What Does Your Job History Look Like?

by Ryan

Steve Pavlina, one of my favorite bloggers wrote an article about quitting and odd jobs. He highlights David Allen, who now is a successful author and entrepreneur who, according to Steve, makes up to $6 million a year. You can read his full post quitting to win, here.

In the post he mentions that Allen had an array of jobs before finally becoming successful. I wonder if each of these jobs have helped him become the success he is today, or if they were simply fillers to pay the bills while he worked on his business on the side. Some of the jobs he had include:

  • cab driver
  • landscaper
  • vitamin distributor
  • glass-blowing lathe operator
  • travel agent
  • gas station manager
  • U-Haul dealer
  • moped salesman
  • restaurant cook
  • business consultant

None of these seem to be related directly, so what made Allen successful?  What are your thoughts?

Looking back at my life here are the jobs I’ve done, in order, starting at age 14 up til now at age 23.

  • Interior Car Washing
  • Dietary Aid at an assisted living facility
  • Roof Truss Assembler
  • Landcaping and Lawn Care
  • Phone Book Delivery
  • Barback
  • Project Manager Intern
  • Bartender
  • Insurance Sales Intern
  • Realtor
  • Project Manager
  • Small Business owner (failed)
  • Web Developer

Notice that each of these things are quite different.  I believe that this is important as each job and experience in life teaches us something different.  Whether that’s a skill or life trait, everything you do has a lesson and can teach you something, if you’re willing to listen that is.

What are some of the odd jobs you’ve done in your life?  Feel free to share your list as well as it would be interesting to hear what your career / business ownership journey looks like.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren February 1, 2010 at 11:57 am

Wow…let’s see if I can remember them all. Since the age of 15:

Youth Conservation Corps Worker
Subway Sandwich Artist
SnoCone maker
Outdoor store (retail)
Express (at the mall – retail)
Cocktail Waitress
Law Clerk
Advertising Manager
Marketing Director
Account Manager

And where am I now? I’m not the least bit interested in what I went to school for (advertising). I’m in the process of trying to figure out my life’s path at age…29! Yeah!
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..Up, up and away! =-.

Tracy February 1, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I had a ton of jobs before my real career started.
Ski Instructor
Retail Sporting Goods
Veterinary Technician
Exercising Racehorses
Then my real job….protecting lives and property.
.-= Tracy´s last blog ..Money Saving Tips That Happen To Be Green =-.

Lucy February 1, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Investing Newbie February 2, 2010 at 5:21 am

I haven’t been working too long, but here goes:

Day Camp Counselor
HR Intern
Tech Service Intern
Starbucks Barista
Community Development Intern
Compensation Assistant
Financial Analyst

Listing those out, I definitely see growth. I wonder how this list will look like 10 years from now…
.-= Investing Newbie´s last blog ..Net Worth Update – January 2010 =-.

thriftygal February 2, 2010 at 7:21 am

Let’s see:

Food service worker (server/loader/unloader of giant washer)
Security (not really – I just checked IDs of students using a facility)
Helpdesk consultant
Research intern
Management intern (not really – they mostly used me as a cashier)
Pyramid scheme victim
Data entry monkey
Code monkey
.-= thriftygal´s last blog ..5 Obstacles To Financial Success =-.

Evan February 2, 2010 at 10:52 am


Cashier at Trader Joes (this was before they had the scan, so my buddy’s would come in and everything would be .29 cents to 1.29).
Life Guard (BEST JOB EVER!)
Telemarkter for Magazines
Stock Boy at Victoria’s Secret (I shit you not…THIS WAS the 2nd best job ever, I got sexually harassed EVERYDAY, and LOVED IT)
Vitamin Shoppe
Law Office Bitch for a Large firm (filing papers and stocking sodas)
A Couple of Judicial Clerkships/Law Intern positions
An associate in a small defense insurance firm

And then today:
Director of Financial Planning
.-= Evan´s last blog ..Three Common Qualities of High Net Worth Individual’s Balance Sheets =-.

Money Funk February 3, 2010 at 6:31 am

Oh Thriftygal, sorry to hear you were a victim of the pyramid scheme. And Evan, why did you quit the stock boy job? Isn’t it happiness over $? LOL.
Let’s see if I can reaccount:

Sales Clerk for Fabric King
Cashier for Pizza place on Haight St., San Francisco
Phone S*x operator
Cocktail Waitress
Exotic dancer
Cashier Carl’s Jr.
Manager for KayBee Toys
Bagel Maker
Admin Assistant
Pathology Lab Assistant (loved this job but pay was too low)
Data Entry Clerk
Clinical Research Associate

Wow, guess I grew up. LOL. Wonder what the future holds. CEO of my fortune 500 company. 😉
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

Financial Samurai February 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Guess I really only had one job before my career if we exclude internships, and that was being the best egg McMuffin maker at McDonald’s during high school!

I knew it Money Funk… about the 3rd job on your list! 🙂
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Most Important Tip For Job Hoppers: Join People, Not Firms =-.

Money Funk February 4, 2010 at 7:52 am

FS: it paid the bills. 😉
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

Financial Samurai February 4, 2010 at 8:28 am

Nothing wrong with paying the bills! Heck, I recommend Ryan start a manly escort service in HAwaii due to all the wealthy folks out there, but he hasn’t responded 🙂

Just saying, I knew there was something to your voice! Wait, maybe I spoke to you before… oops, just outed myself.
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Creating Powerful Friends: Samurai’s Alexa Ranking Challenge =-.

