The Dream Job

the-dream-jobBack when I was working at Best Buy, I once had my supervisor come up and ask if I was okay with covering a co-worker’s shift that would put me into overtime. I said I was, and he smiled and said given the chance he’d work overtime too, because he loves extra money, and he loves his job.

I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous, because I’ve never come close to loving any job I’ve ever held. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed Best Buy and Amazon more than my vet tech jobs, but they certainly aren’t my dream job.

So I started thinking about what makes a dream job. My answers come from a combination of studying people like that supervisor who enjoy what they do, and looking inward at what I would need from a job in order to say I really loved it. I realize everyone’s answers are going to be different, and I’d like to hear what you think makes a great job in the comments below. Here’s what I came up with though…

  1. You need to be truly interested in what you do. Everyone has good days and bad days, and most likely some facets of the job won’t be as enjoyable as others, but overall it’s gotta be something you enjoy doing, and something you don’t tire of doing. My interest level in what I do at work is pretty low, so I don’t spend more than the minimum amount of time improving at it, which leads me into the next point: proficiency.
  2. I think a dream job is going to be doing something that you’re good at. This will happen through a combination of natural talent, and skill acquired by studying it, and actually doing the work. Being good at what you do is a very satisfying feeling and I think crucial for a dream job.
  3. Some people may not think of this as an important job requirement, but it is for me. Besides liking what I do and having the satisfaction of doing it well, I want to make a difference. To genuinely feel like the work I’m doing is helping others.
  4. The job environment also has to be good. In this category I include things like liking your boss and coworkers, a positive upbeat atmosphere, and the job not being ridiculously far from where you live.
  5. Lastly, making enough money to support yourself comfortably is also an important requirement of a dream job.

These are all things I see as being key for me. But now honestly, I don’t think there is one traditional job that I could see as meeting all these requirements. I think I’m going to have to make it up for myself.

Let me try to explain a little better. Working temp jobs like I have been pays the bills and allows me to travel which I’m very thankful for. Most of the people I’ve worked with I’ve liked, but these kind of jobs all noticeably lack in point #3. They also pin me down to one area, even if only for a few months at a time. And the places I get to travel to are dependent on where I’m able to find work. Finding what most Americans would consider a Dream job doesn’t work for me either, because it would almost certainly take me off the road, and only let me travel on vacations, no thanks.

This is why I’m working on projects like the ebook. I get the satisfaction of working on something I’m interested in and will help others. Yeah, it won’t pay all my bills, but the more little things like this I can piece together the less reliant I become on finding temp jobs as I travel.

So I think my ‘dream job’ will end up being a combination of several different projects that collectively meet these 5 points even if not every single one does. I can’t tell you exactly what my Dream Job would be yet, because I’m still working on it. But I think I’m heading in the right direction. What does yours look like?

* * *

On a related note, I think a lot of you would probably like a post with more details about working while traveling, and I do fully intend to write one. It’s just that this part of RVing I’m still discovering for myself, and I don’t feel comfortable telling people to do this or that until I have experience to draw from. This is one part of RVing where I fell more under the “make it up as you go” category and less in the “planning” category. In time though, in time.

Image courtesy of Tax Credit

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Amy on August 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    For me I think one of the biggest things that makes a job a “dream” is being appreciated for what I do. I guess it falls under making a difference to some extent because for the owner or mgr of the company i AM making a difference. I enjoy being a part of a team. In reading this post I thought back on what my dream job was & i’d have to say working at a flower shop. During holidays i worked my tookus off () but my best memory is being there til midnight on Feb 13th, with all of the “family” of workers pitching it to get the job done. Around 9pm we had dinner of pizza & wine coolers drunk out of bud vases & then got back to work plugging along. In fact i stilll have my “wine vase” & its one of the luxuries I’ll take with me when i hit the road.

    Oh, 2nd favorite memory of that job was in May 1991 when I got to tell people trying to order Mothers Day flowers… “i’m sorry, Florida is closed.”

