be able to drop Luke to school when that time comes but for now I commute to the city. However I do have a kettle, microwave and a small fridge in our “kitchen” aka the cupboard that these things are in, I’m with you on the numbers bit too! You hit the nail on the head though, the dream job for is more about the environment that the actual job as such, something that only came into play since having a child. A 3 day week on a 5 day wage is the ideal scenario though (I’ll settle for a lotto win too!) 😉

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