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20 Cool Jobs for Unconventional People (No Matter How Old You Are)

20 Cool Jobs for Unconventional People (No Matter How Old You Are)

At a certain point in my life, I thought I would be a scuba instructor. Bronzed and toned, living care free in the Maldives mingling with fabulous people. It seemed like a perfectly original undertaking that suited me. After all, there I was just finishing my dive master training on the tepid shores of Costa Rica.

Top of the list for cool jobs, right?

But considering a new instructor garners an annual salary of $20,000 USD, there were bolder (and more financially sound) paths to pursue. Yet I was inspired. Inspired by the water, the physical activity, the challenge and learning. That was 15 years ago. I went on to continue to wear numerous hats in a life of unique jobs.

Like many unconventional people, standing in the full power of our desire for learning allows us to seek opportunities around the fringes of convention. Sometimes the unusual, the unexpected, and yes, the inspiring. So, I’ve put together 20 positively perfect cool jobs for your unique calling.

You may be thinking; how does this apply to me? The average person thinks about doing things. They talk, do some planning, and they wonder. That’s where they get stuck.

Unconventional people have the guts and creativity to carry out their pursuits and make up the workforce of the unusual. So how do you find the job you love, now?

Listen to your powerful inner voice and follow up on those curiosities.

The unconventional do not follow a simple formula, we make it up along the way, and are not afraid of that influence. If you possess humor, humility, articulation, curiosity, creativity, persistence, are a bit of a rebel, don’t bow to intimidation, and freely pair unusual ideas, you may be ready for any one of these unique jobs.

But if you’re an unconventional person, you likely already knew that. You’ve felt the pull to the outskirts and are fully deserving of your hard-won labor and wisdom. Pursue away!

Experiencing the fullness and efficiency of your truth creates a positive effect. Here are 20 unconventionally cool jobs to consider. Some of these give me butterflies just thinking about the possibilities.

1. White Hat Hacker

Black hat hackers are the ones you hear about in the news and threaten our online security.

In our connected digital world, we need to be safe. That is where the White Hat Hacker comes in, creating digital roads for our security.

Used to counter cyber- attacks, viruses and other barriers to our digital safety. They often are recruited from the “dark side” of black hat hackers.

2. Touring Race Car Driver

    Ever thought about zooming around the racetrack and winning? Most race car drivers start at a young age and have a competitive streak.

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    Shea Holbrook started at 16 and went on to win the Pirelli World Challenge and own her own race car team.

    Feel like you were born for a cool job? Competitive pursuits like this one require practiced technical skill and a desire for adrenaline.

    3. Sommelier

    A sommelier is a trained professional and wine steward that specializes in fine wines and high-end service.

    Have a flair for subtleties, smells, tastes and great conversation? Then a strategic spot with a private collection, winery, or fine dining location could set off your cool job radar.

    Trying to pair your steak with the best Napa red? Ask your sommelier.

    4. Golf Ball Diver

      Golfers try to avoid water hazards, but many golf balls find their way to a watery grave.

      Golf Ball Divers seek them out and rescue the many lost golf balls for courses around the world. That’s one way to make a living and have fun explaining it at a party.

      5. On Call Musician

      Musicians are notorious for being creative and unconventional, so what better way to evoke coolness than being a musician?

      On call musicians are therapeutic in ways that bring music to those that need it for healing, relaxation, and in less than ideal situations.

      There are groups that do this informally and formally, and Musicians on Call is an outlet for people to enjoy music with an option to join in for their own form of therapy.

      Music plays a large roll in emotion, and this is a great way to for a musical outlet.

      6. Traveling Outdoor Guide

      Creating a unique experience and unforgettable vacation is the work of outdoor guides. Trek guide, bike guide, expedition guide – it all requires a flexible, fun, safe attitude with a side of mental fortitude.

      It’s a tough job with plenty of rewards that allows you to become a seasoned traveler, constant learner and master of all trades. Being physically fit will give you a one up in this position.

      Certain safety, medical, survival and outdoor training are required with others needing more technical skills (biking, climbing and diving for a start).

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      Often this unique job creates an intoxicating connection to the environment and culture, paired with high end service and Michelin style meals on the go.

