Workers of Unconventional Jobs Share What They Do And Their Career Journeys.
Have you ever wondered how people with the most unusual but cool jobs ended up there? I know I have! Like, what do I have to do to become a professional food taster or fortunate writer?
The following AskRedditors responded to the question "People who don't work normal 35 to 40 hours a week jobs and don't have to go to the workplace to work but are making more than enough money, what do you do, how did you get there, what's your daily routine like and how satisfied are you?"
For more responses peep the original thread at the end of the article.
When I was 17 I learned about all the chemicals in different lights bulbs. Like Mercury phosphorus powder.
The dangers of all these lights and that in 1996 there was not a single place to recycle them.
I made a system that can break down the various components and outsource the materials for recycling.
Fast forward 14 years and we are now a government-funded company with hundreds of depot all around our province collecting lights bulbs for us to recycle.
Started out working 65 hour work weeks and now made the company to where I go in twice a month to chat with management and make sure everything is up to standards.
I do work 40 hours a week, but I get to choose where I work- from home, my office, Florida, whatever.
I am a Data Manager for a small Furniture Company that sells on Amazon and the other large online retailers.
I update the product pages and make sure the customers aren't confused about what they're buying.
I make over 4x what I did as an overnight security guard.
Tell you the truth, I have no idea how I got this job, half the time I don't know what I'm doing, and people tell me I'm doing a great job all the time.
Fake it till you make it, folks.
I'm a writer. I support my entire family through my writing (husband is a stay-at-home dad, even though I'm also at home, just working). I write novels.
It took me ten solid years, writing a novel a year before one sold, and that one has led to a career of writing. It was hard, and I often felt like giving up, mostly because I had ten years and ten novels that were rejected, adding up to about a thousand rejections. A thousand times someone told me no, I wasn't good enough. That eats at you.
Now, though? Now I have my dream job, my entire family is with me all day, my kid is going to have an amazing life. I write when I want to (but I make myself want to a lot). My daily schedule depends on my deadlines and my home life. I can take a month off and deal with family if I need to or I can lock myself in my office and write all day if I need to. I do well with deadlines and working in big bursts, so it works well for us.
Basically, I'm literally living my dream.
Used to work as a traveling aircraft mechanic in very remote and isolated places for a unique company. I took commercial/private/military aircraft to get to work locations, like glaciers and worked 3 weeks to 6 months at a time depending on contract requirements. Daily routine changed every day depending on what was going on but usually, I'd work 1 to 3 hours in the morning and 2 to 3 hours in the evening. It was a very satisfying job and a great experience but my home life suffered greatly because of it.
I work on boats. I more or less work out of my house or garage. My garage is my shop. I live in a city with a ton of boats and there is no shortage of boats to work on. My routine is I get up around 5:30 am, go for a 2-mile walk or a 5-mile bike ride. Have some breakfast. Shower, shave and go work on a boat by 7-7:30. I tend to wrap up actual work around noon-ish, but the rest of the day I might be running around getting parts or just talking with people.
I am a crop farmer that lives on the farm so technically I work at home. The hours depend on the time of the year. I work 80 to 100 hours a week during planting and harvesting season, 40 to 50 hours a week during the summer and less than 20 hours a week during the winter.
Farming is difficult to get into though, at least for a cash grain operation in the corn belt. A person basically has to be born into it or become a business partner with an established grower.
Beekeeper. My father finished agronomy engineering, stopped working with our land don't have much but we have more than enough), he sold all our tractor equipment and invested in beekeeping. Beekeeping is an ideal job if you're lazy and have some land to put bees in. We work 5 months a year, 4-5hr a day, while other 7 months are preparations for the season and we work 2-3 hours a day if we are not too lazy. I am quite satisfied with this job since I am not too ambitious about studies and school, but still, can make progress and make more money every year. Mind you, I'm only 17 years old.
I'm a freelance copywriter. I write for small businesses - web content, brochures, flyers, welcome letters and more. Here are my suggestions for making it to a decent income:
1) Start small: (i.e. Cheap and maybe for people you already know who are willing to give you a shot. Cheap doesn't mean free.) Even if you've done plenty of other writing, you need experience copywriting specifically because it really is it's own skill. You need to be really good at it, comfortable working with clients, and confident in your skills before you expand to strangers you charge decently.
