I’m a big fan of This American Life, the NPR radio show (and now TV show) which is consistently great week to week. The most recent episode, called “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” showcases stories of people with dream jobs that aren’t always so dreamy.
It was the kind of show that made me stay in my car while it was on, driving around the city so I could listen to the whole thing. The show featured stories on:
- Astronauts who spend more time in meetings and conference rooms than in space. Best fact? They get reimbursed for their mileage to and from Earth.
- John Hodgman (the “PC” in the Mac ads and Daily Show commentator) talks about the awkwardness of becoming a minor celebrity later in life.
- A man whose job is to convince lottery winners to take their winnings in bulk rather than monthly payments (and the sadness involved in working with these people)
- The famed cartographer for the Oregon Trail expedition in the early 19th century who was secretly miserable most of the time, and very bummed out about the “food on the road.”
- A bright UCLA college student who can’t pursue her dream job of becoming a doctor because of her status as an illegal immigrant.
Funny, engaging and heartbreaking in parts, it’s definitely worth a listen for anyone with a job, dreamy or otherwise (listen to it free from the This American Life Website or as a podcast on iTunes).