This seems to be a favorite among interviewers lately. I imagine myself answering something like, “You’re assuming I’d work at all,” a smug grin on my face. Of course, I wouldn’t really answer that way if I were attempting to snag a job because I think I know what employers are getting at here — and I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with determining whether you’re a flight risk if you win the lottery (but then again, who knows).
Interviewers ask all sorts of questions for all sorts of reasons, some of them stranger than others. I once interviewed for a position where the ability to think on one’s feet and react quickly was essential to the role’s success. I got asked lots of things I couldn’t have prepared for — things like what kind of animal best describes me and where I’d travel if I knew it was the last place I’d ever get to travel. These were snap judgment calls, and the interviewer left no extra time for commentary after I answered. I never asked, but if I had to guess, I’d say he probably didn’t really care what my answer was so much as whether I could come up with anything at all under pressure.
And in the case of questioning what your career path would be if you had no need to make money, I’d speculate that most interviewers who ask this question are doing so to see what you’re passionate about. What a person chooses to do when the only motivation is her natural desire can tell a lot about what drives her.
I can think of a few honest answers to this question. I’d love to help small businesses with solid ideas. I know it’s not always in the budget for a start-up to hire on a Marketing/PR team, but sometimes I see their weak web presence (if it exists at all), and it just makes me sad for what could have been. I have to pay the bills, so I can’t devote that kind of time to non-paying gigs, but I would if I could because there’s something so rewarding about putting your own stamp on a team’s success.
I’d also love to be one of those undercover bosses (like from the show on CBS). Seriously. How fun would that be?! Traveling around the world in different disguises, rewarding good employees and retraining the not-so-great to reach their potential (assuming nothing happened to warrant firing them).
But the one thing I’d choose if I had to choose one thing would be education. People who know me know my passion for education. I’ve been involved in several education initiatives in my community because I firmly stand behind the idea that knowledge is power. Who doesn’t want to empower people?!
Thinking about all the things I’d care enough to do without compensation, they all share that theme, which is interesting. Some people think of me first as a writer, but I really aspire to be an “empowerer,” a person who makes others’ dreams a reality (business/person/whatever). I’ve heard people say you shouldn’t spend your life making everyone else’s dreams come true, but in a way, that actually is my dream.
What about you? Is there a job you’d do even if you wouldn’t get paid for it?
Note: Excuse my manners. My links weren’t working, so I’ve removed them. I promise to re-link any text I’ve provided references for once I correct the problem. In the meantime, my apologies if anything here requires a Google for context 🙂 – J