Dream jobs

I don’t know about you, but I seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time fantasising about how much better life would be if I had my dream job.

My current ambitions include: becoming a beekeeper, cheesemonger & white witch (in no particular order, and possibly all at once).

Does this ever end? Should it? Or is it a healthy sign to be an eternal malcontent?

When I was ten and people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, my answer was that I wanted to be a television newsreader and journalist. 

I recently discovered some superb ’80s “before they were famous” style home video footage at my parent’s house of me practising my reportage skills. 

I think it’s safe to say that you won’t see me anchoring the ten o’clock news anytime soon.

When I was 12, I saw a poster at High School about joining the staff on the school newspaper. 

Excited, I went to the place at the time stated but then chickened out, dismissing myself as unworthy. 

This still remains a source of great regret for me today as it probably represented my first chance to follow a path towards a dream, independent from parental persuasion.

When I was 13, I made choices on elective school subjects that would define university options and therefore my whole life.

If I got that far.

When I was 15, I was told by High School that I would be destined to fail (generally) if I didn’t opt to continue beyond my ability in mathematics, a subject causing me endless nightmares, panic attacks and sick days. 

Instead of being robust, I accepted this doomsday threat and more tutors were paid for. 

In the end, with my confidence in tatters after being made to feel totally incompetent for a year, I never sat the exam. 

Funnily enough, it was around this time that I discovered the soothing benefits of alcopops.

Ridiculously, It’s only recently that I’ve been comfortable admitting to this episode. 

It has scarred me for life.

When I was 16, our class was told not to even attempt a creative writing submission for our English finals portfolio – discursive essays only as these guaranteed results (again, for the school league tables). 

I got an “A,” but never ever dared to use my imagination in class.

I’m still shy admitting that I have one.

When I was 17, I applied to study business & economics at university because it was cool & came easily to me. 

My dream job at this stage was anything that could bring about money, great clothes & status.

When I was 21, a degree up yet totally unfulfilled, I used my “A” in English to apply for a law course, “because I’m good with words.”

When I was 25, I was working a sixty hour week as a commercial lawyer in a top London city law firm. 

I used to sit on the tube home at midnight paranoid that fellow passengers were laughing at me.

And manically checking my Blackberry.

This was not the dream job they promised.

When I was 30, the global economic crisis spat us all out. I moved away from my husband in London for three years to where the jobs were – my home town of Aberdeen in the north east of Scotland. 

I was determined to be the best at my job for all my sacrifices and so worked too hard. 

I was married to my job.

Behind my back, other women were saying I wasn’t a team player.

At 32, we had our first child. My employer didn’t want to talk flexible hours and so I became a very bitter & reluctant full time mum.

I will never be as stupid to assume that hard work and reputation buys personal loyalty in business again.

After everything, was motherhood supposed to be my dream job?

Aged 33, I started this blog. 

Initially, it was to keep me sane and save me from death by Peppa Pig. 

It is now a log book of everything on my mind. 

Blogging has opened up so many opportunities in writing that I never thought would present themselves again after chickening out of that High School newspaper meeting 22 years ago.

Age 35. I’m pregnant again. These days, I’m a not-so-bitter-or-reluctant full time mum with a flexible, part time blog. 

Money has started trickling in for articles and TV work. 

Ok, so it’s a feast or famine in peanuts, but heck – it’s a dream “job” and I’ve met some wonderful and like-minded people through doing it, both on and offline.

It’s been interesting writing all this down. 

To consider what “dream job” really means and has meant to me over the years.

Money and survival have to play a key role, of course.

But fate has a funny way of going full circle, doesn’t it?

It just goes to show that no matter where you try to run and hide from yourself in life; there you are.

Image: Democraticunderground.com

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29 thoughts on “Dream jobs

  1. This was a really interesting read for me. I’m at this stage in my life where I don’t know when and what source of paid employment I will have next. I can feel quite panicky about it at times.

    I had a vocation for a long period of my life. I did well at school and university because I was driven to be a High School English Teacher. And I loved it. I still miss the classroom element. The rest of the crap had me burning out.

    Then I became a SAHM for a decade and I served on my local Children’s Panel. Both of these “jobs” were challenging but hugely rewarding. Then I became the Manager of a childcare charity running two preschools, an after school club, a toy library and a baby and toddler group.

    Then we emigrated and I was back to being a SAHM again. And I’ve little realistic hope of getting back into teaching, either high school or preschool, and childcare here is so phenomenally expensive – especially during the long summer break – that I’ve no idea what job I could do that would pay me enough that I wouldn’t end up out of pocket.

    So I’m panicked.

    Dream jobs right now would be making a living from my art or writing in some capacity – maybe travel journalism or short stories. However, I am too much of a realist for such dream job thoughts.

