I Want To Be An Astronaut

Just out of curiosity, dear visitors – a couple of wee questions.

  1. What do you do for a living?
  2. Are you happy doing it?
  3. If no, what would you rather be doing?

You can be anonymous with your answers, if you like. Or use a fake name, like Gustav von Ronski or Gloria Winterbottom.

This has nothing to do with blubber! Just me looking for ideas and inspiration πŸ™‚

122 thoughts on “I Want To Be An Astronaut

  1. Hi Shuana! I’m an “Executive Administrative Assistant” – basically I’m a glorified secretary for the President and GM of a 500-employee printing company. However, I don’t do typical secretarial work like filing and answering phones. I primarily work on creating and maintaining reports, procedures, policies, etc. For the most part I do something different every day and I love my job. It sure wasn’t my ideal job before I stumbled into the position but I love what I do and the people I work for are incredible. I’ve found my groove!

  2. Hello! I work as a legal secretary and basically stumbled into the job because I was looking for something near my house with good hours. It’s never what I aspired to do but it pays well and is very convenient for me and my family. I didn’t have any training but was hired because I was willing to learn, I guess. My real job is wife and mother (and step-mother)!

  3. I’m a graphic designer. I do more print-based work than web-based, but some of both. I like some of it and not other aspects, like any other job. Liking a job is more about the organisation you’re in, the people you work with, than the work itself. I don’t know that there’s something I would switch to now, but if I had it to do all over again, I would either go into research science, perhaps agricultural research, or learn as many languages as possible to enhance my chance of being posted internationally.

  4. I’m a bank teller. I would never have chosen it but I needed health insurance so I took the job. The work is pretty mundane but I have plenty of time to screw around on the internet. I work with the most funny and kind people I’ve ever known and that’s what makes it worthwhile. Otherwise I’d probably jump off a cliff. There are only so many times you can listen to people shout at the ATM. It doesn’t feel pain, it can’t be reasoned with.

  5. bwahah! amy, that last sentence made my day πŸ™‚

    thank you people… you are all legends!

  6. I’m a glorified secretary for my families business. I’m suppose to be the marketing and retail Manager but really it seems most of what I’ve been doing is writing reports, and ordering stuff. I’m not total happy doing it but soon our business is about to get a lot bigger. So I’ll have more to do soon. I’m also doing a traineeship in tourism. But the thing I’d really like to be doing is running my own fashion boutique, I studied fashion so it would be cool to have my own label, just got to get off my butt and do it.

  7. I’m a social worker. I work with mentally ill adults. Most of the time I love my work and I feel strongly that it is my calling. Then there are other times.

  8. Hey all! This is the first time I am writing a comment on this blog, although I’ve been following it for a couple of months now. So first of all, I’d like to say: Dietgirl, you rock! Not only as a weight loss inspiration, but also as a blogger.

    So, here’s my information: I am a engineer (mechanical) and I work for a company selling software for engineering purposes. I work at customer services and mostly I help people (on the phone or by email) to use the software. I absolutely love my job. It totally falls into the category for which I studied (this company is actually a spin-off of the department where I studied). And my colleagues are all engineers, so I can really get along with them.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. I’m an executive Admin. Asst. for a managing director of an insurance company….he thinks he is more important than he really is and thinks himself higher up in the whole food chain than he really is so therefore he makes my life most of the time a living hell….I don’t mind working and I don’t mind really what I do, but it sucks having so much stress in my life because of my work. I would rather be doing something else…first and formost I would rather be at home to glorify in my kids lives….they are 11 and 13 and there’s not much time left for them at home….but alas the all mighty dollar takes center stage…what would the world be without money, the ability to put a figure on what you do…would we be more equal….I wonder….something to ponder…..

  10. I’m a bored technical writer. It would be okay if I was kept busy, but most of the time I’m not. However, I’d rather be an editor(of the copy-editing sort rather than the commissioning sort) in a book publisher’s. In reality, what I’ll be quite soon is an ex-technical writer and full-time mother, and possibly some-time freelancing editor if I can get anyone to send me work and I have any inclination to take time out of making goo-gah noises at the baby to do it.

  11. Hi

    As you probably know because I moan about it often enough on my blog:
    I am a university administrator working in a medical school in London.
    There are lots of things I don’t like about my job but I stick around because the money is good and my partner is currently out of work (over a year now). I came here to teach (like lots of Kiwis/Aussies) but couldn’t handle the schools I was put into. I guess I just think I’m worth more than all that (and what I’m dealing with now).
    I don’t know what I would rather be doing but something more creative or more autonomous or more skill-oriented – or perhaps a mixture of the 3. Sometimes I think I’d love to be a careers adviser or personal adviser in either a high school or university because I think I’d both be good at it and enjoy it. Unfortunately the money is pretty rubbish in Connexions and in university careers service you need extra quals…
    But of course I really just wish I could write a novel and be able to earn a living from writing. Easier said than done.

  12. Up until recently I was customer service officer, in a call centre, at an insurance company. I was far from happy doing it. Chained to a desk battery chicken-style, big brother always watching (monitored calls, emails read, all screenshots captured), bunched up break times so that the day ended with 4.5hrs straight, being yelled at by beligerant customers, being yelled at by pissed off customers who are totally justified, being spoken to like a school kid when I did not meet one sales target out of a six month period, being depressed at working for a big, ugly, bloodsucking multinational etc. I was there three years. Why so long? Hours were 7am – 2:30pm Tu, We, Th.

    I would rather be a primary school teacher and the good news is I am now able to fully concentrate on study and bring this aim to fruition. Homeschool your kids from 2009 people!

    I have only recently found your site and intend to read the whole she-bang. I need a shot in the arm and I figure you’re it!

  13. Hello! I’m a Communications Specialist doing public relations for a large agency in Atlanta. Most of the time I love my job but sometimes it can be a very frustrating experience. Especially since the vast majority of people hate PR flacks!

  14. I am an instructional technologist. I work for a small community college, helping faculty improve their teaching with technology, focusing mainly on online courses. I love it.

  15. I’m currently a Stay-At-Home Mom…I love it but let me say that it’s not for the faint of heart. As much as I love my son there are days when I think I will go crazy from the lack of adult interaction. Four year olds aren’t known for their scintillating conversation!

    Prior to this, I was a long-range planner and production scheduler for a major brewer. Loved, loved, loved my job but the office politics were just atrocious. Someday I wouldn’t mind getting back into the business. I was really good at it…but my husband was transferred out of state so I quit my job, got pregnant, and have been home ever since.

  16. Hi there DG. I have never commented on your site before, but have been an avid reader for sometime. Sounds as though you are fishing around for ideas for your ownself. I am a physical therapist and absolutely love my job. I have worked in this profession for 22 years. I get to help people physically, psychologically and emotionally by helping them recover from injury. Of course there are days that don’t go as smoothely as others or when I have to deal with angry people that I fantasize about other possibilities. On those days, visions of a lovely bed and breakfast in the country seem to be prevalant. My guests would all be interesting, politically progressive people from all over the globe. They they would never complain about the food or the bill. And the sun would always shine.

  17. Although I’m not currently working, as I’m waiting to be admitted and start a Phd, I worked as a university lecturer in an economics department. It was great, as I was young enough to avoid all the politics, although I think that part might have gotten horrible after a while, I was always interacting with young people which kept my outlook fresh, but at the same time I got the opportunity to do research, and meet very cool people who’d done all sorts of interesting research. The teaching was a lot of fun, and also nerve wracking. Over all, I think I could have held done another full time job at the same time πŸ™‚ Maybe not, but I definitely think working as a lecturer is the best job for flexibility of hours, working at home if needed etc. To the extent that I took off on a month’s holiday, and as all my work was done, I could do that (without having my pay docked!).

