“Hey, so what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Remember that ridiculously stupid question your friends’ parents would ask every time you stayed over for dinner. It has to be programmed into most adult DNA because every kid at some point has come across that empty conversation. I know you’re a parent trying to level with 10-year-old Jacob, but c’mon, let’s think of some other stimulating exchanges that won’t end up with us staring down at the plate waiting for the next conversation to start.
Yeah, I was an observant child.
The reason that question bugged me so much was due to the fact that I always knew what I wanted to pursue and no adult would understand my point of view The dream then (and now if we’re being honest here) was to be the 5th member of Captain Planet. Don’t quite remember? Here’s a reminder.
I didn’t want to be a voice actor, but to form a real life group made up of Fire, Earth, Wind, Water, and yours truly, Heart. As one of the five eco-warriors, I would be in charge of saving the planet from environmental problems and attacks from foreign invaders. I’m still looking for a career that can top that one I dreamt of as a child.
Parents would laugh at that idea, with lines like, “Call me when that happens” or “I think it’s time to start thinking on a more practical level.”
Well, the tables have turned ladies and gentleman, and I have been waiting more than a decade to tell those parents that they are finally wrong. There is no greater joy than to announce that a NASA just opened up a position where you can get paid handsomely to protect humanity by protecting Earth from aliens.
According to the job listing, the chosen candidate will be “responsible for the leadership of NASA’s planetary protection capability, maintenance of planetary protection policies, and oversight of their implementation by NASA’s space flight missions.”
To be considered for the position of a Planetary Protection Officer (PPO), one must have an “advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection,” have experience participating in significant national space programs and “skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussions.”
Score one for Jacob. After finishing last week’s Rick and Morty, I think I can check off having basic knowledge in all three areas if asked on the application.
If working for Nasa and working with aliens isn’t cool enough, the salary speaks for itself. Landing this job would pay you six figures, ranging from $140-180k. Now do I have your attention?
On a side note, could you imagine how easy the next interview process would be if you landed this gig?
“So tell me about a time where you went above and beyond in your previous line of work, Mr. Wasserman?
“Well for a brief modern last semester I was hired by NASA to defend our human race from alien invasions. I also have great communication skills and a ‘can-do’ attitude!
And you thought your position as a social media consultant at a startup company where they serve cronuts along with a personal masseuse was impressive?
Yea, that’s an interviewee mic drop.
In all seriousness, this job posting is not as attractive as everyone is making it out to seem. NASA is hiring a PPO in order to make sure that any spacecraft we send out doesn’t stain any other worlds and that we prevent bringing back any harmful microbes that are unfamiliar to mankind. Still super important, but not as sexy as the first 95% of the article you just read.
Anyway, this will be the closest career where I can be a real life Planeteer. I won’t let it go by the waist side. Wish me luck!
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