      It’s about making every day the ultimate vacation of a lifetime. I know first hand, doing this seasonally around the world.

      7. National Park Ranger

        If you enjoy educating, meeting new people and being in nature, the sometimes-solitary position of park ranger may be a perfect fit.

        The U.S. National Park Service overseas the safety and conservation of our designated parks with the foresight to keep them healthy for the future. This gives you the opportunity to learn about the environment and interact with people and wildlife in iconic natural lands.

        Looking to share your love of camping? Why not share the historic lands of National Parks?

        8. Air Traffic Controller

        Air traffic controllers continue to be one of the fastest growing jobs (and one of the highest stress levels) with the FAA.

        It’s slated, there will be a need for 10,000 air traffic controllers over the next decade. It does require a certain personality able to watch several monitors simultaneously while relaying information and keeping those lives in the air safe.

        Did I mention this is all done in a dark room filled with glowing computer screens and your own personal security access?

        9. White House & Celebrity Chef

        Celebrity chefs often work with personal trainers to coordinate meal planning with results for many celebrities in the spotlight, along with those that compete on national fitness levels.

        Executive chefs at The White House have the heavy task of planning, managing and preparing effective meals for our nation’s top family. This includes catering for parties, events, and the families entertaining.

        The pressure is on in all cases, since those chefs want to be innovative and provide consistent quality.

        10. Teaching English in Nepal (or around the world)

        Teaching basic conversational English often requires a bachelor’s degree or training through a placement institute with an option to live around the world. There are both paid and volunteer positions with flexibility to create your teaching plan.

        Volunteers in the Teaching English to Buddhist Monks Program provide conversational English to Tibetan children in Nepal. They also organize creative educational activities to further increase their teaching skills.

        Just think of a cool and interesting place you want to visit. Chances are there is opportunity to teach English.

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        11. Thief Hunter

        These unconventional job titles focus on scam artists, pick pockets, thieves and petty criminals around highly populated tourist areas. The people in these unique positions can be called thrill seekers but are actually providing a service to offset the tourist targets.

        With an element of human research in psychology these bait traps are designed to attract and catch thieves. This may be as close as you get to being Bat Man, and it’s all caught on camera.

        12. Smoke Jumper

          A rookie smoke jumper organizes himself after a tower jump at the McCall, ID smokejumper base.

          Smoke Jumping is dangerous and thrilling job that puts fire fighters on the scene first to try to maintain it before it hits a higher level of ignition.

          Wild land firefighters who smoke jump, parachute into remote fire areas and utilize skilled hard work and techniques to suppress fires.

          If you want an adventure with a side of real danger, this is one modern day job with plenty of reward. Many of these hero’s have shown tremendous bravery.

          13. Aircraft Repo

          Ready to fly a plane or whisk away a helicopter? Aircraft repossession is a skilled craft (literally) and requires a clean background, healthy medical record, pilots license and FAA clearance.

          Repos can include flying helicopters, Jumbo Jets, and Gulf streams that need to be picked up for bankruptcies and repossessing. This takes a lot of nerve and a bit of a personality, since you’re dealing with all reaction levels and often unhappy people.

          14. Cruise Ship Entertainer

          The floating cities of the cruise industry have every form of entertainment you can think of.

          Have a talent in aerial acrobatics, a beautiful singing voice, the perfect comedy pitch or are a stunning bachata dance teacher? Cruise ships have talent and are always on the lookout for innovative people to join their mega ships and keep the crowds happy.

          Unconventional personalities make up much of the seasonal and year-round work on board while providing highly produced shows. Plus, you’ll be able to travel.

          15. Sports Commentator

          Sports can be intense so a soothing (or animated) voice to call out the play by play and add in a bit of humor is appreciated.

          Commentators are celebrities in their own right and often make promotional and marketing appearances. After all people want to know the face behind the game analysis, their views and insider tips on the sport.

          Their number one job is to keep the fans engaged and entertained through the game. Game on!

          16. Pet Food Taster

            Human “testing” is needed in the pet industry.

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            Our furry friends may eat what is in front of them, but they can’t give feedback on the taste, texture or nutritional value of their food. That’s where human consumption comes into play, and pet food testers personally taste pet food heading to the market for quality control, safety, and maybe a little honest feedback on the flavor.

