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August 12, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Jobs I Would Have Liked

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.
-Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything

I never meant to end up working in the technology field.  I’m not one of those kids who had a computer at an early age and grew up on technology.  I can count the number of times I touched a computer until I graduated from high school on one hand…with the exception of two longer stretches: In 1992 and 1993 we had a computer for a month during the summers.  This is because my dad went to Radio Shack, plopped down a few thousand dollars on a Tandy 3000 or another similar model.  He’d bring it home with a dot-matrix printer and a couple of fun programs like a CAD application and an early version of CorelDraw.  We’d have it set up for 29 days and he and I would spend hours playing Flight Simulator and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.  I’d design the summer camp of my dreams using the CAD program.  I wrote lengthy stories in Word Perfect.  I wrote simple Q&A games in BASIC. 

On the 30th day the computer would go back into the styrofoam and boxes and I’d watch, sadly, as it was loaded in the car to be returned to Radio Shack.  (The 30th day was the last day of the return policy.)  “We can’t afford it.”  It was fun while it lasted. 

I ended up working in computers somewhat accidentally…mostly because I had no other direction.  I knew I didn’t want to go to college right away.  I knew that I had to get out of my town, lest I end up there forever.  That’s how I ended up in the military, and the military is where I learned about computers.  And when I got out, computers was about the only field I was qualified for.  Now don’t get me wrong; it’s a pretty slick industry to be in.  The pay is great (unless you program video games…sorry kids), the job opportunities are pretty good, and if you’re lucky you’ll get to telecommute. 

The downsides are there though.  Office/technology jobs turn out to be more like Initech than you might think.  It’s not like many people in the tech industry are there to design whatever they want and program whatever they want; it’s usually someone else’s grand idea and often times you would do the grand idea differently.  Also when people screw up because of the grand idea, it’s often up to you to go in and clean up the technical aspects of the piece of crap they envisioned.  And then of course are the days that you are the one to create some massive error that someone else has to go clean up.  In that sense, it’s not so different from waiting on tables, other than the fact you aren’t as physically active.

Sometimes I think I am really lucky that if I was going to just land somewhere, I landed in technology.  Other times I wish I had put a little more thought into The Rest Of My Life.  I don’t know.  What else might I have done?  I conducted an in-depth analysis to attempt to figure it out.

Job I have now:

Application Engineer/Programmer

Job I wanted as a child:

Indian who lived in teepee.  I thought you could grow up to be this.  I’m still a little upset about the fact it is not an available occupation.

Job I wanted as a teenager:

I wasn’t really sure…depending on the week I wanted to be an actress, a painter, a genetic engineer, a journalist, and a restaurant owner.  I had no idea what I really wanted to do. 

Job a friend has that I am envious of:

I have an old friend who became a freelance photojournalist…we were on high school paper together.  Thanks to the Internet I found her again.  She has a very exotic and adventurous life…I’m a wee bit jealous.  She recently had a story/photos published in the LA Times.  I wouldn’t trade what I have now for that kind of life, but it’s fun to imagine what could have been.  I will also admit that on the darkest days of tantrums and/or TPS reports, I fantasize about changing my name and moving to Thailand.  I wouldn’t have a job there, though.  I’d just sit around on the beach.

Job I once thought would be great, but now I know better:

Mega-star in Hollywood.  Who wouldn’t want to taste the good life of mansions, fancy dinners, incredible clothes and people fawning all over you.  For about thirty seconds.  Thank goodness this never happened to me.  I would have been the one to get featured on the “Stars Without Makeup” cover or “Cellulite Disasters” feature every couple of months. 

Job that I would never be able to do:

I’d never be able to be a doctor of any kind.  First of all, they go to school for way too long.  Secondly, their pay hasn’t increased in the past couple of decades, but their hours keep getting worse.  Lastly I would not want anything to do with the horror that is the insurance industry in this country.  Oh, and I can’t stand blood.

Job that I’d never want to do:

I would never want to be a child social worker.  I think that they have an incredibly tough job and have to see things that people shouldn’t ever see.  I am glad they are there for the kiddos, but I couldn’t handle it myself.

I fantasize about having this job:

Writer for South Park.  I would saw off my hands to have a job as a writer on South Park.  Although I guess that would make it awfully hard to type.

If I could do it all over again, I’d have this for a job:

I would have convinced the Travel Channel that it should have chosen ME instead of that other lady to send around the world.  I know I would have done a much better job at having grand adventures and marvelous exotic foods at fancy hotels than she does.  I just know it.

If I could go back to school:

I’d get a Masters Degree in something only good for dinner parties, like Literature or Psychology.

When I retire and have no social security because it was drained away years before, I’m going to do this for a job:

Write articles for magazines.  Grow tomatoes and corn and sell it at the farmer’s market.  Possibly buy a clown costume to perform children’s birthday parties, if they still have clowns in the future.

Ah, who am I kidding?  I hate clowns.  I’ve hated clowns even before I read It.

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12 Comments

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  1. Miss Virtual Reality / Aug 16 2008 12:23 pm

    When I was little, I wanted to be an Ice Skater. Yes, I was a big dreamer. Then I wanted to be a radio dj, I still would like that, but I doubt that will happen.

