I’ve been thinking about all the various jobs I’ve held during my life. I remembered that even as a 10-year old child, I dreamed about being financially independent in the way that I worked for money and could live on my own – I wanted to be like the kids in the Boxcar Children books. Looking back, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I would eventually dream about being financially independent in the way that I didn’t have to work for anyone. I often wonder how I turned out that way.
Here’s a list of all the paying jobs I can remember, in semi-chronological order. As you can see, I’ve always been firmly on the nerd/geek side of things. As a kid, I remember listing my future job as “scientist”.
- Restaurant cashier/host
- Fast food drive-thru window dude
- Country club food server
- SAT/ACT/math tutor (high school)
- Undergraduate research summer intern
- Engineering summer intern
- Academic paper proofreader / chart maker / equation maker
- Campus security staff
- Parking lot attendant
- Tennis instructor
- University bookstore cashier
- University psychology department test monkey
- Math/physics/writing tutor (college)
- Graduate student researcher
- Graduate student instructor (physics, thermodynamics)
- Engineering consultant
- Freelance writer
- Freelance web designer
- Owner of various websites with advertising
Work has been good to me. My stints in restaurants taught me that lots of people work very hard for very little money, which made me study harder. Being an working graduate student taught me that I could eat and live quite happily on an income of less than $18k a year, something I might not have learned had I went straight into a corporate job. I met my wife while working for campus security. How many jobs have you had, and which ones changed your life?