    For now I’m just thankful that I enjoy being a SAHM and that I’m very thrifty.

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    • That last comment made me smile! Thrifty is so right when it comes to chasing dreams, and that’s certainly not for everybody. Only the brave. I guess I got here accidentally as I would never have had the time or headspace for the whimsy of keeping a blog in the corporate world. I think my ex-colleagues would be amazed, which is worrying in itself. I’m in a fortunate phase of my life where I can experiment without losing the dream gamble. That phase won’t last forever and so I intend to make the most of it whilst I can. I love your art and creative spirit and have no doubt that you could make a real “go if it” if you chose to. The big question (and conundrum for all artists) of course being: would making it a business zap the fun? See, I told you. An eternal malcontent! 🙈 thanks for reading Laura x

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  2. Great post! I’ve found my dream ‘job’ too – unfortunately it’s not the one that puts bread on the table, never mind wine in the cellar, but I do it and I love it 🙂 Never heard of Peppa Pig, I guess he/she arrived after I left… Take care!

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    • Thanks Linda! Did you see that report published by Creative Scotland earlier in the week discussing the dire need for further assistance for “home grown” writer talent? Saw it and thought of you. Hopefully the Celtic connection will benefit some more of us if they’re serious about pushing the PR from within. You’re better off not knowing about Peppa Pig until it hits you in the form of future grandkids…upon which, batten down the hatches!! Have a great weekend x

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      • I didn’t, no, will have a look and see if I can find it. Mind you, they say too you can’t throw a stone down a street in Glasgow without hitting a crime writer… Have a peaceful Sunday! x

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  3. Sometimes life adjusts to us… sometime we adjust to life… and somewhere along the way, things settle into their places… but if we want it to settle in the most desirable places, we have to work hard on making life adjust to us… =) rather than us going along with what life brings…

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    • Hi Lili, thanks for your wise words. Sometimes it’s the missed opportunities that have had the biggest influence upon my direction. I’m a romantic I suppose. I like to believe that everything happens for a reason. But it can take years to understand what or why. Who knows if that’s true. In the meantime, the world just keeps on turning I guess!

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  4. I was about 35 when I started blogging and just turned 46 this year. Blogging turned my world upside down and inside out because it helped me remember who I was, who I am and who I want to be. Dreams are meant to be lived or at least chased.

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    • Hi Jack. I know exactly what you mean & your posts always resonate with me for that very reason. I guess the only “downside” (if you can call it that) is the addictive nature of blogging. Once you start the therapy it’s hard not to want to write everything down rather than talk! Thanks for reading!

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  5. I think it’s great that you’re getting to do what you consider a dream job. Like you say, you spend various points in your early life wondering what you might become but not having enough life experience to truly know. My sister wanted to be a butcher when she was little and I always find that funny (she’s a marketing manager now). I’m chasing my dream of being an author and working hard at getting there. In the meantime, I’m writing, writing writing and loving that too.

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    • Absolutely. It’s the twists and turns we follow wherever the conventional leads us. It would be easy to regret and feel angry for not having launched into writing properly from a younger age but I’m grateful for the life experiences I have collected along the way. I’m hopeful now that I can continue to chase my dream but those damn bills will always need paying! Thanks for reading X

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  6. Like you my employment history is very chequered and I was desperately unsatisfied no matter what I was doing. Working hard in a big company usually gets you nowhere other than people giving you more work to do. I suppose I am doing a dream job now, like you motherhood gave me an excuse to opt out of the corporate world and become self employed, my ‘mummy blog’ I wrote years ago helped me realise what I could do for myself and opened a few doors. Being a writer makes me angsty at times, however I love it and I’m completely in charge now and no one tells me what to do. That’s one of the best bits. And earning money being creative is brilliant too. Sometimes I think you’re better off not planning your career path too much, satisfaction and opportunities can come from unexpected places.

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    • I love that you too managed to escape the corporate world and the world didn’t end. That’s what I feared would happen if I stepped off the hamster wheel!! Yes, I don’t make as many “luxury” purchases etc as I used to in a conventional job but my life is so much fuller and satisfying for all the right reasons. Thanks so much for reading xx

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  7. I love this post, it was like going on a journey with you (although the word ‘journey’ has been forever made naff by X factor). I’ts fascinating to read how you got to where you are now. Bloody schools though. Mine was not as bad as yours in the pushy stakes but I remember being counselled against Art A level which I REALLY wanted to to, because ‘universities don’t take it seriously’. I was academic so apparently it was of no interest if I wanted to pursue a creative career. You did something my school would have massively approved of (no, not the alcopops) by having a high flying solicitor job. But I can totally understand why it wasn’t your dream job at all – sounds like the antithesis to a creative life in many ways. Glad you’ve found your way to job happiness though and I hope those peanuts grow into something bigger and more nutritious.Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