  18. I’m a PR consultant. I really enjoy is as I get to do some writing mixed with planning, organising, speaking to people.

    I get to meet a wide range of clients as I work for an agency as opposed to in house. For example I met with a hair dressers the other day, a potential client and next week I’ve got a meeting with a lawyer to find out more about another client’s new deal.

    If I had to choose my ideal job- I would say running my own coffee shop. I’d have the best marketing and PR campaing around!

  19. I’m a Librarian. I love my job and I would recommend it to anyone who likes people, information and technology. As a librarian, it is my job to surf the web, create innovative blog posts, work on wikis, find information for people, and to recommend books, CD’s, Databases, and movies. I love it.

    Two Thumbs Up!

  20. I study to become an occupational therapist. I have a history in new media and diving&rescue industry but I found my *true* calling almost two years ago. Just started my second 8-week field practice this Monday. I SO love it. πŸ™‚ My practice takes place in a psychiatric department in a hospital.

  21. I’m a full time graduate student. I love what I study, I do worry about finding a job when I finish up next year. I do believe that I will find a job one day that will make me feel as if I found my “calling,” but I’m mature enough to realize that I might work a lot of shit jobs before I get to that! The best part of graduate school is the relationships with the professors and other students, it feels more equal and team-like. Plus, they’re an incredibly smart and funny group of people! I’m also learning Arabic to add to my future potential for getting a job, it’s hard as crap, but that’s the price I pay for my interest in the Middle east!

  22. I’m a TV Researcher and I love my job. It doesn’t pay as well as some but the people are fab and every day is different. If I wasn’t doing this I would like to be a psychiatrist and almost considered retraining but it was too much like hard work. Losing weight is difficult enough! This is my first comment although I’ve been lurking for over a year now. I’m right at the start of losing weight and DG, you are my inspiration. Never stop blogging!

  23. I work at a contemporary art museum. I am the director of a corporate art loan program; we loan artwork to companies that donate money to our institution. On the side, I do a series of lectures to students and artists about how support oneself with a degree in fine art. I love my job and I feel very lucky to be earning a living wage in the art field. I have never posted a comment on a blog before, but I have been reading this one for months and I think this is such an interesting topic.

  24. I am a middle school math teacher. I absolutely love it. I used to do restaurant work, and then after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, I lost my job and went back to school. That was when I discovered my true calling. I graduated college with honors at age 36. Now I go to work every day and feel like I am making a difference.

  25. I am an accountant in the public sectorYes I am happy, except that April to June is very busy and that’s when the weather is getting better in the UK
    I wouldn’t like to do anything else – it pays too well.

  26. I am a school administrator for a few more weeks and I’m not so happy. But, after 4 years of going to school at night, I am graduating from law school next month and so will soon be an attorney. I loved law school and I loved interning for my future employer so I’m hopeful I will soon be very happy with my work!

  27. I’m a stay at home Mom/babysitter. I have 2 sons (ages 5 & 3) and I babysit 4 other kids. Once my youngest son enters 1st grade I think I’m going to go back to school for Nursing.

  28. I’m a journalist and I enjoy it because it allows me to indulge my natural curiosity and then I get to write about what I discover.

  29. This question is an extremely timely one, as I just quit my job on FRIDAY and am pondering what comes next. I was a nanny for a set of three-year-twins, and I was not happy doing it. The children were fantastic but the parents were unappreciative, demanding, and delusional. If I could do anything, I would write, and I’ve taken a few weeks of unemployment to focus on my writing. But I have to stop dicking around on the internet first. Ahem.

  30. Hey Shauna! Currently I’m a grant writer for a nonprofit organization. A great job, even if a little bit boring at times, but very rewarding because you get to know that what you do directly helps and impacts other people.
    The only problem with working for nonprofits is the lack of position security. My position is grant funded so unless we can get ok’d for another year, I may be out on my butt in a couple of months!
    But I’ve always said if I could find a grant writing job that was a permanent position I’d take it in a heartbeat!

  31. Hi, I’m a graduate student in Library Science (librarian in training). I like it so far, and I’m sure it will be a good job. I love everything artsy (film, theatre, etc.) but I suppose it will come in handy to have one of those jobs that pays the rent!

  32. I work in software development on user-interfaces and graphics and stuff! I actually really like my job, and I have a hard time thinking of anything I’d rather be doing instead. Some jobs sound like they might be more fun at times, but I imagine they’d also drive me completely crazy on some days… this one doesn’t. πŸ™‚

  33. Hi Shauna,

    I’ve been lurking here for a while. I really like your site.

    I’ve done lots of stuff. BUt since leaving college/uni, the three main ones have been Museum Registrar (like a librarian, but for all sorts of objects not just books.) I loved it. Afterwards I was a property manager in a real estate company. HATED IT WITH THE HEAT OF A MILLION SUNS. Really, a crappy, stressful job, but very lucrative. Now I am a tour operator (like a travel agent, but wholesale not retail) sending people primarily to Asia, and I really enjoy it.

  34. Hello there Dietgirl & The Dietettes!
    This subject makes very interesting reading. I work as a Nanny and am also a part-time MA student. I love the Nannying as I get to look after a little girl who is a darling and her parents who are very generous, so I’m lucky. But I love my MA too, which is in Creative Writing, and really hope I can get my act together to send my writing off to places where people will go “Oh, she’s good. Let’s give her a Β£30,000 3-book deal” and then I can just write most of the day, taking well-earned breaks to make soup for my husband and clean the windows. But my work-life is not bad. I’m glad I have a lovely family to work for, and can study at the same time.
    Keep up the great blogging, Dietgirl!

  35. I work hard at being a good mom and overall home administrator. I used be a program analyst at the World Bank (truly my dream job) but when the baby came, I realized that I couldn’t do it all well and I needed to make some choices. My kids are now 6 and 3 and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. There are days I miss working at a REAL job, but mostly I am thankful to NOT have to work. We are not rich by any means, but we don’t really want for anything. Eventually I want to teach middle school (mom’s hours for sure). That’s it Diet Girl!

  36. I’m a retail sales & marketing coordinator. It’s an ok job. Honestly, I’d love it if it paid more money. My dream job would be as a special events planner, which is currently only part of my current job. Hopefully, by the time I’m 35 I will open my own Party Planning(weddings, bah mitzvah’s, etc)business.

  37. WoW – what a great crowd of folks!

    I’m a full time researcher for the govt and I love it. But I would have hated it ten years ago. Enjoying your job requires a good manager but also takes good timing.

    If you’re looking for inspiration, try reading What Color is My Parachute. Its the bible that lead to my current job satisfaction. Even though I don’t understand the title…

  38. I work for a commerical production company. I do a little bit of everything from answering the phones to casting the commericals. Right now I am brainstorming ideas for a new client (can’t ya tell, πŸ™‚ ). Most days I really like it but it can get really stressful dealing with unreasonable clients and unreasonable co-workers, I left a much more lucrative job in Marketing for this job and I haven’t regretted it… yet. As for what I would rather be doing, Casting for feature films not commercials.

