Make a List of the Jobs You’ve Had

The other day I was thinking about the various things I’ve done to earn money, skill, and experience from about age 8 or 9 onward.  I tried to come up with a complete list and found it to be a really fun and enlightening exercise.  It was rather encouraging and exciting to see how little of a pattern there is, and how nothing like a linear path emerged.  I’ve found that at every unknown juncture, worries about a job have been overblown.  I got married very young and returned from my honeymoon with a mortgage to pay and no job.  The thing that has worked best for me is just to keep working, even while looking.  I did every random, laborious job I could, and it always eventually led to more interesting things.

It’s a cool exercise, and has led to some fun stories with the kids. (Kids are always so fascinated by their parents past failures, hardships, and embarrassments).  Give it a try!  Here’s my list, probably missing some, mostly but not perfectly chronological, and with plenty of overlap:

  • Snow shoveler/leaf raker/lawn mower
  • Weekly ‘Flashes’ delivery
  • Babysitter
  • Dog walker
  • Paper delivery (this one continued for years)
  • Construction/excavation grunt (paid in Gatorade and Swiss Cake Rolls)
  • Golf course grounds worker/pro-shop/concessions/grunt/bathroom cleaner
  • Grocery store carryout and shelf stocker
  • House framer/random cut/cleanup guy
  • Telephone and data cable installation (eventually managing field operations)
  • Guitarist/vocalist in various bands (sometimes I even got paid!)
  • Co-founder of international humanitarian nonprofit (unpaid)
  • House flipper (it was pre-2007…everyone was doing it!)
  • English teacher abroad (unpaid)
  • Medical clinic assistant abroad (unpaid)
  • Electrical worker
  • Co-founder and field manager for datacom startup
  • Landscaper (because the above wasn’t making too much money!)
  • Landlord
  • President of taxpayer advocacy group (unpaid)
  • Legislative intern (unpaid for two weeks)
  • Legislative assistant/aid
  • Legislative “Chief of Staff” (“Staff” included me, one other employee, and an intern)
  • Political Science teacher
  • Creator/director of “Students for a Free Economy” program at the Mackinac Center
  • Random marketing/educational consultant (occasional side gigs)
  • Policy Programs Director at IHS
  • Speaker/lecturer (paid and unpaid)
  • Writer (mostly unpaid, but some steady paid gigs)
  • Education Director at IHS
  • Copywriter (side gigs, paid and unpaid)
  • Sales (some commission-based side-work)
  • Major Gifts Officer (fundraising) at IHS
  • Praxis

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