Many eclectic jobs led me to where I am today:
Here is a short list, in no logical order:
- Paid Baritone for a Presbyterian church.
- Insurance agent for Mutual of Omaha.
- Basic construction, ripping up sidewalks, building fences, etc.
- English teacher in Taiwan.
- Art model for my college’s life modeling class.
- Volunteer firefighter (no pay, but a unique experience)
- Balloon Twister 4 Tips in countless restaurants.
- Owner of a balloon twisting talent agency.
- Burger flipper at Dairy Queen.
- Waiter at many different restaurants.
- Lifeguard at several lakes and pools across South Jersey.
- Swim Instructor for children.
- Rollerblade instructor in Taiwan.
- Selling gold plating services to car dealerships.
- Selling deregulated energy door to door.
- Managing large door to door crews that sold deregulated energy.
- Selling underwater scuba camera equipment over the phone.
- Selling mortgages over the phone.
- Selling employment advertising over the phone.
- Selling solar and energy efficiency door to door, in NJ, PA and FL.
- Selling cars (mostly Toyota) in MD and FL.
- Mowing lawns and basic landscaping.
- Auctioneer’s assistant and go-to (when I was 12 years old)
- Delivery driver for Naple’s pizza in Mullica Hill.
- Substitute teacher all over South Jersey (my 3rd year in college)
- Package sorter on the midnight shift at UPS.
- Direct Sales with Amway and Life Leadership.
- Getting paid from sales of my first book on Amazon.
- Sales consulting for 2 marketing firms in Philadelphia.
- Goofed off with the EB-5 investment program in Taiwan, never made a dime.
- Imported Super Sonic Spheres from Taiwan, same result as #30.
I’ve tried so many unusual things in my life that nothing is that weird or unfamiliar.
In college every single time I got fired from one job (I had a big mouth and it got me in hot water) I would look around and try something different.
I feel bad for the person who turns 18, gets a job that he hates, then stays in that job for 40 years because he is hooked to a measly paycheck. How boring, right?
Be open to new ideas and experiences, and as you get older you will continually expand your comfort zone. When you stretch yourself you will learn how to be resilient and adjust to anything.
Trying many different things also teaches you to be resourceful, a great quality to develop whether you are an entrepreneur, teacher or any profession.
Once you’ve taken off every stitch of clothing in front of a room full of art students, or traveled 12 time zones away on a ONE WAY ticket to a foreign country to work, everything else is small potatoes.
I started Balloon Distractions (when I was 29) because I never found a job that I actually liked.
Previous to that I could never hold a job longer than 24 months.
When you move OUT, way OUT, from your comfort zone you will gain tremendous confidence and trust in yourself. After living in Taiwan and learning how to speak a bit of Mandarin Chinese I was not afraid to live somewhere very far from what I knew growing up.
Moving to Florida in 2003? No big deal, at least it’s still in the USA.
Consequently I feel at home everywhere I go here in the States. The entire USA is within my comfort zone. As I traveled around the United States building Balloon Distractions I always felt at home, whether in Seattle, Miami or Houston.
A little job or hobby that you try out in college can lead to something significant down the road. When I was twisting balloons in college I never would have guessed that it would lead to Balloon Distractions.
More recently I got involved in residential and commercial solar with Tampa Bay Solar. Here I was, learning a totally new industry at 43 years old! I’ve been making a great income and learning a ton. I feel like a million bucks.
Be thrilled by the potential of the unexpected, and don’t hesitate to get out of your own comfort zone! The only thing you risk by trying something new is loss of time.
blog was originally written in 2014, updated in May of 2017.