  39. I am at university on a scholarship (yup – my living!). I am doing a PhD in sociology, and it is on racism and discrimination in Australia. I madly run around conducting questionnaires and thinking of ways that I can make my research applicable, and procrastinating about writing up my results. I love it, and would not (at present) prefer to be doing anything else.
    I also maintain a big weight loss (hmm…. I have really been maintaining for the last 2 or 3 years and I am only 23!) while doing so (oh yes, look at me gracefully link in the diet theme of this page)!

  40. Hi there!
    Current I’m an Accounting Technician. In otherwords, I prepare personal and corporate tax returns. Do I love my job? Not usually, although I do get to work with my best friend! Right now, I’m thinking I’d like to be a Nutritionist.

  41. Hi Dietgirl,

    I am a Quality Service Technician and I don’t dislike my job but I would rather be doing a job that helps and cares for people (nurse, carer etc).

  42. Hiya, I am an ex-lawyer, now recruiting lawyers. However, I am shite at recruiting so am going back to lawyering, but mostly to fund the fact that I am embarking on a 4 year course in psychotherapy. which i think is what i will love. I spent years of yearning to be a life coach but think that i have worked out that psychotherapy/counselling is the aspect of coaching/people development that I want to be a part of.

    (of course i also wanted to be a freelance writer, professional organiser – curious as my house is a hovel at present, doctor, psychic – but lacking in talent was a problem for that one, and last but not least one great aim was to be a kept woman – that just never seemed to work out? there is still time!)

  43. I’m a graphic designer (primarily print based), and for the most part I’m happy with the work I am doing, just not the working environment!

    After years of restaurant work through college, my husband (a chef) and I dream of having our own restaurant which will more than likely happen. I also dream of becoming a nutritionist and creating my own line of ‘lean cuisine’ without the added preservatives and crap. real food, just frozen : )

  44. Been meaning to write for ages and ask if you sell superhero capes, both because hardly anything else fits at this point and because I could surely use the dieting superpowers. But… I’m a journalist — London based for an American magazine. I love what I do, just sometimes these days not where (publication, not actual location) I do it. Honestly cannot imagine what else I would do. Seriously, sometimes I think about stomping away in a huff, but it would be the equivalent of stomping away in a huff when secretly you want the person you’re stomping away from to come running after you. Anyway, I’m rambling. Clearly. Past. My. Bedtime. Yawn…

  45. I’m a student officer for a medical school in Australia. I love my job and the people I work with even when it has its stressful moments! I have always worked in higher education and I love organising the students and feeling like I am helping in educating our future. I think my secret to being happy in what I do is that I work to live, not live to work. I make an effort not to take my work and its problems home me and enjoy being with my family and spending time on myself.

  46. I am an economist who works on wholesale electricity markets and I have a group of six analysts and engineers who work for me. I love my job and the people I work with. No two days are the same and I love how technically demanding the job is -I basically spend my time solving complicated puzzles then explaining them to others.

    I was a lecturer at university for several years and hated it (and the pay was horrible). The best thing I ever did was quit and find something else to do (but the process of doing so was very very painful – try to avoid quitting your job at the height of a recession with no plan of what to do next).

  47. Im a sports administrator for a Boys college, love it, will be here until they carry me out ( either toes up) or in a white coat!!!!

  48. I’m the deputy chief reporter of a big newspaper and spend my days assigning stories, attenting editorial planning meetings, coaching reporters and re-writing copy. I liken it to air traffic control except with no change of killing anyone. I am pretty happy despite low pay, high stress, and anti-social hours, but can’t wait for our company to better align the newspaper with the web as currently it feels like the management of decline. Kind of like owning a typewriter shop in the 1980s. I would like to be a nutritionist or own a restaurant.

  49. I teach 11-12 year olds all about fun stuff like grammar, literary elements, and how the media is biased. For the most part, I really like my job. Sometimes it gets hard b/c the Bushwhacker is a moron and people in the states generally implement ridiculous demands on teachers. If I weren’t teaching, I would love to work for a publishing company, like I used to or something non-profit.

  50. I started my own hosting company about 4 years ago when I was 18. I’ve been doing it ever since. I’m so burnt out. But I’m stuck.. cuz I haven’t a clue what I want to do. I’m just sick of sitting on my butt all day feeling it get bigger.

  51. regional claim manager for an insurance company.

    its insurance, how fun or satisfying can it be?

    domestique for george hincapie in the tour de france.

  52. Currently I am a temp working a factory job. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. If I get hired on full time there are great benefits to the company, but (after 4 months) I still have not decided if I want to try to get on full time.

    My dream job – forest ranger. Interestingly enough just today I was at a job fair talking to someone about the parks and recreation course of study at the community college. HMMMMM

  53. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my blog!! I’m adding you to the side bar- hope you don’t mind.. you have done fantastic job! Well done!!

    I am currently a disability worker and social work student (in my final year).. I would like to be a nutritionist as well to help people be their best! Another dream job would be to write for a health and fitness magazine and also write my own book.

  54. Woah, when I go through changes in my life, I change career. I couldn’t think of anything more boring, morose or disatisfying that sticking with the same job for 20 yrs.

    Having said that I have done the following and absolutely LOVED my time doing each. Usually I finished up because my ex husband would move with his mining career to different towns.

    – Florist
    – Qualified Nail Tech /beautician
    – PA for Mine Manager
    – Customer Relations – City Council
    – Marketing Exec for a training company
    – Karaoke Sound engineer (what a GREAT job!!)

    Now, what’s prompted this hmmm…?

  55. Woah, when I go through changes in my life, I change career. I couldn’t think of anything more boring, morose or disatisfying that sticking with the same job for 20 yrs.

    Having said that I have done the following and absolutely LOVED my time doing each. Usually I finished up because my ex husband would move with his mining career to different towns.

    – Florist
    – Qualified Nail Tech /beautician
    – PA for Mine Manager
    – Customer Relations – City Council
    – Marketing Exec for a training company
    – Karaoke Sound engineer (what a GREAT job!!)

    Oh, and I just got a new position, Customer Service Advisor at Centre link.

    Now, what’s prompted this hmmm…?

  56. i love reading your blog! i love your sense of humor, and i really liked the happiness post. i think it’s important to focus on the good things. and i think this question is pretty funny, because i’ve been struggling with it since i graduated college two years ago. (and actually probably long before that.) i work at target in the photo lab, but i want to be a photojournalist. or a world traveller/adventurer/mountain climber/chef of some kind. haven’t decided yet, and it depends on what books/blogs i’m reading. and what movies i see. πŸ™‚

    have a great day!

  57. Holy rapid response Batman!! What a group. I am self-employed primarily doing bookkeeping/accounting work for a variety of businesses, and sometimes write business plans and do resumes and stuff like that. I love it because I can work my own hours and choose my clients (after 7 years I’m in a place where I can pick and choose, and say “no” to the boring investment businesses and “yes” to musicians, who are way more fun, although not very organized haha) My clients really value me and treat me great and I’m really good at what I do, and I can take coffee and internet breaks whenever I want, so there is really nothing else I’d rather be doing right now. Unless that job where you get to travel around the world reviewing fancy hotels in exotic locations has an opening.

  58. At the moment I’m a student, and what I do as a living is tutor at my University; in the Information Systems and Computer Science departments at the University of Auckland. This is all obviously very short term, so while I am happy doing it now, I would be a tad worried if I were still doing the same thing a few years down the line. What I would love to be doing is working in organisations developing integrated business applications; developing e-commerce solutions, etc. But(!), I would also love to write novels; just to shake things up a bit!

