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Living a dream

A big city isn’t the only place to find a dream job. Columbia has got a few up its sleeve, as well.
Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Ever since MU senior Mike Hall won his a contract with Sportscenter on ESPN’s reality TV series “Dream Job,” people all over Columbia have been talking about it. But you don’t have to go all the way to New York City to find a great job. We have found five dream jobs right here in Columbia. Dream on.

Mike Delger: Video Game Industry Representative

Delger is MU’s Xbox Representative, which means he put together an Xbox tournament at MU earlier this year. ESPN and Xbox wanted to market their games to college students. The main game in the tournament was ESPN College Hoops 2004. The winner got a free Xbox and five new games — as did Delger.

HOURS: “There were three, two-hour sessions a week leading up to the tournament of just of open play. Once the tournament started, I did a whole lot of scheduling. I put in 20 to 30 hours a week to set it up.”

AVERAGE DAY: “First I had to organize these things called open play, where I set up stations in the rec center. For three days a week, I let students come out and test out the games. Sign them up for the tournament, get the word out, show them the products. When the tournament came around, I had to organize the tournament, set up the bracketing, set up a place to hold it and get an allowance for food.”

BEST PART: “Seeing all the people, there was definitely a diverse group of people in there. You’ve got the guy who’s in the rec center all day playing basketball against the guy who’s in the dorm all day playing video games. It was a good way for different people from different parts of the campus to get a chance to meet on common ground.”

BIGGEST PERK: “I got a free Xbox and all five games for it. They gave me a small stipend and a lot of free merchandise.”

WORST PART: “People had never heard of the game before or never played the game, it had just come out and not many people knew how to play. To expect them to compete in a tournament and know how to play was pretty hard.”

Tadziu Kula: Bartender

Kula is a bartender at Harpo’s, a popular Columbia restaurant and bar. He began working there as a doorman during his freshman year at MU. Now, as a senior, he has worked his way through the ranks to become a bartender.

HOURS: “For the night shift you work 5 p.m. till about 2 a.m. You quit serving alcohol at 1 a.m., and at 1:30 a.m. the bar closes. It depends on how quickly you can kick everyone out. Usually weekends stay packed till the end, so you’ll get out of here 2 to 2:30 a.m. Football games, you’ll get out of here sometimes 3, 3:30, 4.”

AVERAGE DAY “First thing I do when I get here is clock in and count the money. I gotta make sure I clean up, make sure there’s nothing on the bar, I’ve got to change the water, so I can wash the cups, and pretty much make sure there’s not stuff all over the place. If you work mornings and you’re bartending you’ve gotta wait some tables, you gotta make sure all your tables are clean, or that you’ve got salt and pepper, mustard on them. You also have to make sure the bathrooms are clean too. You’ve got toilet paper and stuff like that.”

BEST PART: “Money on a good day. Another thing is, I wouldn’t say a family environment, but we all get along for the most part. We all know each other, there’s not a lot of new influx of people.”

BEST EXPERIENCE: “When we beat Nebraska, and they were cutting the post down, I was working upstairs. We had a bar open upstairs. You could just see the waves of people. We ran out of alcohol, and people were just begging for anything.”

WORST PART: “People usually aren’t a big problem, unless people get too drunk and you try to cut ’em off. That’s always a problem, like getting rid of someone who’s too drunk because you don’t want to be too mean because you know they are paying you for drinks, but yeah, that’s kind of a pain in the butt. But it’s mainly the long hours, especially when a lot of people are here and you’re not serving any drinks. You’re just standing there. You can’t really sit down or anything.”

Martha A. Townsend:Tenured professor

Townsend is an associate professor in the MU English department and the director of the MU Campus Writing Program. She earned her doctoral degree from Arizona State University in 1991.

HOURS: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week

AVERAGE DAY: “I don’t have an average day, and I think that is one of the things that makes me love being a professor so much. My day is so full with such a variety of things that no two have ever felt exactly alike, and that is part of the fun of this work.”

BEST PART: “The biggest thing is that I have tangible proof, tangible in so far as there’s a title on my business card that says associate professor instead of assistant professor; that is my proof that my colleagues at the university value what I do.”

