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We sat down with our featured job seeker, Ingrid Mariano, and pressed her with some thought provoking questions regarding her search for her dream job, as well as some questions she might run into during her job hunt, to help prepare her for the road ahead.

You mentioned your on a mission to find your dream job. What do you consider your dream job?

My dream job–it’s such a an intangible concept.  After all my soul searching I’ve decided that my ‘dream job’ is one that incorporates the many “interests” I loved as a child, with the many qualities about my past jobs that I have discovered a passion for.  It has to be one that matches my strengths, on a team that I can rely on to assist with my weaknesses.

The values I have always gravitated to as a child:

  • Things that allow me to use my imagination.
  • Situations that allow me to be creative.
  • Science-y things, I have loved museums as long as I can remember.

Qualities I have loved about my past jobs:

  • Being in a position of Leadership.
  • Training people.
  • Events.  Getting to plan and execute them.
  • Tasks that seem impossible to achieve.  I love challenges.
  • Working with a team.
  • Speaking in public.
  • I am okay with change.  A lack of stringent guidelines is easier to navigate for me than an environment with concrete rules.

I know you’re going to ask me about my “Strengths” so we’ll address them shortly.

What is it about your dream job that excites and motivates you?

My dream job will make me feel like the work I do makes a difference and, in some way, enriches someone’s life.  It will make me feel challenged and positive.  It will allow me to channel my energy into a creative project.  It will make me wake up in the middle of the night, excited to jot down ideas so I don’t forget them.  It will make me take pride in what I do, and be excited to share that pride with everyone.

Why the desire to focus on finding your dream job, right now?

I have spent about 15 years working in the theme park industry.  My careers with Disney and Boomers!

Parks were so fulfilling I really did not feel like I was “working”.  I feel like I gave back every bit as much back to the companies as they gave to me.  (And that is saying a lot!)
I also spent 5 years in a field that made me feel like I didn’t know myself anymore. Pulling in to the parking lot at that job, I had a sense of dread wash over me before I even walked through the doors.

It was a sales-based job, and I felt like I was pressured by my superiors to SELL SELL SELL, even if many times I felt in my heart that those sales were unethical and without benefit to the client.

I later found that that sales nature was not just coming from my boss, but from the entire culture of that industry.  I tried to help my clients as best I could, but I often failed to meet my own goals because I just could not bring myself to act in a way that I believed was unethical toward my clients.

As much as I loved the Theme Park industry, I have a hard time going back because of the hours.  For the most part, a major theme park “never sleeps”.  There are always early and late shifts, and many overnight shifts for grad nights and many private parties.

I am not against working late shifts or operating a party.  In fact, in the field of event planning, I would be required to do just that.  Just, not every night.

During this time where my fiancé and I have discussed that we would like to start a family right after our wedding, that lifestyle would not be conducive to having a little one at home.  My dream job would be one with more “normal” hours, save the events themselves.

So now that I am back in the job hunt, I know that I never want to feel like I did again, when I was employed with the sales-based job.  I also know that I shine in a field where I can be creative and work closely with a team.

Are there any other lines of work you might consider?

Of course.  I just haven’t explored my options yet.

What qualities do you look for in a future employer?

I respect the same qualities in an employer as I do from a good friend.  Someone who is honest and ethical toward his/her team and the company’s clients.

I admire a leader who has a kind and compassionate nature.  This is never to be mistaken for someone who is a push-over.  The ability to discuss a difficult topic with someone in a way that is respectful and thoughtful is a skill that is most important to learn and nurture.

It is imperative that this future employer have a company culture that rewards and recognizes its team.  Employees who are happy will be exponentially productive when they feel they are appreciated.

Lastly, I admire an employer who isn’t afraid to take (well deliberated) chances.  A company cannot evolve when it is stagnant.

Would you consider part-time to full-time work, working as a contractor, or temp to hire, etc.?

I would always consider PT and FT work.  Having been laid off, I understand the importance of one of us (my fiancé or I) still having insurance. As a contractor, I shudder to think of what might happen to us as a family, if my fiancé were to be laid off from his job.

What are your best attributes/strengths?

  • I have a big-picture vision of my role on a team.
  • Communication to large groups, teams, vendors, volunteers, etc.
  • Good written communication skills.
  • Ability to be effective under high pressure situations.
  • Proactively find solutions to all possible ‘red flags’ or perceived problems.
  • I create a space of creativity personally, and with a team.

What makes you unique (different from other candidates)?

1.  Uncanny ability to read people.  I have hired or promoted some people my immediate manager thought were going to be a very “wrong fit.”  I have even been asked once, “Do you bet your job that your candidate is better than the person I favor for the position?”  I did not hesitate to say, “Absolutely.”  As an example, one such employee is someone who has made a legendary beneficial impact in turning around and  significantly improving an establishment. (Boomers! Parks)

2.  My ability to find very creative solutions to problems.  For example, when part of a park-wide Reward and Recognition task force at Disneyland, we were tasked to find an affordable and easily administered form of rewarding great guest service to Cast Members.  It was my idea to strategically place specialized vending machines throughout the park geared only to accept “Mousecar Moola” – custom tokens historically used at many family fun centers and arcades.  The machines had 5 tiers of rewards, taking 1 to 5 coins.  Cast Members could spend 1 coin for an “immediate gratification” prize worth $5 in the form of gift cards.  (Usually from Starbucks / Jamba Juice / Subway / fast food places etc.)  The 2nd tier featured $10 gift cards, etc. all the way to $25 cards for better places like Target or Amazon.com.  It was not easy to get a Mouscar Moola.  With Disney standards, Cast Members perform at a level way above high expectations.  There was a notable spike in guest compliments when this program launched.

3.  I was once paid a very nice compliment: “Your presence improves morale.  You’re laid back and fun, but still someone who commands respect.”  I like to think I have a good understanding of what makes an effective manager and team leader.

4.  It is easy for me to motivate people.  I can easily get a team to buy-in to a concept my manager or team asks me to present.  When Disney decided to present “Who Moved My Cheese” before a park-wide paradigm shift, I was one of the people they tasked with bringing this change to multiple classes of Cast Members.

To learn more about Ingrid’s job search, you can read her previous post for us, Thoughts on the Adventure of Job Hunting

We’ll be profiling Ingrid on the site throughout her search and welcome your tips, thoughts, experience, and support as she shares her journey on her mission to find her coveted dream job.

If you’re interested in being a future profiled job seeker, or if you want to get in touch with Ingrid to aid her search for her dream job,  contact us at: [email protected]

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