I was telling a friend the other day how funny it was that I almost became a Secret Service Agent once (he didn’t believe me, but it’s totally true!), and I thought it might be fun to list out all the jobs I can remember doing over my lifetime :) Maybe it’ll spark some good ideas for any of you looking for a change in employment?
Here’s what I’ve been getting into over the years, along with pay:
Jobs Growing Up:
- Babysitter ($5/hour) — This was the first job I ever remember doing, and I did it all across the country and even into Korea when we lived there. Which is pretty weird now thinking about it cuz I was only like 13-17 back then and didn’t have a CLUE about watching kids, nonetheless babies! I must have forgotten all that I knew back then though cuz there’s no way parents would hire someone they didn’t trust, right? I know I’m not! :)
- Lawn Cutter ($5-$20/lawn) — Okay I lied, THIS is the first thing I remember doing I think… But it only netted like $5 bucks a lawn unless I got lucky and the Jacksons happened to need my services at the time. That brought in a cool $20 a pop and it was like hitting the jackpot!! They were always looking out for us young hustlers ;)
- Pet Watcher/Walker ($10/day?) — This was one of the easiest and most fun ones ;) You go in once in the morning and afternoon and evening, give them some food and clean up any messes/poo/pee (when dealing with cats), and then you go on a nice walk! The idea of getting PAID for it was just icing on the cake, haha… except for when it rained or snowed, Ugh.
- Camp Counselor ($4.75/hour?)— My first “real” job that didn’t have to do with babies or pets! Haha… For an entire Summer I worked as a camp counselor/watcher of kids, and played games with them all day long and went to the pool and parks/etc. It was awesome :) And I totally fit in being a big kid myself, haha…
- Commissary Vendor Stocker ($800/mo) — When we lived overseas I had a best friend who was ALLLLways trying to make business deals and hustle every which way he went. And when our parents told us to get a job for the Summer, of course we had to do it together and have some fun with it ;) So my friend worked out a deal with the manager of the commissary there (which is like a grocery store for military families, only a LOT cheaper than any others for the rest of the world!) and snagged us a late-night stocking gig where we could knock it out together, as a team, rather than hiring 1 full-time person to do it like the position originally required ;) And all Summer we worked only 4 hours a day instead of 8, and everyone was happy! Man that was a killer partnership… loved every day of it. Always more fun to get work done with close friends!
- Day Care Associate ($6/hour) — I RULED that place for like 6 weeks until someone found out I wasn’t 18 and thus couldn’t be in charge of kids by myself (legally). I was then terminated on the spot even though they KNEW I was only 16 when they hired me!! I was so pissed off… those kids loved me, and I loved them right back :( One of the worst experiences of my “working life” to date.
- Bagel Maker($6.25?/hour) — For a hot week I worked at a bagel shop cooking up bagels until I realized the owners had totally lied to me… I had been hired on to work the day shift in front of the counter helping customers and ringing them up, only to be assigned for 6 months to the BACK room dealing with food *instead* of customers AND working the early shift starting at 4 a.m. Needless to say I was outta there pretty quick, those turds…
- Bowling Alley Attendant ($7/hour) — This was one of my all-time favorites :) From like 10pm until 2am I was in charge of giving everyone their shoes and lanes for Cosmic Bowling – remember that? When all the lights go out and they turn on the black lights and dance music?? Oh man that place was a riot… didn’t pay much, but the atmosphere was great :)
- Prep Cook ($7/hour) — At the same time as working the bowling alley, I’d hit up a local Italian restaurant to help them get their food ready for the evening rushes. Particularly their bread sticks which later gave me the name “Bread stick Boy” haha… I’d do this right after school from like 5pm-9pm, and then shoot right on over to Cosmic Bowling – it was great.
Jobs During College:
- Book Store associate ($7-$8/hour) — My first job at college, and one I did throughout my entire 4 years there. One of the BEST ways to network and meet people! In particular girls, *ahem* ;) Everyone needs books for their classes, right? And unless you wanted to spend a good 45 mins finding them throughout the bazillions of stacks in the store, you needed my help to find them a lot quicker, haha…
- Gadzooks worker ($6.75/hour?) — Remember that store? If you were a raver/goth/punk, it was THE place to get your accessories :) As well as Halloween costumes during season… I actually got hired on the spot when I walked in, and when asked why the manager goes, “Because you look like you do drugs.” That’s a first! I mean yeah – I did look like a druggie with my blue hair and Jnco jeans, but that’s why you hire me?? Pretty funny… Btw, a little known fact: I’ve never touched anything outside of alcohol :)
- 7-Eleven sandwich maker ($8/hour) — Another odd gig that I had and lasted only about a month, haha… But when you’re locked in a big freezer for 8 hours a day putting together breakfast and lunch sandwiches all over the place, it tends to get old FAST. And it’s not fun going from freezing temperatures right into 100 degree sweltering heat within a matter of seconds either, I couldn’t take it. My brother lasted all Summer though :)
- Construction Site Trash Hauler ($8-12/hour) — This one I did on and off during all 4 years of college breaks as it was pretty much the easiest job to snag – there was always a need for it. And all it entailed was picking up and moving debris from the site to the large trash bins back and forth all day long… Super physical, but super easy.