            Bacon wrapped steak flavored doggy bites may not just be for your pets. Definitely an original choice in a job.

            17. Underwriter

            Insurance underwriters take the time to assess the real risk and liability of outgoing insurance. That includes who or what it is covering and the possibility of paying out on a loss.

            Insurance may be a safety factor and give us some peace of mind, but it can also be an unconventionally cool job. Especially when you’re insuring high risk athletes, extreme adventurists, or large and costly product, property or policy.

            18. Puggle Handler and All-Around Volunteer

            Like animals? How about unusual and bizarre animals? Being a puggle cuddler could be the answer to your animal career.

            Think of the long snout of an anteater, coarse hair and skin, with the body size and movement of a mini hippo. That’s a baby Echidna. They need lots of love and cuddling, so volunteers give their time in promoting animal health, and get the bonus of the cute and unconventional cuddling back.

            19. Academy Award Ballot Counter

              Celebrities and the elite walk the red carpet in anticipation of the winning names and a lot of high end entertainment. But behind the scenes only the two people who tally and account for the votes know the winning names.

              This is kept very secure and even the announcers have to wait for the final unveiling to know the winning name. Try keeping that under wraps.

              20. Government Astronomer

              Astronomy has a wide scope of study and I often listen to Neil Degrass Tyson’s musings on quarks, black holes and anti-matter discovered in our universe.

              Astronomers can work with many outlets but even better when working with the U.S. government. Many astronomers spend plenty of time researching and visiting observatories throughout the year. Others spend more time outdoors in pursuit of celestial enlightenment. And since there is less radiation from the sun at night, that is when many spend time observing.

              The bottom line

              Some foundational aspects of convention are there for a reason. They work. They’re predictable, and they are timeless in ways that the majority understands.

              But when we dig deeper, convention gets old, overused and uninspiring, especially when people are seeker layers of real transformation faster than someone un-tags themselves from an online photo that makes them look bad.

              What makes you unconventional goes beyond a job title. I’ve reinvented myself several times in my life, and something tells me there are a few more on my list. I thrive in the zone of optimal anxiety.

              In the end, there’s nothing like the privilege of owning yourself and stepping away from the crowd.

              Sometimes we’ve been quiet for so long, we’ve given up on being unconventional. Sometimes we’re told to clear away our most unique traits to make someone else comfortable. But that would be taking away our best parts, and let’s face it, that’s just not us.

              Featured photo credit: Nicole Harrington via unsplash.com

              More by this author

              Liz Galloway

              I'm an idealist, columnist & traveler helping people connect through personal discovery. Stay inspired!

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              Last Updated on August 3, 2020

              How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

              How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

              To make goals or not to make goals, that is the question.

              On the one hand, if you make goals without asking yourself what your true strengths and values are first, you could put yourself on the fast track to disappointment. On the other hand, if you don’t set any intentions at all, you could bounce through life like a pinball doing what others want without accomplishing what’s really important to YOU.

              Fear not. Here are 8 powerful ways to be goal oriented using the ENVISION method (Endgame – Nesting – Value – Inspiration – Superpowers – Intimates – Openess – Nourishment) that will help you create a successful meaningful life:

              1. Start with the End in Mind

              To ensure that you make goals that matter, stand back and examine your life from a broader perspective. Think about the happy ending you would like to achieve, the “E” in ENVISION, and work backwards to determine how you’ll get there.

              For example, if you’d like to generate goals for yourself over the next five years, write down where you’d like to be professionally and personally five years from now. Let nothing hold you back. Just keep that pen moving and see where it leads you.

              Where do you see yourself in relation to work? What’s your family life like? What type of friends and social support group do you have? What are your hobbies? How is your health?

              Next, ask yourself where you would like to be one year from now relative to what you’d like to accomplish in five years. Write the answer out in enough detail so that it seems real to you. Then ask yourself where you’d like to be three months from now. Be specific.

              What about one month? One week? What one small action could you take this week to come closer to achieving your master plan?

              If this exercise seems daunting, don’t worry. It’s actually a fun and eye-opening way to line up your goals with the bigger picture of your life so that you won’t waste your precious time on passing fancies and other people’s agendas.

              I’ve used it with thousands of workshop participants who have rocked their lives. It will work for you, too!