  2. Sheryl at Providence Acres Mobile on January 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

    We found our dream job last summer, working as camp managers at a small wilderness campground beside a lake in the northern Rockies. We go a chance to live in the wilderness with our camper, a clean mountain stream behind us for water and our own pit toilet. The campground was small and didn’t take a lot of time during the week, so we hiked the mountain trials and tundra a lot. No phone or internet and the nearest town was an hour away, but we didn’t need it. Other than hiking daily, we did our laundry ourselves at the stream, foraged for wild berries and other edibles, watched the wildlife which was plentiful, met and helped a lot of campers who were thrilled to be there, fished and read a lot. We loved it and are looking forward to doing it again this coming summer!

    Being a small wilderness camp, there was less actual cleaning and campsite work to do than there would be at a large RV campground, but less amenities too. We were very happy there and want to go back. It was a first full time RVing experience for us!

  3. Lynn on December 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I guess I have been lucky, I have always enjoyed my work and part of that is being well compensated for my efforts. It seems like it is not popular these days to want to make money but for me, the amount of money I made was a direct tie in to my efforts. I am now a business owner in a similar industry to what I have always worked in. The most important things to me are 1. Will I be well compensated? 2. Do I work with people that I enjoy! 3. Am I creatively challenged? 4. Do I only answer to myself? 5. Can I take off whenever the urge hits me. Right now I can answer “yes” to all these so I am happy with my lot in life. We spend a good portion of our time at work so it should be enjoyable.
    Lynn recently posted..A Slow Boat To BaliMy Profile

    • Becky on December 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Indeed Lynn, good for you for finding something that works well.

  4. Reine on December 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I think the attitude you bring to a job is the real difference. I’ve heard that when President Kennedy once toured NASA he asked a janitor what he did. The man replied, “I help put men on the moon!” That’s the attitude that makes jobs rewarding.

    In your Amazon job, you might think of yourself as helping make Christmas merry for MILLIONS of folks. I just placed my fourth order with Amazon and it will be here before Christmas. Without folks like you, that wouldn’t happen. Lots of us shop Amazon because of the prices and convenience but there are many home bound folks who shop Amazon because they are unable to get out. For them, online shopping gives them independence and helps maintain their dignity even when their bodies aren’t cooperating so your job IS making a difference. You just don’t get to see the satisfaction on the faces of folks who can do for themselves instead of having to ask for help.

    • Becky on December 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Good point and very true Reine. It’s just hard to feel like you’re making a difference when you can’t see the end result.

      That’s partly why I had more fun at Amazon and even Best Buy, was attitude. In this case though it was the knowledge that this job is funding an pretty cool way of life, and there is joy to be found in that too even if the job itself wasn’t very spectacular.

  5. LG on December 16, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Becky, I have enjoyed almost every job I have had since I adopted my work philosophy. I undertake every job with the idea that it’s MY business. I have competitions with myself: can I do it faster, better, make more $ than I did yesterday? I have worked at the same place for the past 14 years, but during that time I have also held part time jobs that would probably not be considered anyone’s dream job, Pizza Hut server, data entry, catalog order taker. I enjoyed my time at each of those places.

    I don’t think the size of the paycheck contributes much to the enjoyment of the work IF you make enough to pay your bills. In my full-time job we are all compensated pretty well, but some co-workers come in each day like it’s the worst kind of drudgery to be there.

    I think you would find, even if you got a “dream job” that it would not be all roses and sunshine.

    I am enjoying your blog very much.


    • Becky on December 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Heya LG,

      No, no job would be all roses and sunshine every day, just like full-timing isn’t roses and sunshine every day, there is no such thing. But the more of those 5 things I could get, the better for me I know things would be. 🙂 A positive attitude definitely does help!

  6. Girili on December 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    There’s a job listed on the Escapees website I think you might want to check out if you are going to work after Christmas. It’s doing gasline survey work. Sounds like pretty good pay.

    If that job’s not for you, there are other jobs listed that might work.

    Just a thought,

    • Becky on December 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      I’d like to be down the in Southeast part of the U.S. We’ll see though Girili, thanks for the thip.

  7. Liz on December 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    A friend of mine, who is a consultant, once told me his guidelines for taking a job. I think they apply to any job, not just consulting. He asks himself three questions: (1) Is it really interesting to me? Do I like the people I would be working with? Does it pay well? If he can answer yes to two out of those three questions, he takes the job. I find those guidelines to be extremely helpful when I think about work. It also reminds me that no situation is perfect. But we have to work (most of us) to survive, so let’s go for good rather than perfect. Right now, I have two and a half of those three things, and I’m grateful.