  59. Dear Shauna
    I’ve only known about your blog for a couple of months but I’ve read each and every single archive. Words can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed it. ‘Enjoyed’ is an understatement. Your blog has made me feel normal (almost). My battle with my weight is ongoing, but I feel like this time I’ll win. I lived in Glasgow for a little while and your Scottish tales makes me nearly weep. I love that place. Sob. Anyhow, blah blah blah. My partner and I had become so unhappy in our work we took drastic action about 6 years ago. He was a mechanic (in his family business)and I ended up in a call centre after graduating from a drama degree at uni. It went on way (too long – about 7 years).One day we just decided to pull the plug. We quit our jobs, sold our apartment in Brisbane (3 days later) bought 1-way tickets to the UK, knowing that when the money ran out we’d come back and study something new… find ourselves a new path. Now I’m an editor (of books) and he’s a junior academic, teaching at uni and doing a PhD in political economy. Geez we were poor for a few years, but it’s truly amazing what a difference it makes to believe the work you do is worthwhile.

  60. 1. I am a Systems Support person who works at the non-tech end of systems. We build automated solutions for our teams so they can be more efficient, measurable, accountable.

    2. Most of the time I love it. Sometimes when I know what we do allows the company to reduce labour as we have saved them so much work through our systems – it sucks.

    3. I would like to write childrens books (already started with this). And I would like to have enough of an income that I could spend some of my time working for a charity or doing charitable works.

    And I could always blog more πŸ˜€

  61. I’m a newspaper reporter. It’s a very fun job most days, although I do have to sit in a lot of meetings and translate the bureaucratic machinations of the government into something folks will understand and hopefully even want to read. However, because it’s what I do all day, I never write for fun. Ever.
    You could freelance if you wanted, I bet. You would be a good travel writer since you’ve been all over and most importantly, you’re a great writer. That’s not something you can say about a lot of freelancers.

  62. Well, you know the abouts of what I do, so lets get to the specifics now.

    My business card says “Director of Programme Realisation Department”. In simpler words, Im the production manager in a governmental cultural organisation and we produce big cultural events. I love the nature of the job. There is an unbeatable feeling just seconds before the concert, or ballet, or theatre begins, when the lights turn off so the show can start and you see all the crowd in anticipation and you KNOW that these people are going to enjoy something because you put it into action. You made sure the lights are the proper ones, the sound is the best you can get, the artists came because you negotiated their contract.

    However, I must admit I enjoyed it more when I was just a producer, and did not have the administrative responsibility of a team. But as a director I earn double the income which right now is very important as I want to take a year and a half off work in a year or so and breed my bud, then stay with them till they get at least 6 months old.

    I would really love to be in the food business. I dream of a small cafe/tavern, with just 10 tables for 4, something that will look like an extention of my livingroom, with service equal to having my darling friends over for dinner, cooking with organic food, and with a focus on healthy eating.

    Of course, wining the LOTTO would be the most preferable job … but I always forget to play!

  63. Dear Dietgirl… I quit my job last October to be a nana and fitness walker (oh and yes, I lost the weight I wanted).. I have drooled over my darling little grandson and to helped my daughter through it all. No regrets – now I just have to get back to work and the prospect is not exciting me one bit.

  64. Hi Shauna,
    like many, this is the first time I’ve posted, but I check your blog(s) religiously every time I come in to work. I’m busy with a PhD in development economics, but have lately decided that the world of academia is not for me… so I’ve embarked on a search to figure out what it is I’d actually like to do. the list of posts by everyone else is really inspiring-there’s such a lot out there!
    take care and keep going- you’re an inspiration to all of us too πŸ™‚

  65. I am a primary school teacher in Australia. Mostly I work with 11 year old kids however at times I have to put up with 50 year old jerks (administration!!). On the whole I love my job however like many others, there are drawbacks. I enjoy working with the kids but not the politics that go behind it or the paranoid parents that bug you over the smallest thing. If I could choose another profession it would be to write childrens books. I would love to be the next J K Rowling not only because of the amount of money she has made but more importantly the way she has inspired so many kids to read – even kids who have never picked up a book before. To me, that is inspirational.

  66. Loved the title of your entry, because that’s what I wanted to be when I was a kid……an astronaut! I inhaled every science fiction book I could get my hands on and went to sleep every night looking at the stars and wishing as hard as I could that aliens would land in my backyard. Later on, I decided that being a doctor, or a singer would be okay too…..or maybe a singing doctor, heheheh. So I taught myself how to play guitar, and then I married a guitar player and never picked up the guitar again myself. Graduated from university as an english major, and had brief thoughts of being an editor for a while too. However, someone needed to bring in a reasonably good steady income (the music business is feast or famine), so I ended up working at various jobs in a university medical school……everything from junior research assistant to chief departmental administrator. I think I had 6 different jobs in all, over a span of about 25 years, and I liked most of them, for a while. One thing about universities though……the politics are deadly. And endless. So unless you are a political animal and thrive in that kind of atmosphere, you will not be happy working at a university. Now I am retired and do whatever I want, when I want, which is the best of all!

  67. Whew. I religiously read your blog–but I usually hide out. Never posted a comment before πŸ™‚ I’ actually only 17, and I’m currently finishing my last year of high school. In the fall, I’ll be off to University (Penn State, woo!) My dream career is a Clinical Psychologist (that’s what I plan to study in college.) I’m really hoping that I succeed and enjoy my chosen major.

    However, I still harbor this tiny little dream of being a chldren’s book author…

  68. Hi Shauny,

    I do HR and rostering for a Aged Care Centre in Canberra.

    I am quite happy with my job, but I feel like it’s just too much for one person to handle.

    I think I’d rather be a stay at home mum.

  69. Accountant…with no designation that is but I swear I am as smart as those that have one πŸ™‚ Been in the field since college ended May 1993.

    I do like it, and most times enjoy it, but I also would have been happy in computers which was suppose to be my career as per my mom. But when I was 16 her and I had a huge falling out and when I moved to my Dad’s, I persued accounting to spite her. No clue who really won that battle to this day. Everyone needs an accountant…and a computer geek πŸ˜›

  70. I work for a government organisation, and at the moment I’m writing training material for them, which is rather fun, makes me happy, and is quite possibly the best job I’ve had so far (been working about 14 years).

    Even though at the moment I’m quite content at work, my ‘ideal occupation’ is probably potter-er at home – gardening, having horses, cats, dogs chickens etc. Of course, there are other times when I think it would be nice to be a makeup artist to the stars…

  71. Hello darling

    I’m a principal in a one teacher school of just sixteen students from Kindergarten (5 years old) to Year 6 (about 12 years old) – I love it most days because the kids are so great. I work with some terrific people, from my bus driver to the cleaning staff, and I have some wonderful parents. The downside is the additional paper work. Another upside is my school setting – bushland! Each day is a complete surprise – you never know what will happen (today one of my Year 1 boys tickled my toes as I was putting up a classroom display).

    Would I change it? Sometimes I think yes…what to? Something with people…I like making a difference….perhaps psychotheraphy…when I retire in a few years this is a possibility.

    My most rewarding job? Being a mum! At times, I sucked…honesty is good….but despite the many mistakes I made, I have two wonderful daughters who continue to inspire me with their wisdom, wit and womanliness.

    Great set of questions – very thoughtful responses – what are you up to? New book perhaps?

    Keep blogging

  72. I am a PA to the Manager of a new shopping park… I do all the secretarial, accounts etc etc. I also do graphic design for brochures, leaflets etc AND I am the PR Photographer. I totally love my job, eventhough I know I am well underpaid! lol

    If I could choose my ideal job, I would progress my Photography business and make that my no1 job and not just a sideline…to the future!

