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May 17, 2010

How'd You Get That Job?

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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.

SENIOR DESIGN MANAGER, BARBIE
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."


BEN & JERRY'S FLAVOR CREATOR
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."


ROLLER COASTER ENGINEER
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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