    • Becky on December 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      There you go then Liz, not a bad measuring stick to go by. 🙂

  8. Don M on December 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    As far as making a difference, almost all jobs are noble. The garbage man makes a difference, but we don’t realize it until he doesn’t come around. All jobs are serving people in some way. Now, I realize that working on a cure for AIDS is not the same as working a parking lot payment booth. But some (a lot?) of the difference is what you make it.

    Self-actualization, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

    • Becky on December 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Working in the research industry I realized that I made a difference, but for me being able to see the difference is important. There I was such a small piece of the puzzle that I never got to see the rewards of our efforts, and I was easily replaceable.

      So I guess that’s what I want, to be able to see the fruits of my labor. it’s different then just knowing in your mind that you’re helping in some small way.

  9. travelfables on December 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I think to me, keeping things fresh is important to my dream job. Though I’ve never had a “dream job”. I did have one sweet gig though that I rate up there. I was camera-assistant to the main camera guy for a series for the TV food network. It was just me and the main shooter- who was cool, and we were treated like kings at some of the best – fancy yummy resturants and spots in the SouthEast. We finished the local-series/shoot after about 3 weeks of it, and the show left my city onward to other places.
    Running my own biz has its moments.
    But that was one sweet gig. Due to ease and funness of the work, fun easy going people to work with, and the whole getting to eat like kings thing :). I use to work lots as a stooge in the film and tv industy, saw many interesting things, but to me that was the only “paid” gig that had that coolness factor.
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    • Becky on December 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Oooh that sounds like it would be fun. 🙂 And there are so many jobs out there that people don’t even think about that could be fun to do. I think a big part of it is learning where to look.

  10. Mike Reinert on December 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    I agree you need to love what you do for work. I have been working 55+ hours a week lately and am glad that I have a job I love to do and more importantly that I am very good at doing.

    I do not know if you remember talking to me before. I am headed up to your hometown tonight after work to visit family. Maybe someday we can meet. I would like to hear more about life on the road. I am doing something different. I live 45 minutes from work and am setting it up so I can sleep in my trailer during the week. Mon-Wed nights.

    • Becky on December 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Heya Mike,

      You’re not the first I’ve heard of who bought a RV for that purpose, if it cuts down on commute time and gives you more time for yourself then it’s a perfectly valid reason.

      Have a good and safe trip! I still have a week and a half at Amazon before I leave Kansas, but it’s drawing to a close. And yeah, that would be nice to meet someday.

  11. Fireman Steve on December 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Good insight on your part. I think things that make a good job are a healthy well lit work environment, working for a person or company that inspires me to do better each day. A company like Lucas-films for example has people in management who mentor new hires which in turn helps to build confidence and ownership into the philosophy of the organization. You would feel like a family. It’s an environment such as that which makes a person look forward to going to work each day. Another aspect is to be in a career that has a path for advancement.
    Another thing is to be challenged at work, to have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day or the of a project. And finally, getting a pat on the back every once in a while, for a job well done, sure does a lot for a person.
    Have a great day….

    • Becky on December 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      All good points Steve, thanks for contributing.

  12. Kim on December 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

    In my 27 years of working, I’ve had one almost-dream job. A job that I loved with a passion, was good at, made a difference with, and was well-compensated for: teaching nursing.

    But it wasn’t perfect because the demands were overwhelming, working evenings, weekends, unable to take time off. And #4 was certainly not ideal. But now I think I’ve found it. I’m about to start teaching online. So #4 will be improved as I’m able to work from anywhere and don’t have to deal with office politics (something I was never good at).

    Now …. #5 remains to be seen! I figure as long as I can keep the gas tank filled, I’m good.

    You are on the right track to figuring it out. At least you know what’s important to you. That’s wisdom.
    Kim recently posted..Lost-And-Found FriendMy Profile

    • Becky on December 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Heya Kim,

      Best of luck with the online teaching! That sure would be a good way to earn money while you travel. Please do keep us updated on how it goes. 🙂

  13. Regina on December 13, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Becky: I feel lucky to have had a job that I loved. It was at the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service in Fairbanks. We provided information (printed and verbal) and classes (mostly free) to the community about gardening, farming, canning, food safety, horticulture, entomology, 4-H. What made it fun was the help and information provided to the community and my immediate supervisor. She was awesome to work for. To this day, it is still my favorite job.

