Submitted by Ginger Kuenzel, DLE ’12, Speaker, Author, Editor, Translator, Corporate Consultant, Adirondacks Enthusiast, Hague, NY/ Englewood, FL
As I think about setting goals and transitioning in 2021, I dream about creating my perfect job. After all, I’ve already created the perfect lifestyle, with summers on a mountain lake in the Adirondacks and winters in a small beach town in southwest Florida. Now I just need to find the perfect way to earn the income necessary to support my lifestyle.
Writing is my passion, but the corporate writing gigs—though well paid—aren’t all that exciting. Journalism, on the other hand, can be really fun. Okay, the pay generally sucks, but maybe I can find a balance between boring corporate gigs and fun magazine assignments.
There are a lot of exciting stories out there, just waiting to be written. Of course, all of them would require some on-site research. I’m thinking of topics such as what’s it like to live on a houseboat on the Seine? Or is it true that there are health benefits derived from soaking in Iceland’s hot springs? I could also imagine checking out what life is like in a country where the pandemic is already under control. New Zealand seems like a good choice for that.
Another assignment I would accept is to shadow Annie Leibowitz while she’s doing a photo shoot of Mick Jagger. Or how about a story about making money? I don’t mean by investing in stocks, starting a software company or selling hand-painted clothespins on Etsy. No, I’m talking about a piece on how the bills are actually designed, printed and put into circulation. My first-hand research in this case would involve performing acceptance testing in discerning shops and restaurants.
But I’m willing to consider other jobs outside the field of journalism. I once read about a guy who spent an entire summer hiking through the Adirondacks looking for the perfect evergreen to cut down for the National Christmas Tree. Or I recently saw a piece about a fellow who is starting up his own whiskey distillery and needs taste testers to help him perfect his product. I’d be willing to give either one of those gigs a try.
If I can’t get a writing job I love or become a taster, I think I would be good at developing product names. Imagine being paid to come up with ideas for nail polish colors like “I’m Not Really a Waitress!”
Where I see a real market for my creative naming skills, however, is within the paint industry. Just think about it. When I was contemplating painting my bedroom recently, I learned that I could choose from among 50 shades of grey. I kid you not! But somehow, names like “Fog” or “Steel” just didn’t excite me. I briefly considered a color called “The Elephant in the Room,” but decided that it might give me nightmares. After all, the prospect of a multi-ton Proboscidea peeling itself off the walls in the middle of the night can be a bit frightening. I finally decided to simply pick a hue I liked and give it my own catchy name. The name I settled on is “It’s a Grey Area.”
There are a few jobs, on the other hand, that don’t interest me in the least. Being a taste tester for pet food is one. Or a position as the intimacy coordinator for a steamy Netflix series also holds no appeal for me. You think I’m kidding? I’m not. Some things even I just can’t make up!