    Freelance works for me.

  2. smalltownsmalltimes / Aug 15 2008 7:53 pm

    How about Job you should have: novelist. You write so well.

  3. david / Aug 14 2008 11:37 pm

    First of all, they go to school for way too long. Secondly, their pay hasn’t increased in the past couple of decades, but their hours keep getting worse. Lastly I would not want anything to do with the horror that is the insurance industry in this country.

    AMEN, Maleesha. And that doesn’t apply just to doctors – but just about anyone in the medical fields. One of the reasons that I walked away from it a few weeks ago.

    Great post, BTW.

    You DID!? Well…congratulations then! I guess. Wow. That’s big news!

  4. Allison / Aug 14 2008 4:36 am

    I love the story about your 30-day childhood computer experience…and that quote from ‘Say Anything’.

    I’m always very interested to hear how people choose their career fields. I initially picked social work b/c I liked the psychology aspect of it without needing a PhD…also, the homework wasn’t too bad. Apparently those are bad criteria for picking a career field…and so I switched to accounting b/c I loved bank recs and tax returns.

    Regarding a job I could never do…be a high school teacher. I can’t imagine dealing with a classroom of teenagers everday. The thought makes me shudder.

    I concur on the high school teacher thing. It would be one thing if we could all be Robin Williams (Dead Poets Society) or Michele Pfeiffers (Dangerous Minds) but in reality it would be more like the Ben Steins. (Bueller? Bueller? Frye? Frye?)

  5. glassowater / Aug 13 2008 10:34 am

    Samantha Brown and her fabulous world trekking job – who the hell doesn’t want that? And the sad thing is, I remember her from growing up here in the seacoast of NH and I have this overwhelming jealousy of her job! I love watching her show and love her perkiness and humor but I find myself saying “why not me???”. Ok, so I’m not cute perky funny and insightfull (and I’m definitely not a chick) but darnit, I could so do that job!! Actually the job I find myself envying more and more are Andrew Zimmern’s and Anthony Bourdain’s…so I’m not a world renowned chef and I haven’t published any books, I can talk food and culture with the best of them darnit! Gimme a shot Travel Channel!!!!!! Ok, I feel better now that I have vented…

  6. bluesuit12 / Aug 13 2008 7:47 am

    I’m not really in any kind of field. I just have a random job. I do have my degree in Social Work though but like you, I couldn’t handle working as a child social worker. The field is so broad and even still I don’t think they have what I want to do. Oh well. Until then I sit in front of my computer screen day in, day out. Day in, day out, day…

    Thank goodness for the internet. We can search for our life’s purpose via Google and maybe someday it will fall into our lap. Or at least we can read a lot of crap online.

  7. crisitunity / Aug 13 2008 7:40 am

    I own Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

    Ha!

  8. morethananelectrician / Aug 13 2008 6:54 am

    I never would have guessed that I would be where I am now…it is probably like that for most of us.

    Twenty years ago, anyone who knew me would have put me in print journalism field, but I am so glad that didn’t happen. Newspapaers and magazines are dying before our eyes.

    That’s for sure. And we’ll always need electricity. And to think you are MORE than an electrician, anyway.

  9. pikespeakdenise / Aug 13 2008 5:16 am

    Speaking of Lloyd Dobler, have you seen Martian Child? It is good, and kind of about writing.

    We watched Office Space night before last. 🙂

    I am sure it was IT which caused my fear of clowns! I didn’t know to fear them earlier.


    Even before IT there was a movie called…Killer Klowns from Outer Space. It ran on HBO late late at night. That was super-disturbing. Then I read IT, and it was over for me and clowns. They never made me laugh anyway.

  10. southernofficechairs / Aug 12 2008 9:46 pm

    Cute post!
    I believe I can recall about 100 things I wanted to be “when I grow up.”
    All of them were special in one way or another. Some were really silly and some were extremely ambitious, but they were all dreams that helped me figure out who I was and who I would someday become.
    Thanks for the memories and the smiles!
    SOC

  11. Carli / Aug 12 2008 7:56 pm

    Ever since a trip to SeaWorld in Florida in 8th grade I really wanted to be a whale trainer. But, somehow I became a doctor instead. I’m not sure where things went wrong in my life. I’d have to agree with the crappy hours (considering I woke at 4:30am and just got home from work at 9:30pm) and the pay isn’t anything to write home about (12yrs of education after highschool and I’m still not even up to 50K). But the blood and guts part is pretty cool. I’ll have to admit, I really thought that the potpourri store we opened in my bedroom way back in elementary school was really going to be our ticket to financial independence. That…or the flying carpet idea.

    But you’ll always get to introduce yourself as “Dr.” and that is kind of cool. There is still time for the potpourri store.

  12. curlywurlygurly / Aug 12 2008 5:29 pm

    argh. i’m so bummed. i was going to blog about “your first job” tomorrow…now i’ll feel like a post-hijacker.

    ps. as for the indian living in a teepee…that’s a pretty interesting aspiration. all i wanted to do was carve a canoe out of my neighbor’s white birch tree. 🙂

    Oh I think you have a million more readers than me, so feel free to do the post and everyone will think that *I’m* the hijacker! Do it anyway! Because now I want to know…

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