  73. I used to be a Legal Executive but quit to take a degree in Law in my late 30s. I then returned to work in a Law practice and hated it. Then I had to have a serious operation and was ill for a year but because of the illness I ended up with agoraphobia. I bought a puppy to help me get over the agoraphobia – which really did help – and when I was fit and able to get a job the dog had got so used to me being home all the time that he would howl for hours on end. My neighbour complained because he works nights – so I had to find a job I could do at home, so I’m a professional seller on eBay. Its great. Hours to suit and you get out of it what you put in to it.

  74. I am a researcher. I study the social impacts of new information and communication technologies. At the same time I am writing my PhD thesis. The masterpiece is nearly finished, and about time!

    I love my job and can see myself do research, write papers and give lectures for the rest of my life. The only thing I would like to change is my place of residence. I was born, and have always lived, in the Netherlands. I would now like to move to the UK to work for a couple of years and experience another culture.

  75. Hi DG

    I’m an accountant (another one). I don’t really enjoy my job but tell myself that no-one really wants to go to work, except maybe musicians/actors who are doing what they really love. I struggle with thinking I am actually capable of my job, must be the previous depression that makes me lose my confidence. I would like to have a less stressful job that pays the same!!

  76. Oops, sorry – hit post too quickly. I enjoyed the Business Analysis job; I don’t believe in doing work that you don’t enjoy, unless you are doing it because you have a duty to take care of family. However, teaching holds more meaning and more satisfaction.

  77. Currently I’m a site marketing analyst for a large retailer in the states (a retailer of the same name happens to be in OZ).
    I am happy doing it, it’s a wonderful job.
    But, I’m trained as an artist and it would be lovely to return to being a bit more creative in my day to day life. Granted I have to be very creative and work with a creative team but it isn’t the same.

    Odd fact, one of my friends thinks we look a bit alike.

  78. 1. What do you do for a living?

    I manage the Linguistics Department and Symbolic Systems Program at Stanford University in California, USA. I am an administrator, not an academic. Our department is small with 3 staff members under me and one for SSP. We support 15 faculty, about 60 graduate students and 100 undergrads (between the department and program). I work with faculty and students, as well as the Dean’s Office administration. My boss is the Chair of the department.

    2. Are you happy doing it?

    I LOVE MY JOB for so many reasons. In fact, I love administration so much that I’m working on a masters, part-time, in public administration. I work 40 hours a week, get well paid, and have a good group who work for me and a fabulous and odd assortment of people we support.

    The feedback loop of work and school really helps me enjoy both: I learn something new in school, apply it at work, then take what I’ve learned from the application and bring it back to school.

    I also like that my life isn’t ALL about administration. I use to be an academic, which is why I enjoy the university setting I think, but I HATED that every waking moment was spent in consideration of my field of study. There was no time for other pursuits at all. Now, I work 40 hours, take some time outside work and achool to think about how to do my job better, but have PLENTY of time to pursue other interests and goals (like exercise, loosing weight, training for races, reading novels, watching movies, developing relationships, etc.)

    I’ve also worked in the private sector and realized my personal aims didn’t mesh with my employer. I just didn’t care that much about profit and money. I tried working for a public official and, again, our goals didn’t mesh. I wanted to serve the public, but ultimately, I didn’t want to serve it in that capacity.

    I love education, but I’ve never enjoyed teaching (although I love learning), so somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to be someone who facilitated knowledge creation and dissemination. As an admin in a university, I can do just that.

    Sure, sometimes the tasks are a little tedious or frustrating, but I ALWAYS keep in mind my ultimate goal of supporting faculty and students so they can create new information to share with each other.

    3. If no, what would you rather be doing?

    Although I love my job, if I had my way, I’d do it part-time and be in school part-time. That way, I could also get a law degree, a PhD in Public Administration and eventually an MLS (Master of Library Science) as I’d like to be a librarian when I’m approaching retirement (I use to work in libraries as a grad student and LOVED it). I don’t want to be a lawyer, but I see the value of thinking like a lawyer and having that knowledge base.

    Doing both part time would allow me to also pursure my other interests. I want to be someone who devotes 3-4 hours a day to exercise and trains for triathlons. I can imagine a great routine that involves coached swim, cycle and swim routines which are part lesson, part work out, as well as weight training 3 times a week. I don’t need to be a champion and 3 hours a day isn’t enough for that, but it would be great to have the time to focus on my body.

    I’d also have time to pursue other creative interests–my textile passion for knitting and sewing. And I’d be able to read fun stuff too.

    Of course, this is pie in the sky ideals… And if I have children (which may happen in the next few years if my boyfriend has his way) that would slice up the pie quite a bit.

  79. Hey DG. Wow, what a response, hmm?

    I work as an office manager on a cattle ranch. My supervisor is my dad and we get along famously, so I can’t complain TOO much. Do I love it? Somedays, yes, somedays, no. There are possibly 500 other jobs I’d like to do, but the place I live is really quite remote and the possibility of finding a job that includes these benefits and this pay are nil. My ‘other’ job is being a single mom. And if I could pick something else, I would pick a stay at home mom. Seeing as how that isn’t feasible, I do what I do and laugh as much as I can. It really isn’t a bad job and it’s fairly easy. If I were busier, I wouldn’t have any complaints.

  80. Wow, so many people responded, I’ll add mine! I’m an american living in NL working as a steel buyer in the auto industry for our European mfg plants. I love my job, and I adore Europe. I wouldn’t change it for the world. πŸ™‚


  81. Never posted although I’ve been reading steadily for quite a while because your writing is a) insightful and b) hilarious.
    what i do. . . i recently (as in about a month ago) started working as a lab technician in a new lab, meaning i get to help set up a lab. I think it’s really fun, even though i was worried that i would hate it. I did a degree in biology, graduated in 2004, at which point i absolutely hated the subject. So i fiddled around with translation studies for a year. Then, i decided to move from Canada (site of studies) to Switzerland (where i am now) to join my boyfriend. Been here a few months and i really like my work. Science is fun again! Now the new dilemma is whether to eventually go on to grad studies in science ro go back to translation whcih i also loved and do miss on occasion. Somehow i don’t think there’s much demand for my ideal field: neurobiology translation. oh well. . .who knows, maybe it’ll happen. .
    But for the moment, i am happy and well fed on chocolate and cheese. Plus, I’ve never been good about wearing watches and used to always be late, but with all the clocks in this country I’m finally on time (well, most of the time)!

  82. After years of flailing around searching for a career that might be a good fit, I left the drudgery of being someone else’s assistant behind and have been teaching General Education (speech, english, American government, etc.) at a fully accredited technical college since December of last year.

    It feels so good to be using my master’s degree for something useful.

    I love teaching more than I ever thought possible. I wake up every day feeling like I am making a difference.

    My students challenge and inspire me on a daily basis. Because of them, I am giving serious consideration to pursuing a PhD.

  83. holy moly, groovers. thanks SO much for writing back! i will write a proper entry tomorrow but had to say cheers. how cool are these comments!?!???!!! inspiring as hell…

  84. I’m a research assistant and admin. assist. at a small private graduate school for teachers.

    I LOVE it!
    I’ve also been a journalist, editor and sales assistant.

  85. I’m a rare book expert. Basically, I research, write about, and appraise rare books. Most of the time I like it, but it can be incredibly monotonous. I also find it demoralizing that I can catalogue a single book and essentially pay my entire year’s salary (which is not bad at all). The cool moments are when you decipher an inscription that changes everything you know about a famous person or when you realize you have a MILLION dollars on your desk.