              2. Create Nested Goals

              The most efficient way to achieve your goals is to nest action items inside them, the first “N” in ENVISION. Get specific about when, where, and how you’ll reach your objectives by breaking them down into subgoals.

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              Make your aspirations challenging but not too hard. Each one should be measurable. Instead of writing “I’d like to write a book,” try setting an intention such as “I’d like to write two hours a day four times a week” and mark space on your calendar for it.

              Make your aims positive. Instead of “I’d like to quit my stinking job,” think about what a desirable career would look like. Try “I’d like to develop educational toys with like-minded people in a virtual office” and then send out your résumé to companies with matching job openings.

              Come up with alternative pathways to your goals so that if one doesn’t work, you’ll already have plan B in place. It’s normal to fail and experience setbacks. This goal-oriented strategy will help you move forward on the pathway to your dreams no matter what happens.

              3. Get Clear on Your Values

              Before you start setting goals, it’s important to ask yourself what you really value, the “V” in ENVISION.

              In my creativity workshops, I’ve found that most people don’t get what they want in life because they’re playing out someone else’s idea of who they should be.

              The number one regret of people on their deathbed is that they did not live their dreams. Don’t let that be you. To avoid living a life full of shoulds and obligations, make a wish list. Jot down what you really want and put all the reasons you think you can’t have it aside.

              These aspirations can range from the material (such as a new car) to the psychological (high self-worth), to the spiritual (inner peace), to — well — pretty much anything you can think of. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy.

              Giving yourself permission to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to getting it. Be sure your goals speak to your soul.

              4. Make Time for Inspiration

              As you put your goals together, think about how you can find downtime to receive inspiration in your life, the first “I” in ENVISION.

              Americans put in the longest work hours and get the shortest paid vacation time in the developed world. Those of us “lucky” enough to have jobs have added another day to our work week because we now check work emails and calls from home. It’s no wonder we try to stuff everything we can’t do at work into our off hours.

              But the second regret of the dying is that they wished they didn’t work so hard. Research shows that people who engage in creative hobbies and side projects are happier and flourish more in life because they can generate new ideas and express themselves uniquely.[1] Feeling energized and playful, they get more done in less time, become better problem solvers, and receive better evaluations at work.[2]

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              Make balance a priority in your goal-oriented life. Start a hobby or side project to rejuvenate yourself after the workday ends. Paint, play hockey or try a new dinner recipe. Doing something you love for just a couple of hours a week can significantly improve your life. Like steering a ship slightly to the right, over time you’ll arrive at the destination YOU desire.

              5. Form Goals Around Your Superpowers

              Research shows that people are more likely to succeed when they develop their natural strengths, the “S” in ENVISION, than work on their weaknesses.

              If you don’t know where your true talents lie, try using assessment tools such as Gallup’s CliftonStrengths and psychologist Martin Seligman’s Character Strengths to discover your personal strengths. You can also find your superpowers by answering these questions.

              Each of us has a unique purpose in life. Most of us don’t realize it, though, because we’ve been pressured to conform to someone else’s idea of who we should be. Fear of change and staying in our comfort zones stunts our growth. Stretch yourself and take a risk if you want to find out what makes your heart sing.

              Make an action plan to create a life in which you express your superpowers on a regular basis, whether it be through your vocation, a meaningful side project, a worthy cause, mindful parenting, volunteer work, or whatever else sparks your interest. This goal-oriented strategy guarantees you’ll thrive at work and at home.

              6. Make Time for Intimates

              When setting your goals, be sure to carve out time for your intimates, the second “I” in ENVISION. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “intimate” as “a very close friend or confidant: an intimate friend.”

              The fourth regret of the dying is that they were too busy to see their friends much.[3] Make it a point to connect with real friends, people you can turn to for sympathy when you need it, confide in about most things, and be your true self around.

              A few weeks ago, I suffered from an “eye stroke” and suddenly lost vision in my left eye. I’d moved to Portland nine months before and only knew one busy family I didn’t want to overburden. I was super lonely.

              Because of my vision loss, I needed to ask for rides from people I barely knew to attend meetings of some of the groups I’d joined. These acquaintances are now turning into friends. I couldn’t have made it without their help and the support of friends I’ve known for years scattered around the globe.