BIGGEST PERK: “I get paid, by the state, to know things — and teach them to other people. Which means, of course, I have to learn them myself. So I am constantly learning. I live in an intellectual candy story.”

WORST PART: “The lack of time to reflect. It’s very easy to get very busy, full, jam-packed days, with classes, students, committee meetings of various kinds. The university is just a cornucopia of fun, exciting and inter

PREPARATION: “I made a very conscious choice as a graduate student to aim myself toward writing program administration. I decided to do that while I was still in grad school. And so when I was doing my job search, this job in Missouri was the plumb job on the market. And I got it! I still marvel that I got it.”

Brittany Smith AKA Brittany Burke: Disc Jockey

Smith, who goes by Brittany Burke while on the air, is a disc jockey who works for KTXY/106.9 FM. She often gets the opportunity to meet famous musicians as part of her job.

HOURS: “A normal shift is six hours. Lately I’ve been doing 7 p.m. to midnight. I used to do the overnights, which is midnight to 6 a.m. so I’ve gotten a mini-promotion, I think.”

AVERAGE DAY: “Normally, you get a bunch of information together, the show preps stuff about different artists, what’s going on in the community, and different TV shows. Just like pop culture stuff. You get a lot of information on the artists that you’re going to be playing during your shift. You introduce yourself at the top of every hour, and then you talk in between certain songs. You talk about what’s going on with the artist you’re about to play, or we always have promotional stuff going on.”

BEST PART: “I like getting into concerts for free. Normally, I can get into the Blue Note for free concerts. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of bands... There’s been times when I’ve used the fact that I work for a radio station as my leeway. I met Sum 41, and I had them do audio clips for my show, and the Black Eyed Peas did audio clips for my show. So it’s kinda cool to have superstars being like, ‘Listen to Brittany Burke.’”

BIGGEST PERK: “You get information first on artists. Because I’m so passionate about music, it’s cool to know what’s going on in pop culture before everyone else does. There are times when you get CDs before anybody else.”

WORST PART: “It’s a demanding job, and there are only so many people that work for the station. People go on vacations and stuff like that and you have to pick up slack. There are weekends where you just don’t sleep.”

PREPARATION: “Be very persistent, keep checking on it. If you can just take a tape recorder, or you have a microphone on your computer and you can just do those voice recorders on your computer and just burn that onto a CD, send that in.”

Sam Fleury: Sports Information Director

Fleury is the director of media relations for the men’s basketball and golf teams at MU. He says the biggest perk of his job is that he gets two free tickets to every MU sporting event.

HOURS: In basketball season: 80 to 90 hours per week. Off season: 40 to 50 per week.

AVERAGE DAY: “There really is no average day. When I come in in the morning, I check my e-mail for anyone looking for information. I read all the local papers. I look for headlines and any upcoming stories. I am in constant contact with all the basketball players, keeping them updated about any press that is coming out about them. I also work on notes: We do game notes for all of the games. I set up the players’ interviews and handle all statements from men’s basketball to the media. I also handle some stats, keeping them up-to-date. I go to practice every day and I keep the players in the loop on any press that is coming out. We have two to three conferences throughout the year on how to handle the media and how to answer questions. I’m kinda like the traffic cop for all interviews.”

BEST PART: “Working with the kids every day, and meeting people like reporters and donors. There is such an unbelievable opportunity to meet people from different walks of life. Also, the travel: I get to travel to cool places. I’ve been to China, the Virgin Islands, California and New York.”

BIGGEST PERK: “We have some pretty cool perks. I get two complimentary tickets to every athletic event, so you can bring in the family and they get to see what you do, which is really cool. Also, the gear: they outfit us in gear so that we can represent Missouri and get the Missouri brand out there.”

WORST PART: “The hours. I work a lot of hours, but it is still fun because I’m working on all different types of stuff. The travel is one of the best and worst things. Living out of a suitcase isn’t fun, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am the buffer between the players and coaches and the media. I’m sort of the middle man, and sometimes the sides want different things.”

PREPARATION: “I went to the University of Nebraska at Carney and graduated in 2000 with a major in sports communication. I was a summer intern here in 2000, and have been here ever since. I was looking for a school in the Big 12 since I went to Nebraska, and I knew that Missouri had a young and insightful group.”


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