Wednesday, November 2, 2011

in another life

One of the best jobs I've ever had was on campus at BYU-Idaho. One afternoon in late spring I was perusing job listings on the BYU-I website when I noticed there was an opening for one of the most coveted student jobs -- grounds crew. These spots always filled up fast so I ran to the hiring office immediately. I was surprised that they didn't ask me any questions, didn't want a résumé, didn't have me fill out an application -- they simply hired me on the spot.

My crew spent the rest of that spring and part of the summer landscaping -- leveling earth, laying sod, planting shrubs and trees. We were assigned to an area of campus that had been an unsightly patch of dirt for over a year. It was so easy to feel satisfied with this job because we could see the direct results of our work. When we were done that vacant swath looked a little something like this:

Yeah, I did all that. You're welcome BYU-Idaho. Image from here.

The only downside to this job? It paid crap (like most student jobs on campus). When finding a job why does pay have to be so important? Maybe a better question way to ask that question is why is it so important to maintain a lifestyle that teeters between comfortable and affluent? How can I get by on less and either save more money or have a job that I enjoy more but maybe pays less? While I ponder these questions (please feel free to add your two cents), here are two more jobs I think I'd love if money was of zero concern:

I love baking, and even though I don't do it as often as I'd like, I feel like I'm pretty OK at it. I would love to bake professionally. Breads, cookies, cakes, croissants -- anything that goes in the oven -- quality artisan stuff, better than homemade, not the crappy store-bought fare.

This is bread. I made it.

A week or two ago I got this weird urge to chop wood. Not only does it sound incredibly therapeutic, but imagine the health benefits that would come from exercising for work. And let's talk about how great I'd look -- loosely-tucked flannel shirt, loose suspenders, threadbare jeans* -- powering that ax while dirt, sawdust and sweat congeals in my beard. There's no doubt about it, I'd make a great lumberjack.

It's interesting that with each of these three jobs, you're left with a tangible result: a new patch of grass, a fresh batch of cookies, a formidable pile of logs. And who knows, perhaps it is possible to maintain a comfortable lifestyle doing any one of these things. And if it is possible, then why am I not lumberjacking mornings and baking afternoons?

Now it's your turn, give me your dream job, whether it means a lifestyle change or not.

*This might be redundant imagery as I'm similarly attired in one of the above banner photos.


  1. I want to be a treasure hunter. Someone who goes to estate sales in foreign countries and searches for those "gems" that are tucked away from centuries of those before me.

    I want to travel to the east coast and dig through attics. Walk the battlefields of world war 2 with a metal detector, buy up unopened trunks from small towns on the austrian countryside. THAT is my dream job. But for now, I peruse Ebay and when I travel, find some unknown antique shop. But that's not true treasure hunting....I'm only reaping someone else's incredible find.

  2. Man, that'd be so great. Sounds like I need to learn how to dream bigger.

  3. I loved this post. My dream job would be to take good enough pictures of all the Temples around the world, that the church actually hired me to take them. Not only would you get to travel the world and visit every Temple, I'd hope to go inside all them and see the wonderings of that culture. Some day some say!
    I know we've talked a lot about this but we really need to start a bakery that also serves as a used book store and by night has local artists serenading the customers. AND OF COURSE we'd do weekly or bi-weekly bouts of karaoke and show everyone the Best of Katy Perry. While visiting Boston, I've decided it doesn't quite fit the Mesa atmosphere (Boston or Portland would be perfect places for such a place).