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What’s your dream job?


What's your dream job?During my 10 weeks leave of absence, I had several good sessions with my psychiatrist and one of the most helpful exercises I did was to figure out what I would like to do instead of what I was doing in my current job. If you don’t like your job/career, this is can help you figure out the next step. You can put down any dream job, but you would also need to figure out how to get there. I can say I want to be an astronaut, but it’s probably too late to get started on NASA’s astronaut training program.

Here is the list of what I came up with. Keep in mind that I’m planning to be a full time stay at home dad for a few years until baby RB40 goes off to school. After that, anything goes.

Food truck/cart – Portland has a vibrant food cart scene and I think I can add to this. My food cart would specialize in Northern Thai street food. I grew up in Chiang Mai and northern Thai food holds a special place in my heart (just typing this is making me salivate.) My aunts have been operating a food stall in a Chiang Mai market since before I was born and I just need to get some recipes from them. The main items on my menu would be Chiang Mai sausage, sticky rice, and Nam Prik Noom (spicy dipping salsa) for $6. A food cart costs anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or you can even rent one for $1,600/month. Renting might be a good idea to can see if my concept will work in Portland.

Teach Yoga, Tai chi, meditation – I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years now and sometimes I think it was the only thing that kept me sane at work. I’m good friends with my yoga teacher and she occasionally runs a teacher training program. It costs around $1,000 to go through this program and then I can start teaching yoga! I don’t know much about Tai Chi, but it’s something I can get into. I think helping others relax would be a great way to spend my time.

B&B or hostel in a nice tropical location – I would love to own and operate a B&B or hostel like the Backpackers Miyajima. We stayed there when we went to visit Japan in ’09 and it’s a neat little backpacker hostel. It would be a lot of fun to meet and talk to tourists. However, this would take a lot of investment which I’m not willing to do at this time. Mrs. RB40 also doesn’t want to move because she plans to continue working at her job for now. This might have to be put off for 16 years or so. Maybe I can get a part time job at a local B&B or hostel to see what it’s really like.

Foreign Service – I would love to join the US Foreign Service and see the world on uncle Sam’s dime. It would be great to have 2+ years to explore each foreign countries. Our usual 2 weeks trip isn’t enough to really get to know the place. Mrs. RB40 also likes this idea. In fact we took the Foreign Service exam about 7 years ago, but we both failed. 🙁 The first step toward passing the test is to get up to speed on world events. Subscribe to the economist and read judiciously.

okonomiyaki restaurant US portlandOkonomiyaki restaurant near Portland State University – I’m 99% sure this would be a great success in Portland. There are a bunch of Japanese exchange students at PSU and I’m sure other students would love it also. The ideal okonomiyaki joint would be festive and sell a lot of beer. This restaurant would require a lot of investment and a lengthy liquor license application process, though. Each table would need a teppanyaki cook top (you cook your own) and I’m not sure if that would be a good fit for the law suit happy clutzs here in the USA. It probably needs at least $50,000 to get going. That’s a lot of $10 okonomiyaki to sell…

As you can see, my ideas tend toward leisure activities. I’ll keep working on the ideas over the next 3 years and see where they take us. Of course, I will continue to work on this site and explore other online opportunities as well. If you don’t like your job, I would highly recommend doing this thought exercise. It will show you that you have other options and may help you quit your job like I did.

Have you thought about your dream job or even possible job? Share some of them with us.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Alexa July 18, 2012, 5:18 am

    Love the B&B/hostel idea! One reason I like staying at hostels is because you do get to meet people from different places. I also like the US Foreign Service idea…both are things I will keep in mind for myself.

    Congats on giving your 2 weeks!

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 1:58 pm

      It’s so much more fun staying in a hostel. People are a lot more open and friendly than in a regular hotel. Thanks!

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor July 18, 2012, 6:18 am

    Tai chi is wonderful Joe, I highly recommend it. I took classes for a couple of years when I was facing some health challenges, and it worked wonders for me. I couple it with qigong–awesome stuff.

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:00 pm

      I haven’t taken Tai chi, but I tried Y dan. It’s even slower than Tai Chi and I like it. I want to try qigong too. I should put that on my to do list. Maybe I can just start with a video from the library.

  • Michelle July 18, 2012, 6:24 am

    My friend has a food truck job for the summer when he’s not teaching. He loves it! I would like to do something which allows me to travel (AKA I’ve always wanted to be a National Geographic photographer).