- Timeshare Sales Rep ($400-$800 a sale) — You know those deals where you have to go take a tour somewhere to get a free dinner/gift certificate/prize? Well, I was that person to give you that tour, and then at the end would ask you if you wanted to buy one of the timeshares for yourself :) And if you said no, you’d then get about 3 other people trying to close you on the deal soon after (my boss, his boss, and his boss). But eventually you would get your prize, haha… What a racket…I did this for a whole Summer making a couple thousand dollars super easily, but in the end realized sales just wasn’t for me. I always felt real icky at the end of each day.
- Stamp Factory Drone ($10/hour) — On the Summers I’d do temp work and got myself into alllll kinds of gigs as you’ll soon see below :) This one in particular was at a literal stamp factory where 100 of us were on assembly lines making sure all the stamps were coming out and packaged okay. It was just as exciting as it sounds, haha… and the craziest part of all was that we weren’t allowed to wear ANY clothes that had pockets in them as you could easily steal stuff! And any backpacks/purses? They had to be 100% see-through or they didn’t make it through the security check point (yup, we had those too). Apparently there’s a huge underground black market for stamps. And if you think about it, you can easily put like $1,000 worth into your pockets pretty easily, maybe even $10,000. I remember once looking at a pallet of them and my manager telling me that was worth $1 million dollars! So weird. Oh, and you also had to work 12 hours shifts from 6am-6pm which took some getting used to. But then you also got Fridays off :)
- Photographer ($0 – $10/shot) — My girlfriend at the time was snapping pics for our college paper, so one day I cam alone with her to just hang out cuz I was bored, and a couple days later I randomly had my first assignment :) It was pretty cool (and unexpected). They’d tell you want events were going around campus that week, hand you a camera, and then you’d volunteer to cover one of the events… And after your first handful, you started getting paid for the ones they ran! Which was doubly cool since you’d also have your name in the paper too :)
- Kid Shelter Volunteer ($0) — I did this once a week and all it entailed was “being a kid” for a few hours and playing with all of them – it was awesome :) And had it paid, I probably would have done it more as a real job!
- Assistant Photo Editor ($50/issue) — After a semester of snapping pics as a photographer, the school paper promoted me to Assistant Photo Editor which gave me more money and a better line item on the ol’ resume ;) Though it required way more of my time before every paper got published.
- Photo Editor ($100/issue?) — Another semester after that I become the editor! Which doubled my time again there, along with many other responsibilities, but also came with more pay and excitement. I even got to meet a lot of celebrities and musicians that would come through during concerts too and take their pictures! It was awesome.
- Assistant Photo Editor Intern ($10/hour) — I then moved to NYC during my last Summer in college to try and see what this field would be like in the “real world,” and quickly found out it’s not the same ;) Not only is everything super fast-paced up there, but you’re surrounded by INSANELY smart people all around you and it’s hard to stay at the top unless you’re incredibly motivated and passionate. Which I only had 1/2 of (the motivated part). But all in all it was a great experience, and it’s cool to now say I worked for a magazine at one point :)
Jobs After College:
- Boat Rental Worker ($10/hour) — After college I had a hard time finding the right fit for me because I only wanted to do my *perfect* job (which I never found out what that even looked like!), so I went back into my temp’ing habits and landed a few higher paying (and fun) gigs my first Summer out. And one of them entailed renting out speed boats and pontoons on our local lake from 6 am to 4pm on the weekends :) It was great to be out in the sun! (But also horrible to wake up so early after a night of Friday or Saturday night partying, d’oh!)