2) Craft a great elevator speech: 10 to 15 seconds that explains what you do, why they need it, and how you do it differently from everyone else. Sound friendly and casual, not stuffy and formal. This happens to be exactly what I do for the businesses, so I really need to nail this part. I've gotten reallllly good at it and I can see their eyes light up. "Oh wow! I have so much trouble with that! That's just what I need!" Everyone knows how to write, technically, so in this profession, you really need to sell yourself as offering something they want and struggle with.
3) Network, network, network: I found a local small business support group and found plenty of clients there, because I am a small business and because I work with small businesses. Use the people you know. I tag along to some of my husband's business functions and any friends who want company. Anytime you're having small talk and there comes the question "what do you do?" you have a chance to get your name out there. Make business cards and pass them out a lot. Get reaaaally nice business cards so you're memorable (I love moo.com, a terrible name I know but very modern and high quality). Plus if you're good, reliable, and really easy to work with, you'll get referrals.
4) FOLLOW UP: If someone mentions they could possibly potentially use your services, get their info and email or call them. Do not wait for them to contact you. Does it feel awkward and even rude? Yup. Do it anyway. Be polite obviously but track down all your leads.
5) Don't give up: It can take a long time to build up a client base.
6) Get really lucky and catch a big break: I know, that's not something you can plan, but the previous steps prepare you for it, and this is how I really broke through to a bigger volume. Ultimately, you want clients that keep giving you projects, not just one-offs.
One more note. I'm an introvert and used to be fairly awkward and really timid. It's not easy putting yourself out there but it's simply the only way. Fake it till you make it. Pretend you are confident. Pretend you are amazing. Pretend you feel comfortable. Be scared, and do it anyway. Be uncomfortable, and be social anyway. You get used to it, then you get good at it, then you enjoy the rush of feeling powerful.
I might not fit into the mold because I work 40 hours per week but I work from home full time as a mortgage underwriter for a mid-sized private mortgage company. I travel full time. Instead of living and renting an apartment for a year at a time in one city, I tend to live 4-6 weeks in a city (mostly on Airbnb) and then move to the next city afterward. It's basically like I'm on a permanent vacation and always exploring a new city. I'm 28 and absolutely love my nomadic lifestyle. I have one suitcase and my laptop. I've been driving around the USA for 3 years and have stayed in pretty much every city. I understand it's not a lifestyle that suits everybody - but it's perfect for my personality.
I bet I'm not the first to post about being an owner-operator truck driver, but here are my 2 cents. I work to pay off my truck and cover all the aspects of upkeep. I stick to the east coast, and since I'm really close to having paid off the truck, lately I've been giving myself 3 day weekends. I don't answer to anyone except the brokers that I pick up loads from. It truly is freedom.
I'm a freelance nanny in a wealthy London neighborhood and I own my place. I've done this ten years and don't really enjoy it anymore but I make more money than most of my contemporaries, even those who graduated (I dropped out at 16). I only work afternoons, I wear whatever I want, I choose what we do (can just chill and read a book in the park all day when it's nice while they play) and I eat most of my meals there for free. Not the most rewarding or interesting job in the world but pretty chill and great money.
Flight Attendant. I usually have 10-20 days off a month. I get $3,000 USD a month on average (no income tax), my accommodation and transportation are paid for, and on my layovers, in other countries, they provide 4-5 star hotels for us with an envelope of spending money (in Manchester now and was given 60 pounds for a 24 hour layover).
My wife is a therapist. She has her Master of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. People hear "degree for social work" and assume she gets paid 30 thousand a year and has a bad, terribly stressful job.
She charges 140 an hour. That's on the low end for private therapists in my location. Don't get me wrong, she is damn good at what she does, but damn I wish I could work 15 hours a week and make six figures. Of course, the reality is between advertising, patient notes, and preparation she's more like 20 to 25 hours a week.