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:02 pm

      That’s a great idea. Are you a good photographer? That’s a pretty demanding job right, but maybe you can start out freelancing. 🙂

  • Mr. Everyday Dollar July 18, 2012, 7:35 am

    Great list! When thinking about what I want to do in the future, after early retirement, I struggle with the idea of turning hobbies into jobs lest they lose the enjoyment I get from them.

    I think that if I do multiple side hustles, as in not any one thing for 40 hours a week, it will be fine.

    I have a pilot license, so I could pursue that as a side hustle, doing aerial photography.

    And I have been thinking about Yoga certification. I like the idea of yoga as a side hustle because I can teach a class or two a week, make a little money, and then have the ability to take free yoga classes at the studio.

    I like the idea of Foreign Service too. I have thought about in the future doing a home exchange for a year with a family from a foreign country.

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:05 pm

      Multiple side hustles is a good idea. I’m doing that now by being a landlord and blogging in addition to my new full time job of being a stay at home dad. 🙂 Once the kid goes off to school, I’ll have a lot more time to try something else.
      You can also try Peace Corp. It’s demanding, but it’s only 2 years and it’s an experience of a lifetime.
      My friends went to live in Italy for a year and rented out their home. They had a great time.

  • [email protected]&More July 18, 2012, 8:00 am

    I have no idea. That is the hardest part for me. I guess I would like being a business owner but what the business would do is the tough part. I guess my blog is my first business even if it is just a side business…

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:06 pm

      Blogging is a great first business because it opens up your creativity. I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina July 18, 2012, 8:53 am

    These are really cool ideas!
    The food truck part is making my mouth salivate!
    I only know one person who has a successful side business for fun. He is a Media Director at a big company, and is a freelance videographer on the side, as well as builds model airplanes.

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:07 pm

      Wow, your friend sounds like a busy guy. 😉

  • [email protected] July 18, 2012, 9:21 am

    I think that owning a Bed-n-Breakfast in a tropical location would be awesome! That would be my dream job…although it would be really hard to move away from my kids…..

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:07 pm

      Once the kid goes off to college, we’ll be ready to go. 🙂

  • Squeezer @Personal Finance Success July 18, 2012, 10:56 am

    Mine would be to just retire and live off of dividend paying income

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:08 pm

      Are you sure? What will you do to fill the time?

      • Squeezer @Personal Finance Success July 20, 2012, 8:30 am

        Relax at the beach with margaritas!

  • krantcents July 18, 2012, 11:34 am

    Good first steps! Next, you need to delve into it a little further because restaurants and food in general is very risky. It is also very profitable if it succeeds! One of my top dream jobs is a writer. I guess I am doing it now. BTW, one was a Playboy photographer and the other was a Yacht salesman. I like the freedom of writing, so that is one of the reasons I picked that. At this stage of my life, I only want something part time.

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:09 pm

      Yes, the whole food business is risky. The key is to keep cost low and if you can’t do that, you’ll have to be very successful. Working in a part time job that you like is a great way to spend retirement.

  • Budget and the Beach July 18, 2012, 12:14 pm

    I think I would be a health and wellness coach. I like the idea of preventive medicine instead of the way we currently operate which is just give out pills cover up the problem. I like the idea of a yoga studio!

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 2:11 pm

      That’s a great idea. You’ll probably have to work at a big company though. The health and wellness coach at my corporation seems to run up against the wall a lot. People are too set in their way and it’s hard to change.

  • Sam July 18, 2012, 8:02 pm

    I considered the FS before. It is a fantastic lifestyle.

    However, without a political appointee, you will start at the bottom at around $40,000.

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 10:56 pm

      If we join the US foreign service, money wouldn’t be a big factor. Traveling and seeing the world more are the goals. If they send me to places where I don’t want to go, I’ll just quit. 🙂
      I would consider Peace Corp. too when we are both retired.

      • Financial Samurai July 19, 2012, 8:43 am

        Sounds good. How long was the FS test, and what is the failing / passing mark?

        Is it that brutally difficult? Heard it’s written + oral interview.

        • retirebyforty July 19, 2012, 8:51 am

          We failed the written test. We didn’t study at all and that’s not the way to go.
          I’ll study more the next time we try.

  • TM @ Young and Thrifty July 18, 2012, 8:10 pm

    It’s funny I’m actually in my dream job in some warped way. I am a public school teacher and I really like working with kids and trying bring out their best potential by helping them. What I hate is the ridiculous politics that go with the job. I would love to start my own private school one day!

