We have a staff member at my institution who asks the same interview question for every candidate, regardless of the position or department, and it goes something like this….
“If you could do anything, create your dream job, what would that be? What would you be doing?”
I think this is such a fantastic question and one we should think about often and earlier. I read an interesting article this morning that talked the characteristics of college students. One theme that stood out to me, was their reasoning to go to college and to choose their given major: a job that will provide a comfortable living. Students are coming to college, less and less, to explore, learn, and enjoy the process. I wonder how many students, when pondering the above question, would realize their intended career path or major is far from their dream job. I am fortunate for my experiences that led me to explore and develop, which led me to student affairs. Being a first generation college student, I of course, had no understanding of student affairs coming into college, thus no intent on it as a career path. It was getting involved, exploring interests, learning new things, and starting to figure out what I was passionate about, good at, and most interested in that led me to where I am today.
Just for fun, here are some of the elements that would make up my answer to this question:
- Drum set tester: Who wouldn’t love to be paid to play with drums all day? Right?
- Ice cream taster: Let’s be real, this would be sweet. Literally!
- Bat boy: I love baseball! It would be a dream to sit on the field and be paid to watch baseball every day – and pick up equipment once in a while.
- Chopped judge: Getting paid to taste all kinds of tasty creations all while being on TV? Count me in!
I am sure there are lots more, but those top my list. Because most of these are not (traditional) career paths and have limited opportunities, I won’t be leaving my profession for them anytime soon. My point in encouraging others to engage in this process is to see what elements within each of these are things that you enjoy. Believe it or not, I can relate something in each of the above to what I do. I am confident in my own path to know that I truly love and am challenged daily by my work. I reached this point because I explored and figured out what I was interested in and good at. We need to allow ourselves, and encourage others, to do the same.
How would you answer the question?