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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

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              Liz Galloway

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

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              Last Updated on December 3, 2019

              7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

              7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

              I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

              It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

              A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

              1. Define Career Success for Yourself

              Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

              What does career success mean to you?

              This is about defining your career success:

              • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
              • Not what people may think of you
              • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
              • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

              “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

              When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

              There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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              • Work-life balance
              • Opportunities for growth and advancement
              • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

              Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

              • What do you mean by work-life balance?
              • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
              • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

              Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

              • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
              • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
              • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

              Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

              • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
              • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
              • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

              Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

              Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

              What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

              2. Know Your Values

              Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

              There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

              Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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              • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
              • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
              • Put the words on your fridge
              • Add the words on your vision board

              Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

              3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

              When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

              How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

              Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

              • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
              • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
              • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
              • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
              • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
              • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

              Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

              • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
              • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
              • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
              • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

              Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

              By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

              4. Determine Your Top Talents

              What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

              What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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              What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

              What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

              What do you notice?

              5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

              Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

              I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

              Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

              Keep these words visible too!

              Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

              6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

              Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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              Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

              “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

              7. Manage Your Own Career

              Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

              Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

              Summing Up

              For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

              Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

              Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

              1. Define Career Success for Yourself
              2. Know Your Values
              3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
              4. Determine Your Top Talents
              5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
              6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
              7. Manage Your Own Career

              “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

              Good luck and best wishes always!

              More Tips on Advancing Your Career

              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

              Reference

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