Ryan February 4, 2010 at 9:41 am

From Egg McMuffin maker to finance professional, quite the shift!

Ironically enough the male escort thing crossed my mind, only for a moment, do I need a pimp for something like that? haha
.-= Ryan´s last blog ..The Part Time Job Search =-.

Sindy February 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I’m 51 so I had to really think back…… Many years were spent as Mom with other jobs around that.

Babysitting at age 13 after school and as a live-in during the summer
Fast Food – McD (lasted 4 weeks)
Dishwasher, Janitor in HS
Door to door sales (I was nearly attacked by a wolf)
Library Assistant in HS and College
Door to door sales of Encyclopedias (I was terrible at this!)
Home Economics Sewing Lab Assistant in College
Recreation Therapy Aide at Saint Helena Hospital
Nursing Home night person – – (age 18 and the only one working all night –
– – laundry and kitchen duties – only lasted 3 nights)
Pattern Dept Attendant for fabric store
At Home Mom (18 years- 3 kidlets – now 21 to 28)
S/E – Wake Creations – Custom Sewing
Teacher – sewing lessons though fabric store
Home Economics HS Teacher – 1 year ***
Tupperware Sales – not good at it
Teacher – Pfaff sewing machines & serger use
S/E – Kozy Kid – Custom Infant Car Seat Covers, Clovis CA
Kids Bedding and Room Décor
S/E – independent Prototype work for others
Substitute Teacher
Disability Assistant to child with Autism
School Librarian
In-Home Child Care (there’s not mine)
2000 Census – door to door work again
Partylite Candle Sales – evenings – again not so good
Service of Emergency Call Systems – for Seniors’ and Disabled
Licensed Life Insurance, LTC Ins & Securities with Primerica
State of CA – EDD
Caregiver for parents
S/E – owner Decker Design Company
Created Ergotrans Patient Transfer Harness – at it for 13 yrs now

*** The HS teaching job – I was hired the night school started, did not know where my classroom was the next morning, the office staff thought that I was a lost student when I asked where my classroom was. – My daughter was 18 mos when I started and I went through 9 different babysitters for her in those 9 months. It was not worth the stress to stay with that job.
.-= Sindy´s last blog ..Ergotrans patient transfer into a vehicle with slide board =-.

Ryan February 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm

@ Sindy – Wow, that’s quite a list. It would be interesting to hear more about your current business experience and how you got started with ergotrans patient transfer harness.
.-= Ryan´s last blog ..Hiking Diamond Head and Snorkeling In Waikiki =-.

Jeremy Johnson February 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Let’s see, from what I can first remember to now

* Assistant to my dad, cleaning his rental properties (childhood).
* Data entry for library cards (post high school, college) – the biggest challenge with this job was staying awake while I did it.
* Teacher’s assistant at the college I was going to – this one was fun! I got to go around the room and answer students questions and solve their problems.
* Web developer (post college) – the sole developer for a company called knowligent.com – not jsut the developer – the server admin, designer, programmer, customer support, database admin, etc… – thankfully a less involved job came along
* Web tester – Worked at a credit card processing company and wrote automated tests, but it got too mundane for me and I moved on again.
* Content engineer – My first stint at Ancestry.com – great company, I helped manage the information for their many databases. I had a side gig with a guy I meant in high school helping him with his drop shipping supplier website. It paid me about $5,000 monthly, and I think he saw my cut as getting too high, lol, and he created a startup which I left Ancestry to do.
* Startup (shall not be named :)) – A year of doing website development here with a company that simply crashed and burned due to greed, corruption, leadership issues, the standard startup thorns.
* Back at Ancestry.com doing web development – and that’s where I am now working full time. It’s a great flexible job and I really like the people I work with!

I’ve spent most of my career in a cube in front of a computer… No wonder I want to try something different on my own, not related to web development 🙂 But it certainly helps that my day job pays well and the people there rock.
.-= Jeremy Johnson´s last blog ..How To Be A Hot Nerd =-.

ElleX February 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Sales clerk at clothing store
Work/study in college – Resident Hall Assistant
Sales Associate @ Macy’s
Work/study in college – Assist in the Admissions office
Avon sales (bust)
Receptionist in HR dept.
Water Purfication sales – lasted one presentation – LOL
Sales Associate @ Rich’s department store
Relief District Manager for Newspaper
Third Key Manager @ a modular clothing store
Receptionist (through temp service) @ outside play gym company
Receptionist (through temp service) @ sales company
Receptionist (through temp service) @ Insurance company
Cashier at Bi-Lo (part-time)
Receptionist @ another insurance company
Underwriter trainee @ insurance company
Underwriter assistant @ insurance carrier (when previous company closed)
Cashier @ Harris-Teeter (part-time)
Technical Assist @ P&C insurance carrier
Avon salesperson (bust)
Pre-Paid Legal Sales Associate
Cashier @ Eckerd Drug (part-time)
Senior Underwriting Assistant @ a P&C insurance carrier
Took 3 months off – effectively unemployed
Underwriter assistant – P&C insurance carrier
Photographer assistant – GREAT part-time job
Credit Repair MLM – was talked into it – couldn’t bear to sell this to anyone
Business Analyst @ insurance carrier
Home based Travel Agent (Self Employed) – best job ever until my illness
Service Representative @ Financial Services company

Wow…it didn’t seem like so many until I started writing them down.

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