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    • Thanks Maddy. Yes, it’s a shame we were all pushed so much down academic routes. I can sort of see why though and I suppose one great take away is that my English results were excellent & I’m fairly well read. Essential writer ingredients. Could take or leave much of the rest. What I have also got in my armoury (I guess) is the life experience of never having to wonder what professional life might be like. Perhaps if I were a struggling artist I might equally be frustrated for not sticking in with studies. Who knows. I guess that’s just life for you. From what I can see, schools seem a bit better at nurturing non-academic spirits these days and so hoping that my kids are gently encouraged should they be creative. Thanks for reading! X

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  8. Oh I am totally on the same page as you! I also went to a school that had a very academic focus and drained the creativity out of me, whilst pushing for grades. I feel there have been so many missed opportunities in my life to find a dream job. And I spend an inordinate amount of time fantasising about my dream job but in the same thought also why I can’t do it. It is interesting how we feel that being a SAHM is not enough, and although I see it as very important I just can’t get my head around it being the definition of me – hence the random struggle of putting my thoughts into words on the screen. Blogging is opening up things for me that I thought had closed down long ago, so hearing that it has been positive for you I find encouraging. Thanks for sharing. xx

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    • It is interesting how the SAHM thing plays out in my mind. Societal pressures I think have really freaked me out as I always assumed that I would just go back to work. It’s a long story for another day but I’m so glad that door is currently shut. Being at home meant I needed something to keep me sane and so finally the stars aligned on my burning desire to write. The highs and lows of motherhood has certainly fuelled this, although I don’t often purely write about my parenting experiences. So lovely to chat it all through via what I’m writing. Thanks so much for reading xx

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  9. Interesting to read how many of us were steered away from an artistic path by schools (and parents?) interested only in academic success. Aged 9, I wanted nothing more than to write. I didn’t really know that being ‘a writer’ was a thing though – and any vague thoughts of it were soon drummed out of me by the high flying school I joined at that age. Creativity just wasn’t valued, and over time I started to doubt my abilities as well. But, you know, I was getting straight As so that was all that mattered, right? Cue a good fifteen years of suppressing the smouldering desire to be doing something more creative, until finally becoming a mum set me free! I’m still a way off from turning my writing into a new career, but it feels good to be finally doing it that’s for sure… xx

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    • I can’t believe how close to my experience your comment is. It makes me sad that so many of us feel like we were suppressed but I guess the main thing is that we’re on our path now. The evolution and ease of blogging platforms has made this possible in my case. I’m not sure what my outlet would have been otherwise. Thanks for reading! X

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  10. I love what you have written. I can so relate. Hindsight is always clearer. There are days when i wish I had taken the road less travelled or courage to make a different decision but then when I look at where I am, I think I wouldn’t be who I am without my experiences. And that affects my writing as well. So I am happy with where I am but I look forward (not backward) to where I am headed but I know the end may not be what I had envisioned. My dream job? I’m always dreaming, but then again that’s who I am. #WhatImWriting

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  11. I really relate to this, having had a non-straightforward career myself! I’ve reached a point when I reckon a lot of the most interesting people have a similar ‘chequered’ career history, which leads to a more fulfilling ‘patchwork’ as they get a bit older and more established. I’d love to make enough money out of writing to work on that full time, but I accept that may never happen. In the meantime, balancing other experiences (paid work, family responsibilities) feed my writing and my bank account, keep my grounded… that’s the theory anyway!

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    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there in mentioning the patchwork nature of life. I just wish I had the confidence to put myself out there sooner with my creative writing. Thank god for blogging! Thanks for reading X

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  12. “no matter where you try to run and hide from yourself in life; there you are”

    So true… As for schools, they have a lot to answer for! I have a dream job now, but it took me a long time, therapy, coaching and redundancy to get here! But the dream was always in mind (the writing bit anyway – the coaching came later), and I love helping those feeling lost move towards their dreams (or back to their authentic selves) now! 🙂 Glad you’ve found your way onto a more fulfilling path. xx

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    • We frustrated writers certainly have the “survivor” spirit, don’t we?! I don’t think non-creatives get it atall. I know many of my friends find the concept of blogging weird. But I love our wee subculture! I’m so pleased you found your path and have been able to use your experiences to help others too X

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  13. I love your dream jobs! And your pregnancy track mirrors mine, age 32 and 35. It sounds like you’re making writing a dream job, though I understand that it’s often feast or famine. So glad to have found your blog via the wonderful Maddy.

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    • Aww, how old are your little ones? I’m having fun with mine at the moment – tired mummy! Yes, I’m trying to write as much as I can and loving what it brings to me in terms of satisfaction of the urge to pen my thoughts! Lovely to connect via Maddy too X

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