My graduate degree is in thermodynamics. I model different types of supercritical, hydrocarbon extractions and develop processes to make new types of hash & distilled THC. I got into the industry by moving to a state that has legal, recreational marijuana and being overqualified compared to the other people in the same industry. Timing helped a lot as well, now the market in my state is flooded, but I got in just before recreational use was legalized. If you want to get into the industry, then find a state that DOES NOT have legal marijuana yet, but that legislation is planning to. This will allow you to get in on the ground floor.
I could not be more satisfied with where I have ended up. I love my work, it is different every day and it is something that I am very passionate about.
Business is booming.
I have a day gig editing a weekly trade publication, managing staff and the process of getting it out, but do it from home. I do freelance editing and writing work on the side.
I have a journalism diploma, like many without jobs, or who have gone into communications. Here's my secret: I compromised. My classmates wanted to write about music and entertainment or travel. I write about agriculture. But it's actually reasonably interesting, and the perks more than make up for the fact I'm not Hunter S. Thomspon after all.
A typical day is get up around 7, work a bit, get my kid to school, work a bit more. Take a bike ride at lunch time. Work a couple more hours, run some errands, work a couple more, then pick up the kiddo from school.
We have a busy season (the winter months) when I work a bit in the evenings, typically. But the summer months are pretty slack, which more than makes up for it. The single biggest perk is the good quality of life for my daughter, and my ability to move things around to accommodate her.
The pay is acceptable for the amount of stress and my employers are pretty reasonable people.
I run my own tattoo studio in Iraq (Kurdistan to be more precise). Just came on a whim as an English teacher and one thing led to another. As a Westerner, the non-English-speaking locals are kind but don't mess with me, and enough people want tattoos that I'm very busy all the time.
Although I do work a full 40 hour week, I work from home every day. I'm a software developer for a large company specializing in camping products. I mainly work on fixing minor bugs that come up and create/update pages.
About a year after going full-time, I began working from home, as I lived about 60 miles away from work. I still had to drive to work about once a week, for client meetings, until I accepted a job offer 4 months ago with my current position. I am a contractor until the end of August, at which point I hope to be hired on full time.
My work is in a different time zone than I am, so I work 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM. I usually wake up every morning around 9:20 AM, log on my company-provided laptop, connect to the VPN, remote into a VM, and begin working. I have a daily meeting at 11 AM, but it only lasts 15 minutes. Other than that meeting, I don't have much contact with any co-workers or supervisors, and I honestly like it that way.
The job is 1000x less stressful that my previous one, and I absolutely love it. Everything is organized, not too hard, but still, provides a challenge. The pay is a good amount for my experience, and amazing for my age (I'm 24). I am able to live comfortably supporting my wife and newborn, while my wife is able to be a stay-at-home mom, so I get to spend the whole day with my family. We are able to pay bills, put money into savings, and still have enough left over to go out on the weekends.
As with any job, there are some pros and cons:
- Getting to work in my pajamas
- Not having people watch what I'm working on
- Limited contact with others/Get to work alone
- Have a good income
- Freedom to take breaks/lunch when I want
- Can watch TV while I work
- Get to spend time with family throughout the work day
- Cabin Fever. Having a laptop makes this easier, as I frequently switch rooms throughout the day. In the morning, I may be in the living room or sitting room, but in the afternoon, I'll switch to my bedroom or my office.
- Delayed responses from co-workers. Sometimes, I need to work with others on tasks that I'm assigned to (a designer created a mockup and I need to build it). When I message a co-worker for something that I need, it could easily be a full day before I get a response.
- Project managers aren't developers. This is a bit of a pro and con together. By not knowing much about programming, they don't ask many questions about projects I'm working on, allowing me to keep everything short and sweet. On the other hand, they aren't able to help much if I run into an issue.
Personally, the pros definitely outweigh the cons for me. I've been working almost exclusively from home for over a year, and I really don't know if I could go back to a regular office job. I love what I do, and couldn't be happier, at least, until I hopefully get hired on full-time.
Whoops. That snip was just a hair too far....
Your first bad haircut probably made you want to die a little when you looked in the mirror. Imagine how the person cutting your hair must have felt. Although, maybe they didn't care at all, as evidenced by the bs excuse they gave you when you finished in the barber chair.