- Totaled Car Washer ($5/car) — Then during the week, a buddy and I would drive out to a car auction lot about 60-70 miles away and vacuum/wash about 50 demolished cars a day that were soon to be put up for auction (I guess for the parts?). It wasn’t that glamorous at all, but again it was nice to be outside during the Summer months and blaring music while doing something that had an easy start and finish and where you could see your immediate results. And if you were lucky, you’d also find some pretty cool stuff left in cars too that we were allowed to take (like cd players, spare change, and even jewelry sometimes). As long as those cars were washed, everyone was happy. And if you’re wondering WHY the heck you’d even clean out totaled cars like that, well, it was because they’d sell for about $300-$400 MORE on average at the auction – just ‘cuz they were shinier! Even if there was blood or dirt all over the inside, bleh… (Another interesting note: At the end of the Summer my friend asked me if I wanted to buy the car washing “business” from him and do it full-time myself for full pay ($15/car), but ultimately I passed on it because I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do long term, esp. over the winter. He later sold it to someone else and put all his money into some hair care business for men – the bald kinds ;))
- Dish Washer ($11/hour) — After washing cars throughout the day, I’d then scoot my tail over to Applebee’s and get even MORE wet washing dishes for them all night long ;) And as odd as it sounds (especially since I had my college degree by then!) it may have been one of my favorite part-time gigs! You got to meet everyone who worked there on a rotational basis, and spray water all over the place while jamming out to some nice tunes! And the funniest part was that it paid MORE than most of the servers or other people back there too! Which I always thought about whenever they’d belittle me or give me a hard time for whatever reason ;) If you’re looking for respect, that gig was def. not the one to go after, haha…
- Old Navy Associate ($9/hour) — After a few months of washing everything I could get paid for and the boat business drying up, a friend of mine convinced me to work with him over at Old Navy which I thought would be a nice change of pace. It would be a full-time job with benefits (what are those??), and I could condense all my 3 gigs into 1 main one there at the store alongside my friend. I quickly snapped it up and it soon became my newest favorite job so far :) It was nice to stay so dry the whole time while ALSO meeting a lot of new and cool people who were forever coming in and out of the store all week. I even used it as a springboard to finally move back to NYC for good in hopes of chasing my dreams of doing who-knows-what up there, and xfered over. I only lasted about 6 months after that ;)
- TV Show PA (Production Assistant) ($0) — This one might tied for not only my favorite “real world” experience, but also the most ANNOYING, haha… I took on the job while trying to figure out what, exactly, I wanted to do with my life (on top of working at Old Navy for pay), and it pretty much entailed me being the bitch to anyone and everyone on the show – talent included. Which ranged anywhere from picking up coffees in the morning, to being the personal assistant to the star and making sure that she a) woke up on time and b) was as happy as she could possibly be during filming. Which sometimes meant me listening to all her boy problems and telling her everything was going to be okay, haha… which she’d then hug me in thanks, only to bitch me out a few hours later for something that was probably not even my fault ;) That’s show business for you! (I don’t want to rat out any stars or shows here, but I will say they were pretty minor ones and that the show was produced by the same people at SNL which was pretty neat to find out)
- Travel Agent ($10/hour) — Once I learned the entertainment biz wasn’t for me, I decided I wanted to do something that involved travel so I could continue exploring the world while at the same time getting paid for it (I come from a military background, so I was used to moving every 2 years anyways). It wasn’t until I completed a travel agent course AND got hired on by that same company that trained me, that I realized you actually DON’T get to travel as much as you think you would being a travel agent :( You book things for OTHER PEOPLE to go exploring! Haha… but as luck would have it, my boss had a daughter who worked for Continental Airlines and said I needed to go over there instead so I *could* take advantage of the travel perks. So I did :)
- Airline Ticket Agent ($9/hour) — I was a ticket agent/un-titled assistant manager for the next 12 months, and all I did was fly all over the place during my time off and help out customers while on the clock. It was awesome (though I never had any money once I got to all these fancy places! Haha…). And then I got laid off. This was circa 2002 after 9/11, and apparently Continental was hiring way too many people than they should have been, and thus my group was cut as we were the last ones to be hired (everything in the airline industry has to do with senority, which I think is ridiculous. Yes, you should get priority over others if you’ve been working there for a while, but you should also be GOOD AT YOUR JOB too. And I can tell you that 70% of my colleagues absolutely blew and were only employed because of their senority… Which is why, in my opinion, the airlines have such a high dissatisfaction among customers – they aren’t kept on due to performance!)
