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Imagine 5 Alternative Careers

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Over on See Jen Write, blogger Jennifer Taylor posted a list of jobs she'd have if she couldn't be a writer. They included a forest ranger, a meteorologist, a TV news broadcaster, a librarian and a water slide tester. (Yup, that last one really does exist -- go check out her link.)

Jen posted this list for fun, but my guess is that the reason her list ran such a gamut of professional opportunities is that each of these speaks to a different aspect of her personality.

It's fun to try to imagine all the things you might do if you weren't doing whatever it is that currently defines your profession/lifestyle, but it's also really useful.

If you're even vaguely contemplating a career change, you need to think really carefully about not only what you're good at, but what you enjoy. Often, discovering a satisfying career is not so much about the job title itself, but the various tasks you do as you go about your day and which complement your skills and interests.

To that end, and since I'm engaged in a job search of my own, I thought I'd get the ball rolling by revealing my top five would-be careers. Then it's your turn:

1. Toll Collector. When I was little, I thought that when you tossed your coins into the toll booth on the highway, someone sat at the bottom of the toll booth and sorted them into piles. Turns out I was wrong, but I think the fact that I thought that I'd actually enjoy sitting in a cramped, dark space underground sorting out dimes, nickles and quarters into little piles says a lot about my love of order. Translation? I need to run projects.

2. Barrista. Fortunately, in addition to being a closet administrator, I'm also quite extroverted. Which has always made me fantasize about working in the service industry. There was a time in my 20s when I thought that I should work in a juice bar. But then I realized that I don't actually drink juice. Coffee, however? Yeah, baby, bring it on. And thanks to my husband, I'm quite expert at using espresso machines! Added bonus to this sort of social job? Multi-tasking. Love it.

3. Career Counselor. I've always been obsessed with people's relationship to their work. I love learning about daily routines as well as why it is that people love -- or hate -- what they do for a living. Which is why I think that in another life, I'd help people figure out which line of work suits them and why. After all, personality tests are increasingly part of the recruitment and promotions process at top firms. Come to think of it, why don't I just do this now?

4. War Correspondent. I've had the pleasure of working as a foreign correspondent but never as a war correspondent, which is an entirely different animal. It's an incredibly dangerous job, as the recent deaths of Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin tragically attest. But it's also a thrilling one, where you can feel that you are really making a difference as a journalist. If you doubt this, go watch The Killing Fields or pick up Deborah Copaken Kogan's autobiography, Shutterbabe. With a family in place, I think I'm too old (or too chicken) to pick up this career path right now. But boy, do I wish I'd done it when I was younger.

5. Professional Singer. I really don't think this one requires too much explanation if you read this post, but suffice to say that I love to sing and I love to perform. And I have no doubt that were I truly talented at singing, I'd have hauled my ass to Broadway long ago. Tant pis!

Ok, over to you. What careers/jobs would you pick in an alternate universe?

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