    If I could do anything? Child protection officer with the UN. (I have a law degree.) I’m too sick to do that.

    Secondary choice? Novelist.

  86. 1. I have Bridget Jones’s job (the publishing one), minus the sexy bad-boy boss. I muck about with ads and press releases and book marketing schemes.

    2. Am I happy doing it? Yes and no. I like my bosses and coworkers and I get to use my brain, but I often feel like what I do is either glorified data-entry or of very little consequence to the world outside my company. Maybe I’d feel more satisfied if I had my boss’s job and greater responsibility, but I don’t necessarily want to stay in publishing, let alone at this company.

    3. I think I’d rather work for an advertising agency — I like working on creative strategy and getting exposure to different industries. I’m doing research and taking classes to that end, but I’m afraid I may get tired of it after 3-5 years, or feel the culture is not a good fit for my personality. I always feel a little too boho/indie in uber-corporate environments and vice versa. I’m planning to quit my job in a year to travel, go back to school, and land an advertising job. Perhaps during the course of travel or grad school I’ll stumble upon my calling πŸ™‚

    Fortunately I only have myself to look after and I’m not tied to a particular location, so I can indulge this career wanderlust for a while.

  87. Shauna – don’t really know what I do (or who i am sometimes!)!! Maybe you can tell me on Monday!

  88. Great questions Shauna! I love reading about what other people do for a living and their experience of it.

    I am currently an ‘Information Officer’ for a Community Health organisation. It’s kind of like a librarian. I manage the information coming into the organisation – a library of resources, lots of information displays and the electronic information stored in the office. I developed and maintain a comprehensive intranet for our office and maintain the organisation-wide website. I developed and maintain databases. I do a lot of desktop publishing – newsletters, flyers, brochures, etc… And I also do helpdesk.

    I like that it is really varied work – I am a generalist and like to keep my fingers in a lot of pies. But then, I’d also like to specialise a bit more and have more time for quality time on projects.

    My role is considered ‘admin’ and ‘support’ and isn’t paid very well and I don’t think it is given the professional respect it deserves either – ie. it’s harder to get training dollars and the work can be chaotically assigned and it can be hard to manage and prioritise the zillion projects coming in at once and keep them all going.

    Oh, and I really don’t like the fact that it has back-up reception in the role too (I share it with a bunch of other admin staff) – because it is time consuming and very distracting to my work momentum – and my job already has a zillion other distractions. It is my mission in life to get a job with no ties to reception ever.

    Having said that, I work close to home, with lots of good people around and I love the variety and the many different bits to my job. I also like the concept of working within community health.

    I don’t think I will stay here too much longer though, because I am getting frustrated with lots of things happening politically and organisationally. And I need more money. But we’ll see…

    I did a Grad Certificate in Careers Counselling last year and I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I was too busy studying the theory to follow the practice myself (although I have done plenty in the past). Careers counsellor? Web Designer? Arts Therapist? Graphic Designer? Librarian? Industrial Anthropologist?

    All I know is that I can’t afford to study anymore (the info management course I looked into was $17,000+ per year!)

    The other thing I know is that I want my own office. Open plan offices are fun – but a bit too crazy and unproductive.

    Well, good luck in your investigations and decision-making! If you can get it, I think “work experience” is the best way of learning about new jobs (once you have narrowed down the field to a few different options).

  89. I’m a technical writer for a large financial advising corporation. I work with subject matter experts to write training documentation – policies, procedures, references, stuff like that.

    It’s not my dream job or anything, but on busy days, I like it a lot – I love writing and editing and finance really interests me, so it’s good in that respect. It’s hard on slow days, though – it’s far easier to work than it is to look busy. πŸ™‚

    What I’d be happier doing…wish I knew. I’ve worked for a publishing company before and LOVED it. I’d love to get back into that and be an editor for a publishing company, but don’t feel very optimistic about my chances of actually getting one of those jobs. I’ve also thought about being a librarian.

  90. Hi Shauna

    A lot of the responses have been admin job people which I know you are already doing, so I am kinda sorry to tell you I am a kinda-admin- person too, which won’t help you at all πŸ™‚

    I am currently working for the university you went to (different campus), part time, and most of the time it absolutely rocks. It’s steady work and in the downtime I can be on the internet as much as I want (and I get free photocopying which is nice!). My boss is in Wagga and I am lucky if I speak to him maybe four times a year (including email). Compared to what I was doing previously it is heaven.

    I never wanted to be an admin girl but that’s just what I fell in to, it’s easy and you don’t have to think much, they don’t expect much of you so when you screw up it’s not the end of the world, and now that I have arthritis and sometimes can’t work much, admin is something i can do part time or not at all as i need to.

    Unfortunatly (depending on how you look at it) we might be moving to Canberra soon which is a) yay! but b) not yay because I will have to give up my job.

  91. I’m a student! Doing biochemistry. Working in a chem lab in an awesome science museum, and also working as a research assistant in a lab conducting research on neuronal transduction in ribbon synapses of retinas.

    I suppose it’s not ‘for a living’ since I am not financially independent…but I love it.

    I might rather be at Brandeis instead of Reed College, since they have a neuroscience dept (and JEWS! thousands of JEWS! I’m obsessed)… but on the whole, I am soo, sooo happy to be doing what I’m doing. Life has its ups and downs, and it seems to be in a semi- “up” phase right now.

    Then I’m in Paris for all of next year, taking o-chem and physics and calc II in FRENCH.

    I’m scared shitless. But it should be fun:)

    I love your blog. Such a talented writer. Quite an inspiration.


  92. Wow, what a wide array of careers! I’m a policy writer for the Australian goverment – great job and pay, crappy hours. Currently contemplating the work vs stay-at-home-mum dilemma. Ever thought of checking out work at the Australian Consultate in Edinburgh – you could help people in a similar situation to your own (although it would be a bummer if they paid you in Australian dollars!)

  93. I’m a final year law student and currently work part-time as a paralegal at a community legal centre. I enjoy my job very much, but there are times I wonder whether I should have chosen a career that allows me to indulge my creative streak more often (e.g. graphic designer, journalist, etc). Ah well, if I become disillusioned, I’m still young, so there’s plenty of time for a change!

  94. 1. I’m a PhD student in the humanities.
    2. Started out well, but no, I’m not happy anymore.
    3. I’d rather be a freelance writer and a translator.

    Love you, Shauna!

  95. I’m a student and work part-time at a coffeeshop- I dont know if Im happy with it.. dont have any bigger dreams for the moment…

  96. I’m a solicitor. It’s relatively well paid but rather dull most of the time. I don’t do sexy law like on tv… I don’t know what my dream job is, but hopefully something where I could make people happier or healthier rather than richer.

  97. Hey DG- I am university educated, worked as a Director of Financial Aid for two schools for a number of years. Starting out, I attended beauty school when I first got out of highschool and then did hair to fund my way through college. During college, I also worked in a nursing home, washed dishes at a hotel, worked part-time summers on a farm. I ran a salon when I first got out of college and then went into the financial world. I am a writer who has been published and have written many things lately but haven’t submitted anything in two years. (sigh) For the past six years now (I am in my later thirties), I have been a stay at home mom with three children. I have a weightloss blog that is random and a more popular blog that is anonymous. I am trying to figure out what I would like to do with the rest of my life. I have the good fortune to pick and choose, but that also leaves me too much time in which to procrastinate. I am currently trying to decide what I would like to do now.

