How I Landed My Dream Job

I’ve worked at nonprofits, as a teacher (briefly), and producing legal newsletters. But it wasn’t until I thought about what I really wanted that I landed my dream job as an associate editor at VegNews magazine. I wanted to share this story because I know how hard it is do what we really want to do. It’s much easier to settle. Settle for a paycheck. Settle for a job we don’t mind, but don’t love.

I moved to LA to be with my then-fiancé, now husband from NYC. I hated LA at first. But it kicked my butt. I got a high-paying job at an education nonprofit, but I was miserable. After I quit, I didn’t know where to look next but one thing I did know was that I wasn’t going to work any more where I was unhappy. So I made a list of my dream jobs. When I was a kid, I wanted to be the editor-in-chief of People magazine. I made my mom a magazine for Mother’s Day when I was little. I loved reading magazines. So I enrolled in some basic magazine writing classes and started pitching. I found an editorial assistant position at a trade photography magazine, Rangefinder, and learned magazines from the ground up. Then we moved again. Brendan landed his dream job at Lucasfilms and I was once again confronted with what did I want to do. I freelanced and took the time to expand my portfolio. Then my dream job opened up. As soon as I saw the job listing on Craigslist for an associate editor at VegNews, I ran home and typed up a cover letter and sent my resume. I got an interview, then was asked to write up some ideas. I spent my entire weekend working on them. I had my friend Rita edit my work. I knew that every word mattered. When you’re applying for an editor position, it doesn’t look great when you don’t even edit your own work. So after a third interview, I landed the job. I love it. It’s hard work but every day I’m challenged, I’m writing, and I help put together a fantastic magazine.

I didn’t get here easily. I’m still writing and freelancing while balancing a full-time job. But I couldn’t ask for anything better.

I spent quite a few years post-college working at places that didn’t fulfill me. I had doubts. I dealt with rejections, and definitely made mistakes. The pinnacle moment for me happened when I was jobless, lonely, and new to LA. Brendan was on the WGA writers’ strike. We had no income, two cars, and were planning a wedding. I went out for a walk. I was frustrated. Then I saw an entire unopened package of paper sitting on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked up the ream of a paper. I saw it as a sign. I had to get back to writing. No matter what. A month later, I got my first magazine job and sold a pitch to Every Day with Rachael Ray.

It’s hard to be a writer. Some times it can be lonely. It takes discipline. I’ve cried over rejections and wanted to quit. But I hung in there. And so should you. Whatever your dream job is, work towards it and take it one step at a time. You can do it.

UPDATE (3/22/11): I’ve been so amazed how much this post has really struck a chord with people. I’ve gotten so many positive responses. So thank you for reading. I hope what I’ve said sticks with you and that you will continue to pursue your dreams no matter what.

15 Comments on “How I Landed My Dream Job

  1. Thanks for a really inspiring and heartfelt piece! I’m still in university studying political science and languages (French and German). I’ve gone through all sorts of phases from the early high school days of wanting to work with math, to deciding I’d be more suited to law, to working part time in a law firm and deciding that wasn’t for me, to trying my hand at a journalism course that didn’t sit well with me, to landing where I am now and thinking about where to go next. Maybe I’ll do my masters in the field, maybe I’ll move towards a translation career, maybe I’ll train to teach. How can I combine social justice, animal rights, travel, peace education, cooking, crafting and gardening into a career? I’m honestly not sure but I’m living in the moment and really enjoying it. I’ve seriously been thinking of how I can get kick-ass vegan ice cream and yoghurt on to Australian shelves, who better than me hey?

    Thanks for Veg News

    • Hi Mel! Thanks for reading. Continue following your passions in life, no matter what they are. And Australian vegans would love some kick-ass ice cream and yogurt. I wish you well as you continue your studies!

    • Hi Mike! Thanks so much for your kind comments. William is a talented photographer and his black-and-white images are quite stunning. Thanks for reading my Rangefinder article and I wish you continued success as you pursue your dream job.

  2. Great post, Jenn! I have to say, I really love the Tweeting directly from the blog feature you added. The site is looking fantastic.

  3. Wow, you are living the dream! I don’t even know you, and I am proud of you. I feel like you at the beginning of the story. I like my job ok, but it’s just a paycheck. At this point it literally means nothing to me outside of paying my mortgage. Moving isn’t an option right now unfortunately, but I have been satisfying my craving for more through my vegan blog, but I definitely hope to transition into something more meaningful soon! Thanks for sharing your inspirational story!

    • Thanks Sandy! I appreciate your sincere comments. You can figure it out. I worked for a paycheck for awhile. It takes time to figure out what you want. And congrats on being nearly vegan. Keep it up!

  4. Thanks for sharing. I really needed to read that today! Writing is so isolating sometimes, and the losses and rejections become so personal.
    Why do I do it then?? This post was a nice reminder: because I love it.

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