There’s something you don’t know about me. I am – or I used to be – a news junkie. It started in high school, maybe a little earlier. My family has always paid attention to the news and politics. We’re informed citizens and we love our country and want what’s best for it. When I finally took government in high school, I was enthralled by politics and all the background work that’s done by civil servants. I thought about becoming a legislative assistant (I’ve wanted to write books all my life, but never really considered it a career, or even possible for someone like me). I thought about joining the FBI or CIA. I thought about entering the foreign service.
I wanted to do something to serve my country. I was considering law school because I wanted to do something in constitutional law or international law (love foreign politics). But the more I looked into jobs in government, the more I saw that I didn’t have the right personality for it. I’m a quiet person. I don’t kiss butt. I don’t schmooze. I’m a follower, not a leader. I’m an introvert. In short, I would have been miserable in all the jobs I was considering.
But then, in college, I stumbled across my dream job. I went to Texas A&M University. I majored in political science and history, and in the history building one day, I saw a posting asking for volunteers at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which happened to be on campus.
I signed up. And I loved the job. LOVED IT. I worked ten hours I week for free and I was doing the most menial jobs, photocopying newspaper articles, entering descriptions into the databases, I catalogued museum items. Very menial labor, but it was awesome. How could it not be? I was surrounded by history! I touched papers that had been in the White House. And if I became an archivist, I would have been involved in government without all the politicing and schmoozing (though there’s some of that in every job, I suppose). I would have been processing FOIA requests and helping researches learn more about the government. It would have been AWESOME.
So I have to admit that I am beyond excited that the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has opened in Dallas, less than an hour drive away from me. (Please do not take this as a sign of political affiliation. I would be just as excited if this was Clinton or Obama or any other president’s library.) I cannot wait to go.
Have you ever been to a presidential library? I’ve only been to the H. W. Bush Library, but it is such a neat experience for anyone with even the slightest interest in history or politics. You totally should go, whether you agree with the president’s policies or not. In fact, I’m going to put that on my bucket list. Before I’d die, I’d like to visit every single presidential library there is. This is totally doable at the moment. I think there are only thirteen of them so far.
Anyway, if I wasn’t an author, I would be an archivist. That’s why I got my Master’s in Library Science. It’s one of two degrees that would help me get that job (The other degree would have been a history degree. I decided on Library Science because it opened up more job possibilities.)
To be completely honest, if the perfect entry level job opened up at the new Bush library, I’d apply. I’m sure I wouldn’t get it. I applied for one back when I was in college and volunteering and was passed over, and that was ten years ago. I’m less qualified now than I was then. But I’d still have to try. Heck, if my family and life wasn’t in Dallas, I’d move to D. C. or some other location where I could get an archival job. It would be a lot less stressful than writing!
But I wouldn’t give up writing. This is the dream job I didn’t know it was possible to have, and I’m thankful I didn’t get hired at the H. W. Bush library when I applied. If I had, I wouldn’t have met my husband. And if I hadn’t met my husband, I wouldn’t have received the support and encouragement I needed to really pursue my dream of publishing a book. (Garth Brook’s is in my head. “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.”
That’s what’s on my mind today. I love all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the opening, and I can’t wait to visit the new presidential library soon.
I’m curious. What is your dream job? Do you have it? Are you pursuing it? Are you, like me, lucky enough to have two dream jobs?