My Dream Gig

The nanosecond I turned 16, I went on the hunt for my first job. I marched my happy, unjaded ass into a nearby Pizza Hut and politely asked for an application. The pizzeria was located approximately 400 feet from the entrance of Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa, a perpetually busy, summer-rific theme park.

I started two days later knowing absolutely nothing about waiting tables, the service industry, or corporate America. All I knew is I was making a crap-ton more money than my peers working for minimum wage at various other locales. I was also enamored by the camaraderie of the crew. I faithfully worked there all through high school and college. (I waited and resigned the day after my 10-year anniversary. The bonus was too good to pass up. I’m no fool.) As first jobs go, it was ideal—although I cannot stomach the thought of eating at any Pizza Hut ever again.

After college, I fell into the world of TV news and bounced around there for a decade. I honed my storytelling skills and my ability to talk to anyone about anything for any length of time. (It takes a certain level of finesse to interview a long-winded politician whilst—in your head—simultaneously going over a list of ingredients you need to pick up at the store for dinner.)

Most every job I’ve had in the last 15 years has had a recurring theme: talk to people, then write about them. Or write with them. Or write for them. Lather, rinse, repeat. The only thing I enjoy more than chatting folks up is producing/wordsmithing a story that deserves to be told.

As 2022 begins, I find myself searching for a new forever gig—something that checks a lot of boxes. My career coach says half the battle is knowing what you want and refusing to settle. So, I thought I’d manifest my own destiny and put out into the universe: the kind of company I want to work for and the skills I wholeheartedly want to utilize. In no particular order:

9) Deadline-ish driven, remote-ish work. Forget sitting at a desk or in an office from 9 to 5. Those days are long gone. You need me in the office to lead a meeting or spearhead a presentation or, um, inhale donuts? I’m there in a flash. But I need a bit of flexibility too, a job that potentially allows me to work from 3 a.m. – 11 a.m. or 4 p.m. – midnight. Trust and believe, I’ve never missed a single deadline in my life. I’m not about to start now.

8) Road Warrior 101. I’ll admit it, I have wanderlust. If there’s a job that allows me to travel every week, I’m in. No questions asked. Heck, I do my best work on the road. If there’s a nearby mom-and-pop coffeehouse with WIFI, I’ll likely create the best ad pitch you’ve ever seen. Need an award-winning article? Plop me in the middle of a United lounge at any airport. Done and done.

7) Variety is the Spice of Life. If I had to do the same thing over and over, I would die. If I had to do the same thing over and over, I would die. If I had to … oh, you get the idea. If I can find a job that allows me to have multiple irons in the fire, oars in the water, or any other like-minded analogy, I’m game. I like to check things off my list and move on to the next powerhouse assignment.

6) Culture Club. Holy hell—there’s nothing worse than a toxic work environment. I’m on a personal mission to find an agency, company, or organization that allows their employees to thrive and be successful. Yes, there’s a bottom line. Yes, there’s work to be done. But, at the end of the day, I want to fully embrace and feel a sense of team spirit. Or teen spirit, whichever.

5) Bennies. In addition to Benjamins, is it wrong to covet full benefits, right down to a bonus structure and stock options? I’ve never had that. I think it’s time. Is it mandatory? No, but it sure has a certain allure/appeal.

4) Upwardly Mobile. I’m eager to be a boss—an opportunity that’s been MIA in my career. I’ve been a team leader or executive producer on countless projects but haven’t seemed to move up the managerial ranks. Maybe it was the nature of the (advertising/agency) beast, but I’d love a chance to snag that title based on my—or my team’s—stellar work.

3) Unsuitable. For God’s sake, lemme wear jeans. The last time I wore a suit at work was the 12th of Never. Jeans and a blazer = the perfect combination.

2) Writey McWriterson. Man, I like crunching out feature stories and blogs. Or interviews. Or anything involving a list. Is it a Mensa-worthy article? Probably not. But I’ll guarantee it’s eminently readable and will score a bazillion clicks and shares. Full stop.

1) Branded for Life. I once had an editor tell me that I have a voice that cuts through clutter. He hated it­—kind of like Lou Grant hated Mary Richards’s spunk. Happens. I need a company that will embrace my musings, my meanderings, and my playful bon mots. If you’re looking for pablum, look elsewhere. I’ve cultivated a following over the years and I want my new employer to see the creative fruits of my labor—and for them to know I’ll work my ass off.

Okay, universe—now you know what I’m looking for. Help me find a company in need of a creative guru with plenty of media experience. Let me travel. Let me write. Let me produce. And allow me to use my savvy street-cred to the best of my abilities. The perfect forever job is out there, so let’s make it happen—STAT. Amen.