- Customer Service Rep ($28,000/year) — After I got laid off, I decided it was time to come home to the DC area and I picked up my first salaried job at E*Trade Financial where I helped customers over the phone. It wasn’t as exciting as traveling the world for basically free, but it did pay better and was more “appropriate” according to my parents ;) It was also the very first job I had that was a 9-5 desk type of place which was a nice change from standing up the whole time…
- Customer Service Assistant Manager ($32,000/year) — After a year I got promoted to assistant manager of one of the departments there, only to have that entire department canned due to internal restructuring 2 months later – d’oh! But by that time I was also dabbling in real estate stuff, and decided to go full-fledge into that at that point ;)
- Realtor ($3,000+++++/transaction) — For the next 3 months I became a realtor and helped my 3 clients buy their first 3 homes which my boss said was pretty good being a newbie in the field. I saw how much opportunity there was to make some good money there (I had made $3,000-$6,000 per transaction, and my colleagues were making upwards of $10k-$20k!) but the only problem was that I was NOT a good self-motivator, and it was way too weird to set your own hours and have all your money become commission-based only. I eventually gave it up while I was “at the top” and decided it wasn’t for me (there seems to be a trend here :))
- Customer Service Rep at a Startup ($35,000/year) — I then answered a job opportunity on Craigslist and jumped right into my very first startup company and realized there was this whole other world out there in the employment field. Places where you can dress and style your hair however you want, while at the same time having a MUCH bigger impact on the company! You’d have to do a lot more work, and be pretty flexible in other areas of the job too, but the notion of working with only 4 or 5 people over hundreds was such a huge change for me. And one I loved like no other (no more corporate policies, woo!).
- Customer Service Manager ($45,000/year) — After 6 months I was promoted to manager of the department (i.e. just me and 1 other person), and I was in charge of growing it out and making sure all was well as the company itself grew. This lasted about a year until they tried moving me to another area when they thought my skills could be used even better (they turned out to be wrong).
- Product Manager ($48,000/year?) — I was promoted to Product Manager and held to a “3 new products a month” timetable which I failed at miserably because a) they didn’t have the tech department to actually IMPLEMENT any of the products we created as a team And b) It just wasn’t my thing. I had enjoyed my customer service stuff, and I desperately wanted to get back to it. At the same time of all this self-recognition, I also noticed the company was starting to putter out and realized it was only a matter of time until it eventually shut down or got sold off. One of the major downsides of working at a startup – you never know how stable they are! The goods times are GREAT and the bad times are HORRIBLE. And I saw the writing on the wall and dipped out as soon as I found my next home.
- Customer Service Director ($55,000->$78,000/year) – One of my ex-colleagues at that first startup decided to go out on his own and start a company, and he offered me the job of building out HIS customer service department too – which was something I jumped on right away. It started out at a much better pay than the previous gig, and I didn’t have to prove myself all over again cuz my friend already knew how I worked :) And over the years my salary got bumped higher and higher as our company grew and grew, and all was good in the world for a couple of years.
- Project Manager (same as above, $78,000) — Then as times changed, we started moving away from direct to consumer products and more into business-to-business type stuff). So my customer service duties vanished over time, and I moved into more of a project management role helping out with the various deals going on within the company. This job was so-so, but the benefits continued to grow like crazy and we were bringing in the millions (the company, not me) so it was a no brainer to stay on board. This is the point I also started Budgets Are Sexy on my spare time :)
- Graphic Designer (same as above, $78,000) — My boss then found out I had graphic design skills, which I happened to major in at college (funny how it all came back to that!) and I became our in-house designer while at the same time managing all my projects. It was a nice change of pace, and everything ran smoothly until the disastrous economy hit (as well as my company not learning how to manage their money well) and a few years later I was out the door and doing more of what I loved on the side – blogging.
Jobs When I realized You Could Work For Yourself Online!
- Blogger/Entrepreneur ($60,000 – $160,000+/year) — And now here we are today! My side “fun” project of blogging 15+ years ago turned into a full-time job and opened me up to a world online I had no idea about, nor that it would be such a good fit for this A.D.H.D. guy! It completely change my career and life (and friends!) and of course most especially my finances. After 12 years running it though it was time for a change, so I sold it to the good folks at The Motley Fool for medium 6 figures, and was proud of everything we accomplished… (but the story doesn’t end there, keep reading for a surprise twist!)
- Blog Empire Builder ($4,000-$5,000/mo)— For 5+ years I bought up a dozen or so other personal finance blogs and managed them all, basically creating multiple streams of income like little pieces of real estate. Just real estate that happens to be online :) Once I started having kids though and less time to give towards them, I sold them all off in pieces and went back to only focusing on Budgets Are Sexy plus some consulting work down below…
- Blog Coach ($50-$100/hr) — Helping bloggers grow and make money off their sites :) One of my favorite jobs yet! (Outside of actually being a blogger, of course).
