Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Odd Jobs...In Every Sense: An Entrepreneur's Job Journey and Paying Your Dues

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.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

25 comments:

  1. #8 surprised me the most! Sounds...exciting, haha.
    My friends always ask me, "So, how many jobs do you have now?" I am a full time student, and I clean houses, do a family's laundry each week, work at the university, do social media plans & consulting, and (if I have time) work on my own shop. In the past I have worked as a house sitter, as a housekeeper, as a nanny, in a vintage shop, in a Big Box home improvement store, as a server in a restaurant, and as a receptionist. Oy.
    I think the biggest thing for me has been learning not to undersell my time. Also, I have a tendency to say yes to every job and business opportunity that people ask me to do before truly stopping to think about whether or not I have the time or if it would even be something fulfilling. My first loves are entrepreneurship, vintage, and marketing, and I need to stick to those.
    In other news, I am trying to get back in shape after my winter love affair with junk food. So happy to see your posts on your healthy lifestyle! Keep up the good work!

    Cheers,
    Dani
    www.ItchforKitsch.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a long detailed essay on The Rose Job I may publish someday. 'Twas horrible but an interesting story in retrospect at least. Us entrepreneur-brains definitely tend to jump from job to job excited for fresh opportunities and take on more than we can fit in. My first loves are web writing & design / marketing / art&creativity and I'm adjusting so those are center stage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and I'm glad the healthy lifestyle posts are helpful. I have plans to keep them coming, been trying to keep up with the daily bike rides now that the weather isn't arctic cold (30 or so, cold for Florida!) anymore! It's energizing.

      Delete
  3. weird jobs? Where to start! I also worked at sears, and if it wasn't for the dirty old men who worked in the tire department, I wouldn't have lasted as long as I did (4 months). Those dirty old men were a riot! I worked as a hairdresser (gossipy high school environment, I couldn't hang, not my mojo!) I worked as a bartender for many years. Great money, lots of fun socializing. Loved it! I worked as an interior designer for about 12 years, before becoming a stay at home mom. Fun weird job: I worked as a brand ambassador selling kitty litter at pet food stores. It was a fun job that paid well for very little hours. I worked in a group home for mentally ill adults. Horrific job! The last straw for me, is when one of the patients bit me right to the bone and I had to be hospitalized. Yea, that pretty much sucked! I worked as an auto show model when I lived in Detroit. Paid enough in those 4 days to pay for my college. So, I have pretty much been all over the place! My degree is in fine arts/interior design.....now I stay at home on the computer all day, running two etsy shops. Life is good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh the dirty old men stories I could tell, sometimes I worked in the tool department and yep, pretty gross. Especially how older men would hit on me when I was 17-18. You've had some crazy jobs, the mentally ill adults job is the stuff of nightmares. I've considered being a bartender now for the socialization and stories to tell, would give me great material as a writer and I'm isolated working from home now. A dayum the auto show model gig that paid for your college, how'd you land an awesome gig like that? So jealous, I want -my- college paid for ;D !

      Delete
  4. Being 5'11" helped. I started modeling when I was 9...just department store stuff, then moved on to radio promos, calendars, etc. Did the auto show for 3 years, and each year paid for my college tuition that year. 3 years paid! (I didn't go to an expensive private school, but still!) Once you hit 22 years old you are considered a has been. That's okay, took advantage while I could.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, not the "has been at 22" part but awesome you took advantage!

      Delete
  5. I had lots of odd jobs as a kid, selling day old bread & donuts in the projects, I spent many years as a Keno runner at Caesars Palace. Fun, social, lots of dirty old men, and I even fell into the baccarat pit butt up...quite embarrassing. Got to wait on stars...and since I'm not star crazy, wouldn't even know it if I did. I've always loved to sell and be creative and selling on eBay satisfies all of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds awesome! I agree, reselling satisfies my creative/selling urges. I'm a creator/entrepreneur before being a vintage appreciator.

      Delete
  6. Worked in a substance abuse rehab center for 2 years----lots of crazy stories there, but I can't tell 'em :) Was the only "real" job I ever had, 40 hrs a week + benefits. Drove me insane though. Quit to be a delivery driver.

