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May 17, 2010

How'd You Get That Job?

woman at work

Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Jupiter Images

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Not everybody's a clock-punching cube jockey. Meet three women with oh-my-God careers.

Lilly Martinez, 32
Los Angeles, CA

  • Unofficial job description: "I design outfits for Barbie dolls. Depending on the doll — whether she's a doctor, princess, or fashionista — I do a lot of research to provide realistic interpretations of those looks."
  • How I got the gig: "I was studying fashion in Los Angeles when two Barbie designers came to one of my classes. A friend convinced me to show them my sketchbook, and three days later, they offered me a job."
  • Jealous much? "I'm basically designing toys, so I get to play all day. Sometimes I even find myself brushing or braiding Barbie's hair in meetings."
  • Cocktail-party chatter: "As soon as I tell someone that I'm a Barbie designer, the conversation turns into a trip down memory lane. It's really cute to see grown women turn into little girls when they speak of Barbie. Even guys have a story — they tell me about how their sisters had the whole Barbie setup."

Kirsten Schimoler, 23
Burlington, VT

  • Unofficial job description: "I'm a modern-day Willy Wonka without the Oompa-Loompas."
  • How I got the gig: "I graduated from Cornell with a degree in food science and worked at Unilever developing food for Bertolli. When I heard that Ben & Jerry's was hiring, I threw my hat in the ring. The fact that I grew up down the road from the original Ben & Jerry's factory may have been my strongest credential."
  • Jealous much? "I go on food tours in the name of research and run around cities eating as many desserts as possible. Did I mention that we get to take home three pints a day? That always makes my friends and family really happy."
  • Cocktail-party chatter: "People always say, 'How are you not 500 pounds?' They also share new flavor ideas or complain about how we stopped making their favorite flavor."

Sarah Gentry, 26
Logan, UT

  • Unofficial job description: "I design roller coasters. One of the rides I'm working on is the Ring Racer, for a park in Germany; it goes from zero to 135 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. If all goes as planned, it will be the fastest coaster in the world."
  • How I got the gig: "I studied structural engineering in college, then moved to Utah. An opportunity opened up at S&S Worldwide, one of a handful of companies in the world that actually makes roller coasters."
  • Jealous much? "We often do on-site visits to theme parks to see our projects firsthand — which means I get paid to ride roller coasters. The last one I tested had a launch of 60 miles per hour. I'm not crazy about speed, but as long as I'm strapped in, I'm OK."
  • Cocktail-party chatter: "People's eyes light up when I tell them what I do. They'll say, 'Wow, that must be the dream job.' Then I tell them it's really all about physics and working with g-forces. It's a lot of math."

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