The Odd Man In

I remember as a child I wanted to be an artist.  I had my heart set on creating beautiful pieces that people would admire and talk about.  At one point, I even wanted to work at Disney, because they had wonderful artists that made movies come to life (mind you, I was 7 then and was madly in love The Little Mermaid movie).  But my career aspirations have change since.  In fact, where I envisioned myself working has changed a few times as I was propelling towards adulthood.  Even after adulthood, my aspirations changed.  I find myself at times thinking about all the odd jobs I’ve had — whether working through school, or just working through life — I don’t think I ever really saw myself having my own business.  Maybe because I thought it was an arrogant notion, or maybe because I thought that only certain people got to live those kinds of lives.  Whatever the reason, I laugh thinking about all the odd jobs I took on and how they seem so disconnected from where I am now.

How they seemed disconnected…

  • I definitely did the baby-sitting thing a few times.  Probably why I’m not so fond of kids now.
  • I tutored.  I think some of my friends would laugh if they knew that.
  • I worked as an inventory taker, which was a sporadic job that only offered the night shift.
  • I worked on campus at one point as a student evaluator.  I got to grade the services that were provided to students on campus.  Not too shabby.
  • I worked as an Administrative Assistant.  Yeah, that title always sounds fancier than what it really is.
  • I also worked as a General Office Clerk.  Very similar to an administrative assistant without the fancy name.
  • I was an assembly line person for a local newspaper near the university I attended.  Got to put the paper together.  That too was a another night shift job on a fully loaded academic schedule.
  • I was a banquet server.  For like SIX WEEKS!  Although I never dropped a dish, I was always afraid I was going that one day where I would spill something hot and steaming on a guest.  I nipped that fear in the bud… by leaving.
  • One of my longest gigs in my early 20s was when I worked at a department store.  I was the men’s fragrance lady.  Yeah.  I sold men fragrances.  By the way, men don’t buy fragrances nearly as often as women do.
  • I worked as some kind of personal assistant.  I say it like that because the job and title weren’t definitive, but I definitely was helping out someone with a lot of personal issues.
  • I had another gig with no real title or definitive description — I assisted a woman who owned her own graphic design business, by standing around and watching her put things away.  Her idea.
  • I worked as a remote Marketing Assistant for a real estate couple.  A little a fun, a little mundane, but one of the more interesting works.
  • Had my share of volunteering as well: local city campaigns here in Los Angeles, volunteered with the Central Station of the LAPD — now, THAT was exciting and if you want stories, you gotta email me.  And  I also volunteered as a Reading Tutor for the LA Public Library’s literacy program for adult learners.  If you have the heart and mind of making a difference, start in that neck of the woods.

Kind of a hefty list if you knew the time frame those jobs all took place under. But the one thing I gathered when I compiled this list for myself years ago strategizing my business plan, was that I tend to work and volunteer in positions of assistance.  Not because those simply were the only jobs available, but because that’s where I excel at.  I excel in helping others excel.  My service is to be of service.  It’s not a coincidence that my business rests on my personal strengths, as they should for any business owner.  It’s just me finally meeting up where I was suppose to be.

What odd jobs have you worked that actually gave you a hidden skill?


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