For a list of all the jobs I've had in 14 different industries, click here .
My first job was retail sales at a large department store when I was 17 and still in high school. I left home at age 18 and took a full-time job to support myself at a branch of a local bank. I soon realized that if I wanted to get ahead, I'd better go to college, so I did, while working full time. I got my bachelors degree in business in seven years! I got hired right out of college at a high tech company as a staff accountant to start. I spent about seven years there in a variety of departments from finance to logistics and product support. While I loved college and got good grades, I hated the large corporation that I worked for. I felt like a small cog in a big machine. That was when I first decided that life was too short to spend 40 or more hours per week at a job I hated. But what to do? We all know what we don't want to do, but determining what we do want is usually much harder. It took me a long time to figure it out. This was in the early 90s and "follow your bliss" had become the mantra of the day. So I thought, what do I do for fun? What am I interested in? How do I spend my free time? And how can I make money at any of those things?
The 180 degree change
It took me about two years to figure out that I wanted to work in health or fitness somehow and from that I decided to pursue training as a massage therapist. Quite a change from accounting and business, but once I became a massage therapist and ran my own business all that education served me very well! So I became a massage therapist and in time opened my own practice. I loved it! I ran my massage practice for 17 years total. I loved being self-employed. I loved helping my clients to feel better. I loved the continuing education I took (I am a school junkie). During that time I explored becoming a psychotherapist as an adjunct to my massage practice. Long story short, the field was changing at that time and private practice psychotherapy was going away. I completed all my coursework toward a masters degree in psychology before I decided to stop pursuing that path. But again I loved the masters program and my education did help me in dealing with my clients, and other people, over the years (Sidebar: education is never a waste of time or money, it will always serve you somehow).
Multiple streams of income
During my career as a massage therapist I had other jobs as well. Because I was self-employed, I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I managed a rental property I owned and took a job as an area consultant for a membership organization I belonged to called Leads Club. It is an organization where business owners get together for structured networking and business building. So I was a "supervisor" for about five local chapters. It was a lot of fun and I met many, many wonderful business owners. I also taught professional level massage training courses to other massage therapists in my area and became involved in my local chapter of the AMTA as their public relations chair person. I learned to successfully market my massage practice and taught other therapists how to market theirs. So I accidentally, without planning it, created multiple streams of income for myself, a concept that has since gained popularity through the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books. I loved the variety in my work life, the many different people I got to interact with on a daily basis and the freedom to set my own schedule. As a massage therapist my clients always said Thank You and appreciated what I did for them. No one in my corporate job ever said Thank You!
For love or money?
But back to my story- In the late 90s I had a friend who had been very successful as a mortgage broker and I as much as I loved my massage practice, I wanted to increase my income potential. I got licensed as a mortgage broker and took a job with the agency that my friend worked for. That was a disaster! It is a very tough business to get into and can be very cut throat. I spent about 2 years in that field, not making any money and frustrated with my lack of success. I felt a huge failure, but the moral of that story is to never get into a business or take a job simply due to the money you think you might make. It doesn't work. When you are trying to figure out what you want to do your first question should be what do I love to do? And secondly, How can I serve others? My motivation was purely for the money. Lesson learned.
In the late 90s I had gotten into long distance running and was volunteer coaching with my running club. I met Danny Dreyer, who was just introducing his Chi Running method and learned how to do Chi Running. A few years later Danny put out the call for others who wanted to become certified instructors. By now you know what a learning junkie I am, and I really believed in Chi Running, so I took the training and became a certified Chi Running Instructor. I loved to run and teach so I got to do both and get paid for it. Ka-Ching! That's how job selection should happen.
A new path into non-profits
After about 12 years of doing massage work, I knew that I didn't want to work that hard physically for the rest of my life, so I cut my massage practice to half time and got a part-time job. I found a job at a non-profit organization in their development department. I had never worked in a non-profit before and had not even considered it, but the job seemed to fit my skill set. It turned out to be one of the best jobs I've ever had. I learned a lot about the mission of our organization as well as fundraising. I worked with the greatest boss I have ever had. We clicked right away and worked seamlessly together. That lasted about 2.5 years and my beloved boss left and the job was just not the same. So I took another job as a facility manager for a local historical foundation. It was a very unique situation in that I took care of an 1878 Victorian house that had been transformed into offices. It was a great job that served me well for 3 years. I then decided that I wanted to get my masters degree in business, something that had been a long-term dream and felt that this was a good time to do it. So I went back to school and completed my MBA. During that time I worked as an office manager for a small management consulting firm. That job didn't provide me with much professional growth or learning, but fit my schedule while I completed my masters degree.
The grass isn't always greener on the other side
Upon completing my MBA I decided it was time to quit my massage practice for good and get a "real" job. I had been self-employed for about 18 years at this point and was suffering from "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" syndrome. After having been responsible for myself for all those years, the thought of getting a job that paid me a salary every week, paid for my insurance and paid me to take vacation sounded really sweet. Because I had good experiences in the past in the non-profit sector, I looked there for a full-time job. I got hired as an executive assistant at a local arts organization that I had known and appreciated my entire life. I got hired there in 2008 and we all know what happened to the job market in 2009 through today. The environment for non-profits was dismal and my organization underwent severe budget cuts. I was lucky just to keep my job, but it became clear that there was no growth opportunity with the organization. After 4 years I decided it was time to become CEO of my own career again.
A new chapter
I am again self-employed, creating multiple streams of income (on purpose this time) and so excited about my future. I got licensed as a notary public about a year ago and began working as an independent agent in that field. We all can make mistakes and that was one for me. Turns out, I did not like the work at all, it was very stressful for me and I made very little money. So on to new things! I will be doing my first "Cure for Sunday Night Syndrome" workshop in a few months, so my speaking/training career is just starting. I have also created this website so am learning tons about internet business, something I had never done before. (check out my resources page if you want to start a web based business) I have ideas for a couple of other revenue streams that I am working on too. I love being in charge of my own destiny, rather than being dependent on someone else. Remember, no one cares about your career or income like you do!