May 04 2011
When I was a kid, I was quite the entrepreneur.
I’d dream up businesses, everyone different and unique. Weeks would go into my businesses plans. How I’d find clients, my rates, who would need my services. Along with sending letters to country singers and drawing out floor plans for my houses in the sky, this was one of my favorite activities.
Alas, even as a child, the world held its sway. I was told I had to spend money to make money. And I had a big $0. Time to get a real job working for someone else.
I started working when I was 12. It didn’t take me long to realize how much working for other people sucked.
Thus, I learned to game the system. I compiled for you a list of (I’m pretty sure) every job I have ever had. This list groups all of the freelance gigs in their respected areas, and it doesn’t count long term volunteer positions.
- 1. Babysitter <- 8 years worth. I was enamored with The Babysitter’s Club series.
2. Lemonade stand operator <- You would count this if you saw me as a kid. I trained my siblings to look sad when people walked by to make it look like we hadn’t made any money. I’m much more ethical these days.
3. Yard worker
4. Singer – freelance
6. Coffee Cart Manager
8. Janitor <- Great gig. Sweeping and mopping AND I got to sing at the top of my lungs in the church sanctuary.
9. Clothing Retail
13. Starbucks Round 1
14. Call center worker
15. Model – freelance <- Did an in-house ad for Clear Wireless, plus some other work.
16. Promo girl – freelance
17. Starbucks Round 2
18. Waitress <- Like Hooter’s, but no rules. I made it two weeks and couldn’t handle it anymore. On the other hand, I made enough to pay my rent for months in advance.
19. Pizza Prep
20. Pizza Prep
21. Barista <- My job of 8 months. Got paid to dress cute and occasionally make someone coffee. Mostly, I just flirted with men (and women) in uniform all day. (Mr. Germany – I miss you and your cute butt.)
24. Starbucks Round 3 <- They just don’t learn, do they?
26. Bar promos
28. Extras work <- You can see me in Leverage, Brain Trust, and Extraordinary Measures.
29. Site coordinator
30. Cocktail waitress <- Three days of crazy, sexy strange.
32. Assistant Director
34. Consignment Store
35. Acting gigs
And finally my current job…
36. Writer, branding diva, and entrepreneur
Why on earth would I share this? It’s a testament to my obvious commitment issues, flighty tendencies, and fleeting passions.
It’s also a picture of my insatiable, passion nature. It shows you I can get hired by anyone, anywhere – even if I start as unqualified. It shows I hit the top of the learning curve in a very short period of time – and then I make the decision to stay or not.
I spent a day to a week at most of these jobs. The longest I stayed anywhere? 8 months.
The places I chose to stay longest had the most interesting people. Happy people. I was encouraged to act as much myself as possible. My ingenuity and creativity were valued.
And yet, most people would look at this list and promptly whip their heads around to stare at me like I was insane. And for those people, I have a question.
Is it crazier to pursue happiness or security?
I have a question for you, too.
Has anyone ever told you that you are in control, darling?
Think of decisions as the universe’s gift to you. Your decisions are yours.
Including your decision to dedicate yourself to finding work so meaningful, it makes your heart want to burst.
Your decision to live life on your terms.
Your decision to play by a different set of rules. Here is a quick set to get you started, if you’re lost.
How you can game the system:
- 1. Determine what it is you need in a job for it to make you happy (ignore the $$$ here).
Do you need to express your creativity? Is order necessary? Is a team environment conducive to your growth? Know your idiosyncrasies. They are now your list of requirements for a job.
2. Decide if your job makes you light up.
If not, start looking for something that does. (This is how you nail the interview, by the way. You can’t fake real passion. And everyone wants the passion on their team.)
3. Flip the system the bird.
If you know what makes you tick, you can make it happen on your own terms. Moonlight a bit. Watch the magic unfold.
Tricks and tips:
- False security is a gateway drug to settling. Your job – and likely sole source of income – is false security.
- Find a mentor and friends who get it so at least a few people don’t look at you like you’re psychotic. (You’re not.)
- Never, ever sacrifice your happiness for a paycheck. It’s better to scrounge for change in the couch than to do something that is sucking out your soul.
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