Of course it is optimal to think about career choices in terms of what one enjoys and would like to do more than anything for the rest of his or her life.
However, most people also have some goals in mind. For me, these include a family, children, and the contented feeling of security. It is important to me to ensure that my career supports the lifestyle I have in mind.
When I was a little girl and my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer always was, “a dancer.”
Somewhere along the line, though, this answer changed. I woke up and realized I am not the best dancer this world has seen, and even if I were, it would be entirely too risky for me to base my entire life, and salary, on a skill that is naturally lost with age and unnaturally lost with the trip of a foot.
This is not to say that exceptional skill and a clean bill of health would necessarily provide me with a good salary and good benefits, anyway.
If I have to put food on the table and clothes on my children depending solely on what dance company wants me this season or what gig I can get next week makes my former dream job seem like a nightmare. The feeling of security, therefore, is a huge given in my definition of “dream job.”
If I really wanted to find a way to secure my future and receive the most benefits, I would probably have law school in mind. However, law is not something I want to practice for the rest of my life, despite the benefits it offers.
It’s something I would rather write about. And if I can get paid to write about it, all the better.
So, I plan to become a journalist.
Although this second love of mine may not be the most lucrative of professions, it would be enough for me.
I enjoy investigating news and writing about it, and I have a compulsive tendency to edit anything I see.
I like having deadlines and feeling organized, and I like knowing that breaking my ankle will not affect my career or income in any major way.
In order to make this more practical career work even more in my favor in terms of benefits and being able to support myself, I plan on going to grad school.
By attaining a Master’s degree program, I would be able to make more money, receive more benefits and feel more secure.
I have hopes that if I went on maternal leave, it wouldn’t be too challenging to return to the same, or a different, newspaper.
I need the satisfaction of knowing I will be able to pay the bills whether I am married or not. It is too dangerous to rely on one salary, and nearly impossible if kids are in the picture, especially as costs rise and college becomes more and more expensive.
Overall, practicality and passion combine to provide, for me, the ideal “dream job.”
I don’t think it’s materialistic at all to say I would be happy to know I had money in the bank. It is not the money that I love, but the knowledge that if I have a health problem, my medical plan will pay for it.
If I have children, I will be able to provide them with the best medical treatment and send them to college, among other things.
Vacations here and there would be nice too, but overall, I just want to know that I will be able to keep my children and family healthy and happy.
Happiness without security, for me, wouldn’t last very long. Security with contentment, though, could last me a lifetime.