- Money Coach ($50-$100/hr) — Same as above, only for people and their wallets :)
- Fintech Advisor ($100+/hr and/or stock) — Same as above, only for financial startups!
- Professional Curator! ($1,000+/mo) — For 4 years I curated the best articles in personal finance and shared them on a site I created, Rockstar Finance. It didn’t make much money-wise, but it would go on to be an industry darling with forums and directories (our industry’s first!) and I ended up selling it to a blogger friend for low 6-figures.
- Coin Evaluator/Inventoryer/Liquidator (10%-20% of value) — After collecting and learning about coins and currency myself for a number of years, I started helping *others* evaluate and sell off their collections too that they (sadly) no longer want to keep. Mostly inherited items that they’d rather have others enjoy while they enjoy piles of cash instead ;) Here’s more about my services that I still do today if you’re ever in need –> jmoney.biz/coin-help. I pay myself w/ coins from the collection instead of cash! Lol…
- Professional Curator (Again!) ($100k+/year) — Three years after I sold Rockstar Finance, I was hired on to create ANOTHER site based on curation for The Motley Fool which we called All-Star Money. It was basically a copy of Rockstar just with prettier designs, and while we were off to a good start the team that hired me eventually disbanded after a couple of years, and thus I and the site were disbanded too. On the plus side, this is what led to the below gig, so it all worked out in the end! ;)
- Blogger Once Again! (Minimal…) — Three years after selling Budgets Are Sexy…. wait for it… I bought the blog back!! Lol… I had become jobless and a little bored (I was also recovering from a nasty disease) and when the opportunity came to buy back my baby from The Motley Fool (and MUCH cheaper) I jumped on it…. And now here we are! Blogging whenever I feel like it and *just for fun* again as it was in the beginning! Total full circle – so cool :) Who knows what’ll happen next???!
- Community Consultant for a Board Game Company ($55/hr) — This will sound totally random, because it is!, but my best friend got a job at a new board game publisher and brought me on to help with building out community. So of course I said yes :) It hits 3 out of 3 on my Triad of Hustling filter, and so far it’s been a blast… I get to work on my own terms, learn about a new industry, make a little money, and build out some cool stuff w/ my bestie. Yay!
[Last updated 7/6/23]
What I’ve Learned So Far
And that brings us up to speed on my employment history so far in this life of mine. MAN that took me a while to type out! Haha… 4 full hours!! And I’m sure I’m missing a few jobs in there too somewhere but oh well… I’m not going back to edit it again :) All this leads me to conclude
three four things though:
- No job is ever permanent. Which can be either a blessing or a distraction (or both). But either way you always have to keep your eyes open and your skills sharp!
- As long as you’re moving UP in the happiness area, whichever career field that is, you’re probably on the right track. And you’ll have plenty of opportunities to change that too if you ever start (or want) to veer off in another direction later.
- I’m probably not a great example of a “good worker” as you can see from my constant and random job hopping :) I’m a lot better than I was starting out, especially when I focus myself, but I def. don’t think you need to run through 30+ jobs just to get to a job you’re finally happy about – that’s pretty crazy. As long as you’re consciously making moves to get to your end goals as best as you know how, I’m sure you’ll get their much faster than I. Just keep following what makes SENSE to you along the way and you can’t go wrong! (Unless you get fired or something, but really that’s out of your control most times anyways. And in which case you pick yourself back up and move right along to that next one which you were much more meant for ;))
- *NEW* When you’re financially free, YOU get to call the shots. After the tail end of Job #37 I essentially became FI. Or, rather, WifeFI 😂 I no longer need money from any of the projects or services I offer, but I *enjoy* doing them and thus I do so. BUT – and this is an important but – I do it on my own terms and on my own schedule. As a stay-at-home-Daddy and lover of life in general, the last thing I want is for “work” to get in the way (especially when you don’t need the $$ to survive!) so I fit it in when it’s best for ME (usually early in the mornings), and then I go about my life doing other things… Sometimes I work hard, and others not!, but let me tell you it’s MUCH more enjoyable doing things because you *want* to and not because you *have to*. So keep going after that FIRE yourself!! I promise you it’s worth it!! :)
So there you have it. Time to sign off now before I spend another 300 hours making this post into a novel! Hope you enjoyed it… And honestly I don’t think I’m done yet in the workforce – I still have a list of 10+ other jobs to try one day! ;)
How about you? Let us know what types of jobs YOU’VE gotten into too! Would love to see what you’ve all dabbled in – I bet you could list ’em off a lot faster than I could ;)
(Photo credit: Bede Jackson)