Dream Jobs Are Not Accidents

Posted by Lou Imbriano

I have been very fortunate to have, what many people would consider to be dream jobs. While in college, I interned at NESN, got my first “real job” at WHDH Radio, I then built a career at Sports Radio WEEI, the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, and the New England Revolution. I did all this before starting my own marketing firm, teaching at Boston College, getting published, and having many lifetimes of unique experiences. I am leaving out a bunch of stuff, but I am not writing this to give you my resume. I think most would agree that I have been blessed with dream jobs, yet none of the jobs I listed was the best job I ever had. That may sound crazy, but nonetheless, it is a very true statement.

At age 15, I was hanging out at the town beach at the end of the summer, and saw the lifeguards breaking down the beach for the season. They struggled as they began bringing in the docks because of the lack of bodies. I was just passing the time with nowhere to go, so I jumped in and helped them carry the docks to their winter resting place. I hustled as if they were paying me; I got sweaty and dirty and gave my all to the task.

After the beach was set for the off-season, the woman leading the efforts, Nancy from the Town’s Recreation Department, came over and thanked me, asked a few questions, and inquired, “Have you ever thought about being a lifeguard?” She wasn’t looking for an answer, and jumped right to the point, “You should apply for next summer.” That was it; we each went our separate ways, with me heading back to Boston and school.

The following May, I received a call from Nancy out of the blue, asking why I hadn’t applied for a lifeguard position; I responded that I didn’t have the necessary credentials. She said, “There is a program in two weeks; get them.” So I went to a camp for a few weeks to get certified and Nancy came through with the best job I ever had in my life. Talk about the most perfect job: getting paid to hang out at the beach. Sure there were duties, and teaching kids to swim, and making sure no one drowned, but for me, this job was absolutely perfect. I worked at the beach for three summers; to this day I talk about it as being the best job I ever had.

I also think about the lesson that getting that job taught me. If I didn’t get off the sidelines and help with taking in the docks, Nancy would have never noticed me or pushed me to go for the job. If I just sat back and took the attitude that their job had nothing to do with me, I would have never had that job, and perhaps I would have never approached getting those other dream jobs that I mentioned above.

Everyone is searching for that dream job. Many claim they will do whatever it takes to get it. I question whether they actually will. To get that dream job, you can’t just expect to walk into a meeting and have it handed to you. That would be nice, and maybe some are lucky enough to have that happen, but why would you leave it to chance? If you truly want something you have to go out and get it. At times, that means working hard for no direct reward or compensation. I may have had many dream jobs, but none of them were by accident. If you want it, go get it. That is the essence of Go Do.