    • retirebyforty July 18, 2012, 10:56 pm

      That’s great! Starting a private school sounds like a huge amount of work. Good luck!

  • jefferson July 19, 2012, 7:50 am

    I *LOVE* the idea of running a B&B in a tropical location.. That would be an amazing life.
    For me, my options feel a bit limited with 3 small kids in tow. But I would certainly love to have my own company and to one day escape the corporate grind.

    • retirebyforty July 19, 2012, 8:50 am

      3 kids are tough! That’s why I’ll most likely put this off until our kid goes off to college. On the other hand, my parents moved to the US (3 kids too) with no job. I guess it depends on how much risk you’re willing to take.

  • Gekko July 19, 2012, 10:38 am

    Dream job for me and my wife is to buy a small restaurant in Greece were to prepare good food for the clients, serve good wine and play some Greek music to customers. To wake up in the morning and smell the Mediterranean air is just Heaven. Until then, I have to work from 9am to God knows when in a big corporate company 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 19, 2012, 11:23 pm

      Wow, that’s a great idea. Let me know when you have a place and I’ll be sure to visit. 🙂

  • DaveL July 19, 2012, 6:45 pm

    Looks like you have a good idea of what you want to do! My dads motel on the lake is doing really well for him just recently buying it. He is so much happier doing that than his old job. Im sure no matter what you pick it will be an exciting new experience 10x better than your old job and Baby Rb40 will be there to help 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 19, 2012, 11:24 pm

      It’s great to hear about your dad’s motel. I’ll PM you for more info. 🙂

  • CF July 20, 2012, 9:26 am

    I once interviewed for what I thought was my dream job – coordinating and editing an online science newsletter/website. I would have been able to research and write articles and perhaps one day becoming Editor. They really liked me too and I think they would have hired me. The pay? $30k. I declined.

    Even a dream job is still a job. If having my dream job means I can’t have money to do the things in life that are important to me (and definitely more important to me than work) than it is not worth it for me. So now I content myself with doing freelance writing in my spare time for various news outlets while working in a career that’s actually well paying.

    • retirebyforty July 21, 2012, 11:23 am

      That’s why it’s easier to be mostly financial independent first and then find your dream job. 🙂
      Good luck!

  • Poor Student July 20, 2012, 2:01 pm

    My dream job is to be a personal trainer. If I achieve financial independence that is one job I will look at. The dream even further off than that would be to start and own my own gym.

    Looking at your jobs though I always thought chip stands were a great idea, the only thing is that you have to cook at high temperatures in a small space and only during hot weather, that could be tough.

    • retirebyforty July 21, 2012, 11:26 am

      I think personal training would be a great job too. That will give you (me) a chance to work out through out the day. We have a frite cart in Portland that only opens at night 8pm until 3am. They are pretty good too. 🙂

  • funancials July 20, 2012, 8:10 pm

    I think you have a lot of good ideas here (and not yet here). I could definitely see you starting a food cart, find what sort of food people prefer, then start a restaurant with what you’ve learned from the food cart.

  • Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter July 21, 2012, 9:23 am

    Great list. I love the idea of a hostel too. We use them a lot and are always really happy with our experience. I think being a yoga teacher would be cool too.

    I still have such diverse interests that if I was to write a post it would be pages long. I do love the idea of getting paid to travel and write about who I meet and what I learn.

    • retirebyforty July 21, 2012, 11:28 am

      I like staying at a hostel much more than a regular hotels. It’s a lot easier to meet people in the common room and most people are eager to talk and share their stories.

  • Broke Professionals July 22, 2012, 10:37 am

    What a great topic! My husband, like you, would LOVE to do a food truck, but those haven’t really caught fire in our area yet (maybe a sign it WOULD be a good investment). I’d love to teach yoga, but I doubt I could find the time to do the 250 training hours with two small kids. We’d BOTH love to go back to school… but being a full-time student isn’t exactly a job 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 22, 2012, 11:21 pm

      Portland has a huge food cart scene. Most of our carts are stationary in a parking lot so it’s semi permanent.
      You’re right about the yoga teacher program. I don’t think I could do it until baby RB40 goes off to school.

  • Matt January 2, 2018, 2:54 am

    I have two dream jobs already:-
    1) Firefighter – we get to break the speed limit, park illegally and be general heroes.
    2) Property investor. The margins start small but the numbers get huge. Eventually….

    • retirebyforty January 2, 2018, 8:38 am

      That’s great! Sounds like you’re living the dream. Good luck with property investing. That’s a proven way to build wealth.

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