Picture it. Appalachia. 1984. If you asked the average five or six year old in that time and place what he or she wanted to be when grown, the answers you’d hear would probably be something like fireman, cop, nurse, baseball player, a teacher, or vet. My answer was pretty much always that I wanted to be a senator when I grew up. Even from a young age I had a sense that high office was pretty damned good work if you could get it.
Today, by contrast, I wouldn’t want to be a senator for 10 times the salary. I’m not sure I could spend the day dealing with sycophants and lobbyists, the right wing crackpots like Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, or left wing ideologues like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. I don’t know that any amount of senatorial decorum could stop me from carrying out my deep desire to heave the whole lot of them into the Potomac. At least now I know what I don’t want to do.
What I do want to do – what I’d consider my dream job today – is a little harder to pin down. I know I’d want to write, but not all day every day. I’d like to have an unlimited amount of time to sit on a sunny porch in the morning and drink good coffee. I’d like to walk through the woods, ride 4-wheelers, and shoot guns. I’d like to really take the time to learn how to brew beer and distill whiskey.
As far as I can tell, my dream job is essentially being a PowerBall jackpot winner and having the financial freedom to pursue whatever happens to interest me in the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m compensated well for the time I spend in the office, but it doesn’t take too many days of playing “Who Has the Key to the Mysterious Locked Equipment Room” or “1001 Ways to Make Your PowerPoint Better” to make a guy wonder if there’s something more out there.
I’m not Thoreau and this place certainly isn’t Walden, but it keeps me off the streets. That’s probably as much as a reasonable person could want… but I’ve never claimed to be the model of reasonableness. So the answer to the “dream job” question really is, “it depends.” It depends on the day and hour you ask. For me it’s always been something of a moving target.
This is the second of three answers “By Request.” Thanks, Chrissie!