Not sure what you want to do in life? Or maybe you just want a little odd job for an extra income while you’re busy working on your dreams. Maybe you’re bored and want a little side hustle to keep things interesting while you’re still busy finding yourself?
Like a lot of people, you feel like you’ve probably reached a point in your life where you need to go find yourself. Since this process can take a while, it’s a good idea to start doing some odd jobs here and there.
The way to figure out your purpose is to first figure out a bit more about yourself and how the world works.
I used my twenties to figure who I am, what I want and how the world works. If you’re doing the same, you are very likely to encounter the following:
- At some point, you will have an existential crisis.
- You will want to reinvent yourself many times over.
- You will find out things that will make you doubt everything you have ever learned.
- You will go through a phase where you disapprove of where you come from.
- You will get angry with your parents and teachers and the way they brought you up.
- You will want to change your personality.
- You will come to regret giving up on things.
- You will get stuck in the messy middle of the road towards your dreams.
- You will make peace with where you came from.
- You will forgive your parents and your teachers and start blaming yourself.
- You will stop blaming yourself.
- You will come out stronger.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s look at some odd jobs I did in my twenties to sustain myself while going through this rollercoaster of emotions.
Teaching English Abroad
My first job after university was teaching English in Korea. Even though English isn’t my first language and I had no experience in teaching, I was young and eager and learned how to do it right.
This was a great job and paid really well. After two years I had enough to travel around for a while and experience more of what the world had to offer.
At this point, I was still in my early twenties and was in no way, whatsoever closer to figuring out who I am and what I wanted to do.
Through a series of events, I ended up in Washington State where I worked on a cannabis farm for a few months. I figured living very basic and working on the land, will help me let go of all worldly distractions – leaving a place for my authentic self to emerge.
Anyone can go live and work on a farm, through WOOFING (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). There’s a whole community out there for people who want to go volunteer on farms as part of their soul-searching journey.
Even though I did find out some things about myself while living on the farm, I still didn’t feel as if I’ve reached my authentic self yet, or whatever that means.
Still wanting to do the volunteering thing, I joined Workaway (another community which allows people to volunteer in exchange for accommodation) and moved to Cape Town where I started working in a hostel.
This was a fun way to do something different and to meet new people.
Keep in mind that Workaway and Woofing don’t pay, but it’s a great way to go to new exciting places and save some money on accommodation, whilst learning a new skill.
The Film Industry and other odd jobs
The film industry is huge and there are many ways to be a part of it.
For a while, I was a stylist’s assistant. I basically followed a stylist around and learned her trade while being paid a little something for my time.
I got to experience all the behind-the-scenes of photoshoots and commercial shoots and got to visit prop houses filled from floor to ceiling with anything you can ever imagine!
At about the same time, I also worked as an extra in commercials. This is a great opportunity to get in front of the camera if you have no background in acting. You just sign up with a company and they place you in ads. Now the pay isn’t great, but most of the day you have free time and you can use this time to work on other side projects.
My favourite. I’ve house-sitted in many different places and I’ve ended up at the coolest houses. Whenever a friend of a friend goes out of town, I’m there to take care of their dogs, chickens and you name it.
You get to change your scenery for a few days and if you do it right, it can feel like a little vacation to renew you.
As long as you have a laptop and internet, you can do other work from wherever.
Definitely not my favourite, but if you do it right, at the right place, you can make quite a lot of extra money.
I first worked as a cocktail waitress at some expensive bar thinking I would make a ton of money. After the third day, I was tired of flirting and being flirted with and my tips dropped dramatically. I also struggled to be awake at night and sleeping all day and this journey ended pretty quickly.
A few months later, I started working as a wine hostess on a wine farm and this was much better. With a beautiful setting and day drunk tourists, this gig was quite enjoyable.
Social Media Marketer
After moving back to my hometown after many years of being out and about, I started doing social media marketing with a friend.
There’s a big demand with small businesses looking for people to help them shine on the internet and if you’re willing to put in some time and learn the basics, you can offer your assistance to anyone.
Now notice that except for teaching abroad, none of the jobs mentioned above needs any degree or special skill that you can’t learn for free somewhere on the internet
Again, except for teaching abroad (because it’s actually a full-time job), none of these will make you rich fast, but they will help sustain your pocket for an extra few months at a time to allow you to continue your journey of self-discovery.
Maybe one of these side-hustles will stick and you will decide to pursue it as a career and make something with it, or maybe they won’t. What they will do though, is help you buy bread for a little bit longer and give you a world of experience that you wouldn’t have been able to dream of had you not done them.
Life is a journey and you have a lot of time to kill while you’re out there finding yourself. Go and do some odd jobs. You won’t be sorry.
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