    Love your blog by the way. You are a great inspiration on the weight loss journey!

  98. Hey DG

    Wow, what a response you’ve got!!

    I’m a Personal Assistant for the MD of a very well known Australian company. Most people have something with our brand in their home!!

    My job is very simple. Keep the boss happy, do everything he asks and make sure he gets to his meetings on time!! As he travels often I get quite alot of free time, so I just hope they IT guy doesn’t check surfing the net usage too much!!

    I do like my job. It’s 5 mins from home, 2 mins from the the gym and 2 mins from a large shopping centre so the choice of lunch time activity is good!

    My goal at the moment is to give up work. I’ve been working full time since I was 16 and I want to spend more time with my daughter so it’s the obvious choice. Money is the only thing that keeps me heading out that door at 8.30am every day!!

  99. I was a dispatcher at a trucking company. Needless to say, I worked with people that desperatly needed showers and talked alot about Lot Lizards.

  100. 1. I work in a Call Centre taking calls from solicitors to book in Mortgage Settlements.
    2. Not happy, not un-happy perse.
    3. I’d rather be writing, or just going to school. I’d rather be independently wealthy. πŸ™‚

  101. I used to be a graphic designer/web designer but worked for a bunch of idiots. After 5 years, I threw up the white flag and bailed before I had a complete mental breakdown…. I spent a few months deciding what to do, went back to school to become a teacher. Couldn’t afford to go full time so now I am an administrative assistant AT the school, which lets me go to school part-time & work. In a year, they will also pay my tuition for such classes πŸ™‚

    It isn’t my dream job but, it’s a pathway TO my dream job!

  102. My CV reads like a what’s what of slackers – drifting from cafe jobs to admin jobs with a bit of call centre crap thrown in for good measure. I always wanted to write for a living, but after studying journalism I realised I just didn’t want it enough. After knocking on alot of closed PR/Marketing doors I landed a job in advertising. Huzzah, I thought, here we go! But it sucked bigtime and left me mentally and physically ill. All this sounds terribly sad and dispiriting but actually it is the best thing that could have happened to me. I quit the Advertising job and am now training to be a dog groomer, with a plan to set up a chi chi pooch boutique salon once I pop out a bambino.
    Sometimes you have to be what you are not before you can find out who you really are.

  103. oh BARONESS! not only do you have a quality fake name, that last line you wrote is golden. thank you!

    this has been a really valuable exercise methinks. i hope people read through the comments, looks of good thoughtful stuff here πŸ™‚

  104. Better late than never but this is a fascinating thread.

    I’m a librarian in the Australian vocational education sector. Tradies are beautiful even if they do have a taste for chip and gravy rolls.

    I like being a librarian and walking with students on their educational journey. The path gets a bit rocky sometimes but it is always interesting. I’ve always been a librarian and always wanted to be one. I started helping in libraries in primary school. I have an enquiring mind and a retentitive memory so it works for me and I like being challenged and learning new things. Pay is Ok too.

    If I were to change it would be probably to teach library skills but I do like the hands on, even with the high people contact. “Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean.”

  105. Hi Shauny, I’m a retired policewoman but prior to that I was a kindergarten teacher. They are both very similar occupations although you don’t get to use capsicum spray on out of control 2 yr olds.


    I have been very fortunate in being able to retire at 40 and move to a small coastal town where I reside on an acreage by the sea. Nowadays I spend my time doing volunteer work and I’m President of the Junior Surf Life Saving Club and an active patrol member of the senior club. I am also the manager of my son’s soccer team and an avid golfer.

  106. I’m a journalist for a regional lifestyle magazine in the UK but today I’ve handed in my notice as I’ve been offered a job in entertainment/celebrity PR. It’s better paid and there is easier career progression, and as much as I’d have loved to have continued in journalism, it just wasn’t happening and the pay was so bad. I can’t wait until I start my new job next month!

  107. I am a Product Development Manager at a large consumer electronics company. I have lots of responsibility with very little authority. I have to rely on my winning personality to get my job done. This is possibly why my job is very, very difficult at times. I spend a lot of my day on conference calls with factories and design centers in a wide variety of exotic locations. It is a job, not a life. I do it for the money and the benefits. I really want to be a writer with work published by an actual book publisher. So far I’ve worked my way up from form letter rejections to personalized rejections. I have enough friends who are published writers to know that very few of them get to quit their day jobs. Mostly I just dream about going back to school, getting my masters in Library Science and becoming a smoking hot librarian at a fancy university someplace.

  108. Last time I checked, my business cards said “Graphic Designer”. And that’s what I still tell people. But due to lay offs and reorganizing, the past 2 years have involved training outside agencies to do the work that I used to be doing. I think my official title now is “Visual Brand Consultant”. There were times when I was very happy doing actual design work, and I think I’d be much happier doing it again. I suppose every job has it’s ups and downs. Mine just has more downs lately. I haven’t left because I like the poeple I work with, the pay is decent, and the benefits are not bad. And if I can stick it out for another year and a half, I get 8 weeks of paid vacation!

  109. 1.I’m possibly the most ancient of your respondents – the one whose main current ambition is to retire. I’m an English teacher in further education, So I mainly teach people aged over 16, and on the whole older than that. I like it most of the time; sometimes I like it very much indeed, but there’s a lot of silly paperwork nowadays, as in so many jobs. I don’t mind useful paperwork, but we have to fill in lots of forms with “information” that’s largely meaningless or misleading – it needs a context that isn’t allowed for on the forms.

    I used to be a teacher in a secondary school and I’d NEVER do that again. I’m not very fierce and have no particular ambition to appear so, and I really can’t be bothered arguing with kids who don’t want to listen. But in FE, students on the whole want to be there, and I get quite a lot of job satisfaction from getting them through exams they thought they would never pass, or – even – teaching some students things that really excite them.

    2. Am I happy doing it? Yes, I’m reasonably happy doing the teaching bit. I’m not at all happy sitting in meetings, being told (with my colleagues) that we’re not meeting targets, have to think up new impressive-sounding courses, must pass students at all costs, must teach bigger classes in less time by thinking laterally… .

    3. When I was younger, I wanted to be a writer. Indeed, I got a children’s novel published in 1978 or something, which at the time was very exciting. It got some reasonable reviews and sold a respectable, though not spectacular, number of copies. Then I wrote another, which didn’t get published. I had kind of thought that the first one was the hardest, but seemingly not. Then I immediately started having babies, and life was too busy, and then I went back to work, and was even busier, and … thirty years sort of slipped by.

    Do I care? Yes, a bit. But… writing is a very public thing to do. I didn’t like the thought of my friends (especially as they’re mainly English teachers) reading what I wrote. I was always embarrassed about even aspiring to write, and though I always liked what I wrote immediately after writing it, on rereading it later, I always saw the flaws. I know that if I’d been Tolstoy, I would have found a way to keep doing it. But then Tolstoy had Mrs Tolstoy to wait on him hand and foot. Mums don’t tend to have that service laid on. My husband is nice but never offered to give me an evening off every week, for example, so that I could write. I should probably have asked for this. But I didn’t.

    On the other hand, being a mum has been wonderful. Better than anything.

    You never know: I might try again. But I think it’s even harder now, especially for an oldish and therefore not-so-marketable person.

    How wonderful to have got so many replies, DG! And they’re all interesting.

  110. I’m a speech recognition application designer. Like if you’ve ever called a company over the phone and spoken to the computer rather than just pressed buttons.. that sort of thing.

