Two Jobs Every Person Should Try Before “Growing Up”

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by Ryan

I like to take advice from old people. They’ve seen more, done more, and often have made the mistakes that I’d like to avoid in life. Older people are wiser (most of the time), they’re often much more content, and they have qualities I lack. Patience and a greater sense of what this thing they call life means. I still remember one piece of advice an old man gave me when I was starting out in my early days of college. He was a stock broker for most of his life, but in the last decade had started a popular Irish pub in my hometown. He said “I think every young person starting out in life should be either a bartender or a cab driver”… I responded “why?”

Can You Start a Conversation With Anyone?

If you’re a good cab driver or bartender you’ll have gained the ability to speak to anyone. You see all kinds of people at the bar or in your cab so you have to be able to communicate with each one in order to get the highest return from the situation… your tip. Before I started bartending in college I was sooooo incredibly shy, but putting myself in that situation made me overcome my fears and develop new skills.

What do You Gain by Being Able to Talk to People?

Self confidence… the ability to sell anything, the ability to understand others and read what they want. Better communication and higher confidence will also help you more with the opposite sex :). The list goes on and on, but anytime you’re dealing with another person you’re using this skill. To gain the conversation practice that’s helpful don’t bartend at a nightclub, get a job instead at an upscale restaurant where the clientele is more select and you’ll have to actually talk to the customers.

Think About Intangible Benefits of a Job

Although many people simply look at the tangible benefits of a job, that is, a paycheck, there are often underlying benefits that make it much more beneficial. Are you gaining new skills for free? How about experiences that will allow you to make more money in the future? Perhaps simply working with someone who is prominent in your industry is the perk. Either way, money, at least in my mind, is not the overriding indicator as to whether or not I’ll take a job.

In my opinion, being a bartender really isn’t hard work. I actually prefer the job of bartender of that of desk jockey. Why? Because I get to move around and I feel better when I’m moving around, it also helps me from getting fat by sitting all day. I get to talk to people who are on vacation and have fun with them. I get to be the guy who makes people their favorite beverage. I get to have fun with co-workers who are close to my age rather than feeling like the young outcast in the office (which has happened and is not fun at all). The money isn’t bad and it supports my other endeavors until they take off and support themselves. This of course is only a strategy for someone who is financially responsible, isn’t an alcoholic, and who has goals other than bartending to get financially ahead.

When I’m an old wise man one day (knock on wood) I hope to share similar advice from any young person starting out as well. Go tend bar or drive a cab, even if you do it part time while you’re working your full time gig, just so you learn to talk to your fellow human beings. Learning this skill will take your further than you could possibly imagine. You may have your CPA, your CFP, your MBA, and all the other skills in the world, but until you can effectively communicate with other human beings you’ll never be successful.

What other jobs do you think young people starting out should take to gain the intangible benefits that will help them later on?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Austin @ April 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Ryan, that’s an excellent post!

Another one I can think of is — social service (of course, not for the money). May be just visiting an old age home and see what you can do. You’ll have more old people and wiser things one could learn from ’em.

Financial Samurai April 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I was a McDonald’s cash register person during high school. Needed a lot of confidence, especially if the chick you dig walks up and barks an order at you!

Communication really is important. Give me a great communicator over a brilliant mind any day.

Hows the tips treating you Ryan?
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Don’t Have Children If You Can’t Take Care Of Yourself =-.

RainyDaySaver April 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I think any sort of retail or service-oriented job will help build communication skills, and also show you the good and bad side of folks out there. Sort of like an initiation into the ‘real world.’
.-= RainyDaySaver´s last blog ..Home Remedies: Yea or Nay? =-.

bigjobsboard April 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm

I think those customer service jobs may just be one of those job types that could improve communication with people. a bartender job is one good example if you ask me.
.-= bigjobsboard´s last blog ..Testimonial =-.

Ryan April 20, 2010 at 6:34 am

Any job which is communication-based is beneficial. Business is based on being able to effectively communicate with people. Even if the service you’re offering isn’t great people may buy it from you if you build a relationship with them. The relationship is built on your ability to communicate.