    Sold shoes in a boutique that catered to transvestites, for two days. Didn't quite fit in, the owner was an egomaniac. Customers were nice, though.

    Delivered phone books, made sandwiches in a deli, worked in a retro boutique and in a tattoo/piercing establishment. Took gift basket orders over the phone. That's when I realized I wasn't cut out to be a cubicle person.

    Have worked food booths in various fairs and events for many years, and still do.

    Like you, I need to have constant change and stimulation. That's why I love selling vintage so much! I have around 18 thrifts shops in my greater area (including small towns I travel to) that I visit regularly and it satisfies my need for change and "the hunt".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't tell much of my "Real job" stories either, signed confidentiality agreements. Oh, the stories we could weave. Love your eclectic job history.

      Delete
  7. What I interesting jobs u havd had. I have been a special ed teacher since age 25 and prior to that I was a group home worker so I have never had a varied career
    Retro rover

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may not have the patience to be a teacher but it's something I've always wanted to do. That's why I love educating through the blog so much :)

      Delete
  8. You really did have a lot of jobs. From the very beginning, you were quite the young entrepreneur. Coincidently, I also worked at Sears. When I was in college, I was a part-time telephone bill collector. I never worked at a movie theatre but I did get in free and, sometimes, got free popcorn. I was the newspaper delivery boy and the manager, in lieu of a tip, granted me free admission whenever I wanted. (Rob)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a 3-day stint as a receptionist as a job I got from a temp agency too, after that I think all work is covered ;D The free admission is definitely better than a tip!

      Delete
  9. I'm a full time actor now, but I once had to be inside a soulless, copyright-infringing FROSTY THE SNOWMAN costume in a high end department store. I literally had to tap-dance in a sweaty suit for 4 hours on the saturday before christmas. NEVER AGAIN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear lord, the stuff of nightmares! Agreed, I'd rather sell my "junk" then go back to standing behind a cash register or anything crazy like that!

      Delete
  10. I'm sorry. I couldn't get beyond family pinata business! There is so much awesome in that phrase! I am increasingly jealous that my family didn't have this kind of career. Nursing and computer sales are just not as fun to a child!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose that was a misnomer right there, it was my moms' mostly for-fun side job that didn't turn much profit. My dad's military income supported us.

      Delete
  11. Van, you've had quite the experiences! The pinata business sounds pretty cool too! I started recycling cans with my neighbor friend when I was about 10 years old. We go around loading up our little red wagons and it was always nice to have a little spending money when we cashed in our cans! I've worked as a fairground parking attendant, a Buckle salesperson at the mall, a Wal-mart cashier, a cashier at a thrift store, ebay/etsy reseller, a researcher for a political website, and currently as an aide to a member of Congress. I still resell on the side but I can honestly say my current job has been very rewarding as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your current job sounds amazing! I used to tote my plants and wreaths to sell in a little red wagon, too :D The cans would have been far more lucrative/environmentally friendly! There was no where in biking distance for me to take those though.

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What an interesting list! I would have loved to make pinatas and wreaths, (but I probably wouldn't have appreciated it while doing it). I can't say I've had "odd" jobs, but I did do an internship with the FDA, and one of the things I got to do briefly was test condoms. That's about as odd as it got.

    I did, however, do a lot of volunteer work, including working at local film festivals and for the Friends of the Public Library. I learned a lot especially from the film festival circuit. I came out of my shell, so to speak, having to deal with the public. It was terrifying when I first did it, having to go up to total strangers and telling them what to do, but I ended up having a whole lot of fun and became more fearless as a result.

    I agree that we learn from every job we've ever done, whether we like it or not. I worked in corporate America for 18 years, and it allowed me to buy my first home and save up my money. I learned how to deal with difficult people and work through the politics around me. But just as important, I learned what I DIDN'T want, which made it easier for me to leave my job altogether and go work for myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like some great/interesting jobs and lessons to me. :D I really miss human interaction so I'm plotting to do a traveling vintage market/more markets in general.

      Delete

I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

Related Posts with Thumbnails