7 Jobs I Wanted As A Kid, Thanks To '80s TV Shows

by Christine Burke
Originally Published: 
80s tv shows
Aaron Spelling Productions

I am a child of the ’80s, and as such, much of my decisions were colored by the quality programming I watched as a kid. I dreamed about taking a trip on the Love Boat bound for Fantasy Island. I imagined living in the Drummond’s New York City penthouse apartment with Arnold and Willis. I fantasized that one day I’d be a perfect amalgamation of Julia Sugarbaker and Murphy Brown when I grew up, Southern accents and shoulder pads and all.

Television was fantastically awful in the ’80s: the clothes, the plot lines, and the bad acting all came together for the perfect storm of entertainment. There were catfights, dramatic car chases, and men who wore more gold necklaces than Fort Knox has in its vault. At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old lady yelling at kids to get off my lawn, they just don’t make TV shows like they used to. It makes me sad.

What’s worse is that there are so many jobs that I wanted from ’80s TV shows, and it turns out those opportunities don’t even exist in the real world. Total bummer, right? There were just so many choices…

1. Talking Car Operator

Michael Knight’s entire job centered around driving a hot car that talked while driving fast to solve crimes. He Turbo-Boosted and blew stuff up, all the while answering to his black Trans-Am named KITT. And his home office was in a moving 18 wheeler. Where do I sign up for this, and do I get health benefits?


2. Cocktail-Swilling Rich Bitch Debutante

Alexis Colby wore beaded gowns and drank champagne like it was going out of style—before 9 a.m. She spoke her mind, wore millions in diamonds, and got to shove bitches who pissed her off into pools. Sounds like a dream job to me, considering the last PTA meeting I attended…


3. Stay-at-Home Mom Turned CIA Agent

In Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Kate Jackson played divorced mom of two Amanda King who has an unusual run in with a CIA operative. Not surprisingly, her encounter leads to a top CIA job with one very hot Scarecrow. Based on the number of times I’ve located missing socks in my laundry room, I’d say I’m very qualified to be a CIA Agent, and this ’80s job seems totally legit.


4. Badass in Shorts and Stilettos

Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we all wanted to be Daisy Duke. She used her feminine wiles to outsmart the cops, drove vintage cars like a badass, and had the best ’80s hair ever. Stilettos never stopped her from kicking anyone’s ass. I’m happy to report, though, that if this job interests you today, you are in luck. Thanks, Hooters, for reminding us that Daisy Duke lives on in infamy.


5. Spoiled Rich Kid

Shows in the ’80s allowed us to believe that if you were a kid, you could make your way in life solely on your rich parents’ dimes. Ricky Schroder lived the lap of luxury in Silver Spoons, thanks to his dad’s toy manufacturing business. He had the coolest toys, the best clothes, and the biggest bedroom ever, all because his dad was rich. This job may have been snatched up by the Hilton sisters and the Kardashian clan, but I’m still holding out for a management position.


6. Mystery Writer Who’s Friends Always Seemed to Die When She Was Visiting

OK, I admit, I did grow up and become a writer, and I like to think that Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote played a small part in my choice. From her pounding away on her old typewriter in the opening credits to the neatly tied-up murder mystery at the end, who didn’t want to become a famous writer from Maine? The only caveat is that, after a while, your dinner parties would start to suck because people would catch on that their days were numbered.


7. Mouthy, Scotch-Drinking Cop With Perfectly Coiffed Hair

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the ’80s shows that made me believe I could be a police officer when I grew up. Heather Locklear had perfect hair and could nail bad guys like a pro in T.J. Hooker. Her French braid was never askew as she pulled her gun and chased suspects next to William Shatner. And Cagney and Lacey were tough-talking lady detectives who kept their New York precinct humming with their crime-solving prowess. Chris Cagney fought crime by day and drank good Scotch by night. I could totally do that job.


So many job opportunities in ’80s TV shows seemed perfectly legit from my child’s eyes point of view. Whether it was being a landlord in a leisure suit, a cruise director on a ship filled with lovers, or a bar owner who knew everyone’s name, ’80s TV shows challenged us to aim high with our career aspirations. Since becoming a mom, I like to think I give Tony Danza a run for his housekeeping money around here. And I’m almost as good as Mr. Belvedere at serving dinner. Almost.

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