I worked in customer service for one of the world’s largest private software resellers. I hated the job but the people skills acquired during this time were crucial. When you can allay someone’s concerns, field their complaints, and build their confidence in you it’s easier to make money from any venture in which you’re engaged.
.-= Ryan´s last blog ..The Top 7 Cash Gifting Questions Of All Time Answered Today! =-.

Noah Rainey April 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Haha, how long were you a bartender?
.-= Noah Rainey´s last blog ..Nofollow or Follow Links? =-.

Arlene April 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Other jobs that come into close contact with people are working in a Gym or a department shoe store or any sales job that requires talking with people one on one and last, teaching in any field will always gave you the skills that you need.
.-= Arlene´s last blog ..Creativity the spark to life =-.

Craig Ford April 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

I loved this post. I think especially when you are younger if you work the biggest benefits will come when you are older. The money really won’t make a big difference on your future, however what you learn will make some serious contributions to how life looks 10 years down the road.
.-= Craig Ford´s last blog ..What To Do When God Gives Bad Financial Advice =-.

Scott Barron April 23, 2010 at 8:57 am

I’ve been a bartender, so I can scratch that off my list. I doubt I’ll ever drive a cab. First, I loathe driving. Second, there aren’t many cabs here in the suburbs and they’re not in high demand.

I agree with Ryan, customer service is extremely demanding. It’s an eye opening experience that everyone should share. Specifically working on the phones in a call center! I believe this is important because each and every one of us will speak with a customer service representative on the phone.

The place or company is incidental, but the experience will teach people “how” to treat other people when they call. I have a whole new respect for customer service representatives now. Try talking to 60 – 80 grumpy people all day, blaming you for things out of your control, yelling and expect you to care. I spent 2 years being called, “You people.”

Out of my customer service experience, I believe cell phone customer service is the 100% worst of callers. Our culture will tolerate a number of inconveniences and trouble, but if it’s their cell phone…watch out!
.-= Scott Barron´s last blog ..Earth Day 2010: My Pledge =-.

Daniel Johnston April 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I certainly agree; in large part. Communication and human relationships are two of the biggest component’s of being successful in the game of life. I am currently very shy, but if I have something to say I can definitely say it with confidence. I just don’t say much because I often feel there’s nothing to say, so I don’t say anything. Working one of those two jobs would help that.

I know I wouldn’t be able to be a bartender, though; I just hate alcohol (I’ve actually never drank any) and people who do drink it (a little is fine with me, but most people at bars, I assume have too much).

Being a cabdriver would help, however, I really don’t think it’s a good option for me. I think I can learn to communicate as an entrepreneur just by doing it. Also, a lot of my journey’s are online, where the hesitation is often small to me (if any). It’s an investment, but I’m not really sure if it’s worth all the time and energy it would take to do it when you could learn on the job).

A quick list of other jobs that I think would hold the same benefit are as a sales person at a store, a telemarketer, a custom service representative, and a tour-guide.

Olivia April 27, 2010 at 7:02 am

One of the most eye opening experiences was an early job as a sales clerk at Lord and Taylor’s. (After high school and before college.) It’s amazing the variety of people that shop there and the expectations they bring. It made me much more appreciative of anyone working in a service job, and as you noted, pushed a normally shy person out into the world a bit, and forced me to polish a personal dressing style. All useful for the “real world”.

margaret April 27, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Ever since a stint at Red Lobster as a server when I couldn’t get another job, I have talked about how every person should be required to work in a restaurant.
I have since eaten with people who are rude to the servers, and I never go with them again.

Aury (Thunderdrake) April 28, 2010 at 11:10 am

I’m a strong advocate of employee work as a means of learning, rather than a means to make a living or income.

I wanted to become a bartender myself, as the pay is not only fair, but it has a level of prestige to it as well. But I wanted to learn it to socialize as well.

I wonder if it’s still possible? But I’ll be damned if I could land a position like that!
.-= Aury (Thunderdrake)´s last blog ..The Hoarding Dragon – The difference between knowledge and experience =-.

Personal Finance May 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm

You have a good mind but that’s not how the seniors are treated in America.
.-= Personal Finance´s last blog ..Sincere Millions Caused To Suffer Needlessly – A Naive Look =-.

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