    • Becky on December 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      That does sound like an awesome job Regina, glad you found something that fulfilled you like that. 🙂

  14. Dennis Smith on December 13, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I have worked for 37 years and I am not sure there is a DREAM JOB. Spending 20 years in the Air Force I had 9 different assignments and I liked a lot of them but not one of them was a dream. Then I had the same job working for Honeywell for 17 years. Again I really did enjoy that job, flying over 650,000 miles in 15 years. I am now retired and I guess that is my dream job. Geting up and trying to figure out what I need to do for the day. My wife has 965 more days to work before retirement and then our dream job will be to RV full time. Our best saying is ” Work sure gets in the way of having fun”

    • Becky on December 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Not that you guys are counting down the days or anything. 😉

      I believe in the concept of the dream job because I have met a few people (very few, but they do exist) that truly love what they do for a living. Retirement would count I suppose, haha.

      Best of luck to you guys and keep us posted on how things progress!

  15. Marty on December 13, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I have learned that whenever I have a job, or a task to do at a job, that I find distastful, if I play a little mind trick I can accomplish it much better and with less “suffering”.

    Mentally I tell myself that I love it this task and cannot wait to work at whatever it is. It is the highlight of my day, my reason for living! Sounds silly but if you try hard enough it does work.

    And if you have a co-worker that you are good friends with who also has to do this task it can help get it done. For example I worked in a data center for the Eckerd Corporation. There was a report that came out daily that was sent to every Eckerd Drug store in the USA. The stack was two feet thick and everybody in the center avoided them like the plague. My friend and I decided to look at this task as the best thing to do ever! We would compete to see who got them first. We would hide them from each other, hoard them, and take care of them while the other one was out on break or lunch. Many times we would break down laughing! The rest of the center started thinking we were nuts but we did not care, we were having a great time.

    Silly as it sounds this worked! And the friendship we built has lasted ten years. Eckerd closed and he moved away but we are just as good of friends as we were before! We still banter back and forth who was the better at doing all those reports! One of my best memories.

    • Becky on December 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm


      That’s not a silly way to go about looking at it at all, in fact it was rather ingenious. Why make life harder than it has to be? If that worked for you and made an otherwise unpleasant task more pleasant, then it’s a good thing. In fact I may try borrowing this method and see if I can get it to work for me.

  16. Misty on December 13, 2012 at 4:04 am

    In my experience, very few people who really truly love their work have a job working for someone else, like your Best Buy guy. They’re out there, but most of the people I’ve met who feel really satisfied with their lives have a creative patchwork of activities that they do, some which pay and some which don’t, that come together to meet all the criteria for what they want out of life.

    Of course, this is just my experience, and I will admit that my experience is skewed from spending so much time in the arts. 🙂
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    • MARVIN on December 13, 2012 at 9:10 am


      Becky ,

      I often reflect on the ” Discovery ” phase of RV’ing , and find that it is like slowly opening a present . To me , leisure travel is a gift that should be cherished .

      I look at work as a temporary means to pay the bills and allow freedom of movement to experience discovery .
      As our social and business economy and structure change from old to new , we can no longer depend on long term norms of our past to take us thru a future .

      Previously ,I had a job that was a complete focus and at the time I was 100% committed . Today , I question what caused me to make that choice and why .

      I will consider the next few years a success if I focus on travel and less on work .

      In addition to writing , you might offer your services in web / blog design . I have no idea what the process is , but your blog layout is a much easier read than most .

      Have a great day .


      • Becky on December 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm

        Thanks Marvin,

        Agreed. I now find it foolish to commit 100% to a job. Well, okay maybe that’s being a bit harsh. Give it your all if you want, but try to keep a level eye on the stability of that job, they aren’t as sure of a thing as they were in the past.

        In the past I lived to work, now I’m ready to work to live.

    • Becky on December 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Agreed Misty. The people like my Best Buy supervisor are few and far between. Maybe that’s why that experience stood out so much for me.

      And your patchwork idea matches what I’m thinking I’ll end up with. There wont’ be one thing that does it all, I’ll have to piece things together.

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