Wednesday, August 03, 2011

When The Dream Job Isn't Nearby

I'm a World War II historian. Most of you know that. I have a master's degree in history that I'm currently not using in my day job. This makes paying the student loan rather painful.

My dream job, of course, would be working at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. In fact, I just checked their employment page today and saw this position:

Reporting to the Manager of Research Services, the position is responsible for collecting artifacts, archival materials, oral histories and conducting research on selected individuals or historic topics as requested by the Museum’s President, Board of Trustees or the Development Department. This position conducts research, interviews, collects materials and catalogs oral histories into the collection. Strong computer and technological skills (including editing, annotation and transcription) to assist in the digitization of the Museum’s oral history collection is required. This position also assists with Museum product development. Bachelor’s degree in history, museum science or related field. Minimum of two years experience in historical research — preferably within a museum environment.

I just want to sob when I read this. Why? Because I want this job.

But I can't move to New Orleans. Nor do I want to. I've visited New Orleans before and while I enjoyed visiting, I do not want to live there. Since I am a person that absolutely needs to be comfortable wherever I live, moving to the Big Easy is out of the question.

So that leaves me looking closer to home for an alternative to my dream job.

Of course, as a historical fiction writer, my dream job is to write my novels full-time. But as we all know, writing novels is not the easiest way to make a living. And with a family to support, making a living is quite important.

We do have a stellar historical society here in Nebraska, but since it is linked to the state, and thus the state budget (which, like other states, is not doing so hot), jobs are not easy to come by. In fact, once a person gets in to the society, they pretty much stay put. But our museum has a wonderful exhibit on World War II in Nebraska that I'd love to work with. Will I get the chance? We shall have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I'm learning the value of patience. I'm working on my novels, researching and writing history articles in my spare time, and trying to keep up with the professional world of history.

Is there a dream job you'd love to have but can't because of location or other responsibilities?


  1. I've been to New Orleans too and love the city-but visiting a place is one thing, while actually living there would be a different story-and the same could be said for many places and not just New Orleans. So I know what you mean.

    I think patience is the key-in fact my favorite new motto is an old sailor expression "Hold Fast" I know what I would like to be happening in my creative life-more success-but I have to be patient and keep plugging along. I'm also not that crazy about where we live right now, but it's the best place for us to be at this point in time.

    Melissa, I think we have to keep doing what we are doing-and do it the best we can and trust that God in His wisdom will show us in His time what is best for us. Hugs:)

  2. I'm not sure what my dream job would be. Oddly, I don't think it would be writing all day, every day...while I would LOVE that, I get too insulated and I need something to make me get out into the world.

    Being part of a team, working together toward a tangible outcome, not having to work with the public...well, I've got 2 out of 3 now, I should probably count myself lucky. :)

    Hang in there...someday, that dream job will come!

  3. Is there a university nearby? Today I walked through our university's library and found so many rich historical artifacts and books and illustrations, so when I read your post I immediately thought how well-suited your education and interests are to a university or college....

    Keep us posted!


  4. OH... that job sounds wonderful! How frustrating, I hope something similar turns up. That would be the perfect partner to your writing too!

    My dream job? Writing full time. Amen. (please bring it on, someone.) ;-))

  5. I do feel for you and really hope something wonderful comes up for you. My dream job? Well, as well as journalism and the walks book(s), of course I wnat to get my novel(s) published. But that wouldn't involve moving. I hope!

  6. My dream job would be writing full time from my shed, but as I'm not earning my living by my writing, I'll have to keep dreaming, and trying, of course.

  7. Thanks for all your comments. :-) While I would love to write full-time, I also recognize that I am one of those people (like Christine) who needs to interact with other people at least on a part-time basis, or else I get depressed. So a part-time job at a historical society would be perfect! Still waiting and praying and hoping for something to come along...

  8. I love how you are hanging in there patiently and pursuing your career interests in your spare time. If you keep researching and looking for opportunities, one will surely come your way!

  9. Oh I feel for you Melissa. I know how difficult it is and how few and far between historian jobs are. I'm in the same boat. At least you've got your writing to keep you sane. Hang in there.


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