Every entrepreneur I know has start-up and odd job horror stories, and I firmly believe no matter how crappy or strange the job, there's always a lesson to reap from it. When people are in awe over how I have so much in savings as a self-employed person, or am self-employed at all, I always remind them that I've paid my dues to retail Gods, here's the proof and lessons learned:
1) Mom's Piñata Business Age 4 to 9
I helped me mom make and sell dozens of piñatas for birthday parties, schools and events.
Lesson: A crafty/entrepreneurial genesis for me, I learned employment can be unconventional.
2) Pet Washing / Plant Selling / Olympia Sales Club /Wreath-Making Businesses Age10-12
Misguided early businesses that show an entrepreneurial/hippie/animal love streak early on.
Lesson: You can make and sell anything if you put yourself out there and try.
3) Scotty's Hardware Age 12-14, On & Off
I loved the garden center's herbs, flowers and the fragrant winter Christmas trees. Lots of thievery to witness, too.
Lesson: My appreciation for growing/making is lifelong, and people are crazy.
4) AMC Movie Theatre Age 16-17
Free popcorn, soda, (oh, the weight-gain!) and movies; even occasionally entertaining. $5.50/hour!
Lesson: Don't undersell myself, there was better work but I took this job because a few friends did.
5) Sears Age 17-18 / 6) Office Max Age 19
I was bored out of my MIND as a cashier. Torture. We'd make detailed plans to escape before a manager made us stay after scheduled hours.
Lesson: Boring jobs are NOT FOR ME, I must be constantly stimulated.
7) Relay Operator Age 18-19
I relayed calls verbatim for the deaf and hard of hearing. I drew, did homework, raised my Pokemon levels, and read between calls. Could you say racist slurs and sexy-talk (some were phone-sex calls) aloud in a packed call center?
Lesson: Unconventional work is awesome, and occasionally uncomfortable.
8) Nightclub Rose Seller Age 20
I lasted 4 days selling roses in night clubs, bars, and strip joints. Memorable moments: being told I'd be escorted to my car with an AK47 for safety and being advised to befriend cops in case I need to knife someone.
Lesson: I learned how much I enjoy taking weird risks and the art of selling.
9) Bill Collector Age 20-21
Angry debtors didn't bother me but the boredom was insufferable, despite nice coworkers and bosses.
Lesson: Every "broke"person has the money to buy anything, if you properly create urgency they will find the funds.
10) Copywriter/Marketer Age 21-25
A stimulating start-up. I earned $36K per year- "rich people" income for me as an extremely frugal person, and learned so much. Yet the boss and I clashed, I worked long hours, and felt unfulfilled.
Lesson: I learned no amount of money is worth forgoing my own creative projects.
Final Thoughts: There's a fulfillment from working on Thrift Core that can't be bought. It's crazy to think that I've been web proficient and making websites since age 12 and could have been reselling and loving it much earlier, but I wouldn't change a thing. Each job taught me something new. Experiences, especially the weird ones, are important. If you feel stuck in a job you hate; you're not alone. It will get better.
What are some of the weirdest jobs you've ever worked? If you have self-employment dreams don't wait, do it! Don't let status quo dictate your employment and happiness.