    Am I happy doing it? For the most part. Speech recognition has come a long way in the last 10 years, making it a cool & viable solution. But as with any job, we have to work in real-world constraints, and it often means putting applications out there that aren’t as good as they could be. Every time I tell someone what I do, I hear, “Oh my god, I called this speech system once and it was awful and i wanted to shoot myself!”

    If I wasn’t doing this, not sure what else I’d like to be doing… I’ve always been fascinated by getting a computer to understand me, so I’m pretty lucky to get to be doing that as my job.

  111. Hi DG,

    The comments have been a huge source of inspiration, thanks for the post!

    I am 28 and still have no idea what i want to do with my life. Spoadically this scares me – primarily as everyone around me seems to know what they want to do and are busily doing it! I have to admit, this makes me feel inadequate – along with the knowledge that i am beginning to wonder if i am cut out for paid work – an awful thing to realise when 1) You need the money 2)the entire world seems to deem your worth by what you do for a living and how well you do it.

    So to answer your question!

    I did work for an engineering consultancy, working on the development side of their international water projects, in reality this actually meant admin and proposal writing. I fondly remember those days as corporate hell!

    So, i had an epiphany of sorts – i would work in the public sector, doing a job i felt was worthwhile and personally fulfilling. So i now work for a local authority children’s team. I am also trianing to be a social worker, bank roled by my lovely employers. The only thing is – i am now not sure if this is really ‘me’ long term. b*gger, i thought i had found the holy grail – a job i liked and could be good at! I know, i am ungreatful aren’t i?!

    Anyway, i am not yet fully quialified but it is a good career – lots of options and i could take it in other directions, try and find my niche. Thing is, i think i have to face i will be someone who likes to change careers a few times!

    I think the root of all of this is i never think i am very good at anything, and that can really take the joy out of your work.

    On a more positive note – i am young and well educated, i have the time and energy to try many different things!

    Good, long comment, sorry!

    Abs x

  112. Well, I’m posting late – but better late than never, right?

    I’m a webmaster for a small branch of the Canadian Federal govt.

    Do I like it? Not really. The pay and benefits are great.

    What would I do instead? Own a bike shop or guide horseback riding tours all over the world…

  113. 1) I am a receptionist for a company that sells high-end upholstery leather “to the trade”. We only deal with architects and designers. I do a bit of admin work to flesh out picking up the phone all day.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if the people I worked with didn’t have primadonna attitudes that veered into outright abusiveness on a daily basis. I took this job because it’s close to home, on the same street as my kid’s daycare and I’m close to their school. The benefits are excellent as well.

    2) I am NOT happy at this job but the economy in my section of CT is very depressed and there are no jobs to be had that I am qualified for.

    This is an area of my life that causes me great pain. I spent my 20’s in an alcoholic/drug haze and never really sussed out what it was that I wanted to do. I dropped out of college three times. I have had 72 jobs since I was 17. Some included a barista at a bakery, movie box office ticket clerk, running a carousel at a mall dressed in a tuxedo, data entry down on Wall St., waitressing, phone sex operator, personal assistant to a record label executive, receptionist for a sportswear manufacturer, salon assistant after graduating beauty school but not getting a license, massive temping, and customer service call center work.

    There are many people my age contributing to society and having great jobs. Reading these comments inspired me and also made me feel ashamed of how low on the ladder I am. The good news is that there’s only way to go and that’s up!

    3) I don’t know what I want to do at all. I’ve read many books about career counselling and life-coach stuff and I’ve narrowed it down to 4 things: writing, music, law, and social work. I was trying to think how I could combine interests — Entertainment Law (not much call for it in rural Connecticut), Family Law, Art/Music Therapy, Music Critic, I don’t know. No matter what I choose I would need years of schooling.

    I am in a holding pattern, afraid to make a move. I love this topic!

  114. Haha…

    1. I’m a gypsy. I change jobs, alot. I get bored and like to learn new things but ultimately, I am a freelance Photo Editor – phodis.com

    2. Better than being stuck in an office and yep, I love my job and the random people I meet.

    3. I am actually seriously considering opening up a Gallery/Cafe πŸ™‚

  115. I’m a stay at home mom. I have a degree in accounting and enjoyed my job but quit 2 days before my first son was born so I could be with him. I love my job most days but today was a struggle. Today I would have jumped out the window if it were a bit higher up. It doesn’t seem like it should take so much work to keep two kids and myself happy, well fed, bathed and clothed while keeping the house livably clean. Gotta go… someone is crying.

  116. Hey Shaunster

    A) Am still a lawyer.
    B) Not really. Intellectually I still essentially love solving a problem and finding the answer or the solution, which is the essence of legal practice. It’s the rest of the bull I can’t stand. My job dominates my life. Oh wait, no it doesn’t because I don’t have a life. I work 12+ hour days. I never exercise because I’m so bloody tired at the end of the day. I eat all kinds of crap to console myself for my lack of life. My partner is not particularly motivated when it comes to housework so I end up spending what energy I have on my weekends trying to keep our home in order. I’m heavier now than I have ever been before and I’m leading myself into an early grave. But hey, what does it matter so long as I meet my billable targets. Effectively I’m working my arse off to generate wealth for a life that I’m not going to be around to enjoy.
    C) The dream would be living back home in widl wooly southern Tassie eaking out a living making wood furniture or growing and selling a niche flower crop. More realistically the five year plan is a quiet, healthier life in HR back in Tas.

  117. You probably no longer want these data, but here I go again:

    For a living, I’m an administrative assistant for a nonprime auto finance company.

    Am I happy doing it? Well, no. I love the company I work for and like the people I work with. But the job is really just a glorified clerk position, and it’s so not what I have worked all these years and gone to college to achieve.

    I’d rather be doing just about anything, although my ideal job would involve writing and research. The theatre company to which I belong is in the process of going nonprofit. I long for the day when they can hire me to be a researcher & dramaturg. Heck, they wouldn’t even have to pay me to act or direct. Okay, they would, but still. πŸ™‚ And I’m also a writer, and keep writing and writing and writing. So far I’ve sold one copy each of both books. I’ve got a translation of Quo Vadis into modern English (and also extensively edited) coming out sometime in the next year. People will read that, right?

  118. I’m a novelist. Hard work, no money. To make ends meet, sometimes I teach, or I take work as a freelance editor. (Editing is easier.)

    Apart from being broke, I love what I do.

  119. For the past 20 years I have worked with individuals with mental and or physical disabilities and the aged.

    Very rewarding work and have managed to fit it around being home for my kids for the past 14 years. Next year however things will change.

    Considering having a special needs individual live with us or returning to day programming 5 days a week..

  120. I realize this is about two years late but I had to post. I am a vet and I love my job. I can’t imagine doing anything else πŸ™‚

  121. Reading back entries makes me feel like a stalker. I hope it doesn’t come across that way…

    I am a postdoctoral researcher in molecular genetics. So… I study fungus (a particular fungus) and how it lives in its environment. I studied for years and years to get the PhD and do this, and… no, I’m not happy with it. It’s a satisfying job, to some degree, but I’m not happy with the places I need to live to do what I do, nor with the options available to me to keep going in this direction, so I want to change it.

    I love teaching university; have given a few lectures as part of my job, and I like the process of learning and sharing the knowledge. I’m really regrouping at the moment, and deciding how to redirect myself away from research and into something else. Also thinking of studying nutrition, because, like you (I think), I geek out a lot reading about food and eating and lifestyles. There’s a lot of room for teaching/sharing information and learning in that field, I think.

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at shaunareid.com.