I’ve held a number of odd jobs over my lifetime so I thought it would be fun to list them out.
I will tell you that even though I haven’t really worked like a donkey in the past 5 years (I’ve been taking a semi-retirement of sorts, working one year, taking one year off and alternating), I used to be a really hard worker when I was younger.
I’ve just gotten lazier (in a way) as I’ve gotten older and less money-grubbing, which is both good and bad depending on how you look at it.
PAPER ROUTE (AGE 7 – 11)
I was recruited into the paper route world by my older brother who tricked me at the start by making me fold all the fliers and do all the work for 25% of the pay.
He basically used me as a mini-slave, but after a few months I cottoned on to his sneaky ways and took over the business completely while he went off to work stacking shelves at a local grocery store.
By the time I was 10, I had done something similar and employed other children in my neighbourhood to deliver to certain sections of my route, and gave them a small cut of my route money and the promise of free ice cream treats to do it.
Basically I turned myself into a manager!
EBAY SELLING (THRIFTED ITEMS) (AGE 15.. I think)
I did this only for a year less (my memory is a bit hazy.)
Anyway, what I did was go into thrift stores, scour the racks for things that looked nice (I looked at the label first, then the condition, then assessed whether it was nice or not), and re-sold it on eBay with a nice, comprehensive listing of what it was, the sizing and so on.
I didn’t make a ton of money off this mostly because it was a lot of time and effort to scour thrift stores to find things to re-sell, then having to package and ship it, not to mention having to spend time creating listings for each item (and measuring everything!!), but I at least turned a profit.
The good thing about all of this at the end was I learned how to sell online to faceless masses.
I understood how to list a product, give it a nice spin (I tried to make my listings funny), and how to manage business with having to deal with things like finding the cheapest way to package and ship an item.
Ultimately it was too much work for me for the amount I was getting paid, so I stopped doing it.
FAST FOOD RESTAURANT (AGE 16 – 19)
This is the rite of passage job for every teen I think!
I found a job making burgers and flipping fries, and worked part-time all the way until college.
I took every night shift (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.) I could find, all the weekend shifts they could offer me (11 a.m. – 8 p.m. for instance), any canceled shift, as well as all the overtime working during busy holiday hours.
I can’t really remember how much I made, but minimum wage was around $7.25 at the time I think. I also got really sick of fast food from having to sell it all day.
I kept doing this all the way until college because I moved away from my home town and had to quit my job.
ONLINE ROLE-PLAYING AND SELLING VIRTUAL ITEMS (AGE 16-18)
After my little stint on eBay I started looking at other ways to make money with less work, and it seemed like going online was the best.
I stumbled across this “business” purely by accident because I was obsessed with gaming online, and ended up realizing that other people would pay REAL MONEY on eBay to get a cheater’s head start in a game that took me about a year to master and build up from scratch.
I made some serious cash off it (serious for a 16-19 year old anyway), and had fun doing it.
I also learned a lot about customer service because I was interacting with “live” customers from the shop I was running online, and listened to what they requested for and wanted. I became extremely efficient and organized at managing my online inventory and overhead.
You can read all about how it happened here: Turning virtual millions into thousands
I only quit doing this because it really wasn’t enough money even though it was a fun hobby, and because I needed really good grades to get into college, so I stopped a year before my applications started.
WEBDESIGNING / BUSINESS CONSULTING (AGE 17-23)
Another business I started offhand from another hobby/interest of mine just because I thought coding websites was a lot of fun and interesting.
I have since let my skills go to ground (I’m totally rusty and useless at doing anything very technical for the web now) but I used to be pretty good.
I was targeting small and medium-sized businesses in town to help them set up websites on this newfangled “World Wide Web”, as well as just having an online presence even if it was just a placeholder to tell people where they were located and what their store hours were.
I basically told them how to display their business online in the best light (based on what I thought was required).
Even today, when I go to business websites and I see that they don’t list their hours, a map or BASIC information, I do a *facepalm* because I really want to offer my services.
Sometimes when I am browsing Etsy, I just KNOW I could triple the business volume of some of the businesses on there if they would make a few key but important changes to their online shop…
(See? Being a bit of a shopaholic really does pay off!!!!)
Anyway, I did this all the way through college because I could work in between classes (sometimes DURING class), as well as at night or on weekends in between my other full-time job of being an assistant superintendent of a building.
(Yes this was all while going to business school, which is why my grades in college weren’t stellar like the other kids in my class.)
It was so flexible hours, I made my own schedule, and the money wasn’t bad for the time I spent.
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF A BUILDING (AGE 20 – 23)
By luck I found this job that let me live relatively rent-free if I would just help out around the building. I wasn’t the one working full-time during the day, I was the person on-call for the nights and weekends.
Worked out well because I still had to go to class (yes.. annoying business school classes).
I just had to clean a lot, deal with whiny, entitled residents (some were students too!), and manage office affairs to help keep things going while the main superintendent took a break for the night, weekend or went on vacation.
BLOGGING (AGE 22 – ???)
This has been my worst paying job since I was 7!
Haha I kid. Kind of.
I started blogging way back when I was in $60,000 of student loan debt, and chronicled how I got out of it in 18 months. Then I stopped, giving it all up, swearing to never do it again (it was a lot of internal pressure to perform), then started again with this blog.
Anyway, my blogging “income” has been on average $0.25/hour in 2012 considering the hours I’ve worked on the blog (a hobby) and what I get out of it.
Good thing it isn’t my bread and butter or I’d be FREAKING out!
Still, I’m rather competitive with myself, so it stands to reason that I’ve been channeling a lot of free time and energy into doing this schtick, which is the reason why I regularly schedule 2 years in advance because I’m afraid I will get swamped and not have time to blog.
FREELANCE CONSULTING (AGE 24 – ???)
Which brings me to present-day Me.
I have now found the perfect marriage of what kind of work I like to do, as in having a more flexible working schedule, and using my brain instead of my brawn (hah! BRAWN!) to make money.
Having a business that deals with a product like selling clothes is not easy, and is a lot harder than if you just sell your brain, but getting to the point where someone wants to pay for your brain (your expertise, as it were), is just as difficult in the beginning but it gets easier as time passes.
Looking back, I can kind of see in my history how I developed my rather independent, don’t-wanna-work-for-anyone-but-myself streak.
I’m lazy and that helps with my creativity in finding jobs or professions that embrace my laziness.
Looking back, I can’t believe I did all of that. It feels like another person entirely!!