The first session I attended Thursday at the NIRSA show in Austin was about landing your dream job, and the leader was Mitch Gartenberg of the University of Georgia. Mitch told us he landed his dream job early in life--as a beer man at Milwaukee's County Stadium. Now, he says, he's in his real dream job as the certified recreation sports specialist (CRSS) at Georgia. In a couple of weeks, Mitch will realize his other dream--running in the Boston Marathon.
(Editor's Note: Mitch turned in a time of 5 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds at the Boston Marathon on April 21. Way to go, Mitch!)
During the dream job session, we were all told to close our eyes and hold hands with the person next to us. (Don't you just love interactive sessions?) Mitch went around and put an object in our other hand, asked us to determine what it was, then pass it to the person next to us. I happened to get a little chocolate egg; others got some sort of individualized snack food.
The point is, we have to think about dream jobs as three-dimensional. We have to see them, touch them, even smell them. Sometimes, our dream jobs aren't what we hoped they would be or seem to be.
We did another exercise in which we were given a slip of paper that had a job title higher than our current ones. After learning that I was a managing editor, Mitch gave me a vice president title. (Ha! Take that, Pam!)
The young lady with whom I held hands (please don't tell my wife) and I talked about what it would take to land the job title we received. Danielle, a student at James Madison University, had just interviewed and was offered a graduate student assistantship at the University of Tennessee, so she already was well on her way.
Mitch gave us some pointers as to how to handle accepting our dream jobs, and they all involved taking the high road. He suggested we clean our offices and burn CDs of all our pertinent information to give to our soon-to-be ex-employers. He also said to not dwell on the negatives of leaving and accept the chaos that comes with beginning our dream jobs.