A man in a safety vest poses with his back against a train and a clipboard in his hands.
Respondents let their imaginations wander as they ponder jobs outside their current field

People in our industry seem to be quite satisfied with their jobs, so to inspire more variety, this question was left wide open. In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.

Working On Fantasy Island

If I could have any job other than what I do now, I believe I would have enjoyed being a lawyer. Now I know what most of us think when we hear the word “lawyer.” I wouldn’t want to be that kind. My No. 1 focus would be helping people and doing good in the world. After all, there are already way too many of the other kind of lawyers out there. 

Jon Shepard
VK Inspections LLC
Mercer, Pennsylvania


I’ve always been fascinated with how progressive companies design job descriptions at all levels of their organization so that employees enjoy — and are more engaged in — their work. I suppose I’d like to be an organizational psychologist. I’d like to better understand the processes companies can use so that employees truly love what they do and create a positive, productive and learning company culture. If that didn’t work out, I wouldn’t mind being a cook at a Waffle House anywhere in Georgia.

Don Montroy
Bergquist Inc.
Rockford, Michigan

I’ve always wanted to be a Broadway singer. The hours and commitment are demanding, but the rewards would be tremendous.

Jessica Johnson
Asheville, North Carolina

If I could have any job in any industry, then I would love to be a test pilot. I’m probably too old, and I’m definitely not physically fit enough, but if I was, then it would be a blast to fly the wildest new planes being developed. 

Jason Soulon
Westmor Industries
Shawnee, Kansas

A professional athlete: NFL football player, a World Cup skier or a PGA golfer. If not one of those dream careers, then maybe a lead singer in a rock-and-roll band. Those were my childhood dreams, which obviously never came to fruition. At least I didn’t say video game designer, which is the choice of many current high school students. If I had the opportunity today — which means that I would need to win the lottery — I would like to own/manage a ski area, golf course, professional football team or soccer team at any level and create the most customer service-oriented, user-friendly, affordable, cost-effective experience focused on families. That’s after I invent the new time machine and go back to being 40 again. LOL.

Jerry Schimmel
P3 Propane Safety
Cumberland, Rhode Island

Well, if we are waving a magic wand, rolling back time and moving to fantasy island for a job, I would like to try my hand at working with marine life. If forced to stay here in the present, I guess I would like to try running a Christian retreat of some kind.

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas Inc.
Proctor, Vermont

Many years ago, a propane colleague’s wife mentioned to us that she was a volunteer who rocked babies at our Dayton Children’s Hospital. She said there was a great need for her service. That is the job I would love to do! In fact, after retirement I am planning on doing this — assuming the hospital can still use help in this area. 

Rosie Buschur
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

I’d like to be an engineer! Not the kind I am now, but the kind that drives a freight train. I had two uncles who worked for Santa Fe Railway, one who gave an O-scale train set to my brother and me and another who took me for a short ride on a yard train in Chicago, Illinois. Whether watching one at a crossing gate while looking for passing propane cars or hearing a horn off in the distance on a damp night, I’ve always been fascinated by those massive workhorses.

Bruce Swiecicki
National Propane Gas Association
Tinley Park, Illinois

I can’t wrap my head around a job I would want other than my own. I’m a weirdo! If I didn’t have this job, I would retire. I love what I do, and I have been blessed my entire working life with roles that I loved and learned from and have been blessed to work with so many great people. In fact, I have worked with many great people — some multiple times — and most are and continue to be lifelong friends.

Boyd H. McGathey
Parkville, Missouri

Lately I was thinking it would be fun to serve customers in an ice cream shop — customizing each order. In a cone or a cup, sundaes with whipped cream and lots of toppings. Also, ice cream is recession-proof, and everyone leaves with a smile. My favorite is cherry vanilla, aka Cherry Garcia.

Julie Johnson
Ted Johnson Propane
Baldwin Park, California

Don’t laugh — yes, do laugh! I would love to be a comedienne! I really enjoy a good comedy show and have really given serious thought about giving it a try. My grandmother was a joke teller, and I have been known to tell a few myself. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I love to make people laugh. I suppose if I’m going to pursue this career, I better get a move on! Propane is not always a laughing matter, but there are always smiles around our office.

Paula Moore
Blackburn Propane Service Inc.
Durant, Oklahoma

Another job I would like to have would be a sports talk radio host. During my commute to and from work, I always enjoy listening to sports talk and enjoy the debate and views that are given by different people. I also would enjoy the aspect of interviewing people who would come onto the show. Most of all, I thoroughly enjoy talking and debating about sports and top current events with colleagues and friends.

Sam Fung
Emerson Fisher LP Gas
McKinney, Texas

I’ve had two careers in my lifetime, and both of them have been heavy in customer service — one as a retail store owner and one in customer service for propane/fuel software. I love customer service, so I would have to center in another occupation for that. I believe my next favorite career would be a real estate agent. I love seeing other people’s homes, and I believe I would really enjoy connecting people who need to sell their home with someone who needs to buy a home. I’ve always been a middle person and been able to negotiate between people, so I believe this would be a great fit for me.

Susan Peterson
Rural Computer Consultants
Bird Island, Minnesota

When I was a young child, I always dreamed of being a teacher! I loved my elementary teachers and thought they could do anything. I didn’t change my mind until I was 16 and started coaching 8-year-old softball girls. I quickly realized it was a lot like herding cats and my level of patience didn’t allow for it.  

Tonya Crow
Bloomington, Illinois

As a railroad enthusiast, I may have liked to have been a locomotive engineer. Also, even though I never played an instrument, when I was younger, I would have liked to have been in a heavy metal rock-and-roll band. People actually thought I was in one back then. I delivered propane back in the late ‘80s, had long hair and sometimes more hairspray than you can shake a stick at.

Richard Strycharz Jr.
Walter’s Propane
Sunderland, Massachusetts

While I have enjoyed my career in the propane industry, if I could do something else, I would likely be a professional counselor. Over the years I have seen lots of people go through life without enjoyment. As a counselor, I would hope I could help them find joy and peace. I would also continue to write and perform music the rest of the time. That is my food for my soul. Nothing better than bringing other people joy and happiness. 

Ed Varney
Topline Management LLC
McKinney, Texas

I’ve always thought it would be incredibly interesting to be a forensic scientist. I’m not sure I have the stomach for it, but if I did, it would be a cool job. 

Lauren Clark
Bergquist Inc.
Toledo, Ohio

When asked what other job I would like to have had, I thought ‘I won’t limit myself — I can say I want to be an astronaut, or maybe even a Jedi knight.’ But, after going through a list of fantastical, would-be occupations, I came up with a fairly pedestrian one. With my combined love of history and writing and, in my latter years of education, the most sensible and, yes, enjoyable profession for me would be a history professor.

Leslie Woodward
Fairview Fittings
Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Dream Jobs

Several of our responders shared with me how truly excellent their real jobs are now. I’m not getting a message that anyone in this group is considering a new endeavor. However, they also shared in the fun of imagining their dream job. Thanks to the dreamers and my exceptional coworkers, who make my real job the favorite of my lengthy work life.


America's Spirit Runs on Propane