              A new Cigna study shows that nearly half of Americans feel alone or left out.[4] According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad at Brigham Young University, the detrimental effects of loneliness is the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.[5] She warns that:

              “Loneliness and social isolation are linked to around a 30 percent increased risk of having a stroke or developing coronary artery disease.”[6]

              I should know.

              Being with your friends is not only good for your soul, but it is also essential for your health and well-being. Put it in your goals.

              7. Open Up Emotionally

              When crafting your goals, be sure to include ways you can open up about your feelings, the “O” in ENVISION. The third regret of the dying is that they wish they’d had the courage to express their true feelings instead of stuffing their emotions down to keep peace with others. To lead a fulfilling life, it’s important to prioritize talking and behaving honestly with others instead of hiding your true feelings.

              According to Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps,[7]

              “Start with identifying your emotions (e.g. angry, hurt) and understanding what triggered you to feel this way.”

              She recommends you try to understand your feelings and practice self-compassion for having them. When you’re calmer, try to understand the person who upset you. What are their emotions? What triggered them? This will help you respect and care about yourself and the other person.

              If there is someone you need to talk to or a situation you’d like to resolve, honor your feelings. Whether it be writing a letter or making a phone call or visiting someone you haven’t seen in years, put it on your goal list. Be sure to meet in a safe environment if you’re confronting someone who has abused or harmed you. Tell the truth as you see it and try to be kind.

              Sharing your genuine feelings may bring you closer together and it may not. It doesn’t really matter how the other person responds. What matters is that you expressed your true self, that you did it for YOU. Make emotional honesty a habit by adding it to your goals.

              8. Nurture Happiness

              To be more goal oriented and succeed in life, nurture the people and activities that bring you joy, the final “N” in ENVISION.

              The fifth regret of people on their deathbed is that they wished they’d let themselves be happier. Instead, they stayed stuck in old patterns and pretended to be content when they weren’t.

              If you don’t like your job, make it a goal to look for a new position that aligns your paycheck with your purpose. If you are entrepreneurially-minded, think about turning your passion project into a business you love. If you have multiple passions, consider pursuing a slash career (e.g., copywriter/coder/career coach). According to Forbes Magazine, many companies are beginning to see the value in hiring employees who have side gigs that differ from their main vocations. You’ll bring in multiple streams of income and experience more meaning and fulfillment to your life.[8]

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              If you are unhappy with your marriage or romantic relationship, set a goal to do something about it. Do you need to go to counseling? Do you need to move on? If you’re on the fence about whether to keep a friend in your life, be goal oriented about getting closure on the issue. Take care of yourself in the process by taking yoga classes or getting a much-needed massage.

              Whatever you do, make it a goal to show compassion as often as you can because it will boost your happiness.[9] Dr. Amit Sood defines “compassion” as:

              “Your ability to experience others’ feelings — from joy to sorrow — with a desire to help.”

              By helping others in need, you not only can decrease their suffering, but you can also make yourself happier than you could by directly pursuing activities to make you happy.

              Final Thoughts

              In summary, the ENVISION method shows you how to blend lessons from the five regrets of the dying with effective goal setting techniques that center around your strengths to become goal oriented. It includes:

              • Endgame — Asking yourself where you want to be in 5 years, 1 year, now.
              • Nesting — Creating positive, specific, measurable subgoals.
              • Values — Building your goals around what truly matters to you.
              • Inspiration — Making time for meaningful hobbies and side projects.
              • Superpowers — Orienting your life plan around your unique strengths.
              • Intimates — Spending time with close friends and family.
              • Openness — Being honest about your feelings.
              • Nourishment — Nurturing people and activities that bring you joy.

              It may seem like a lot of work at first glance but, in truth, it should only take you about an hour to piece together a list of goals following these guidelines. Why not trade an hour of watching television or engaging in social media to do this instead? You can always get online and watch TV later to reward yourself for becoming more goal oriented.

              You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring what would make your heart sing. It’s worth investing in yourself this way. You have the power to create a life that totally rocks by setting the intention to do so. As the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi wrote,

              “What you seek is seeking you.”

              Be more goal driven!

              More About Goals Getting

              Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

              Reference

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