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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 October 16, 2019

              How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

              How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

              Whether you saw it coming or not, getting fired is a real shock and its impact is daunting. What did you do wrong? What are you supposed to do next? When will you stop feeling so angry?

              But there are ways to deal with a layoff.

              The most important thing is to remain calm and see it as an opportunity to reflect, change and improve. This is a great time to consider what happened, look again at your needs and desires and start afresh on a stronger, more constructive basis.

              Let’s take a look at how you can bounce back gracefully after getting fired.

              1. Deal with the Shock of Getting Fired

              To lose your job is to lose your identity as a worker and as a person. Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, states that 7 out of 10 of us define ourselves by our job titles, since work is where we spend the majority of our time and energy.

              Being laid off affronts your sense of self-worth—it implies that you simply are not good enough. It’s no wonder you feel confused and emotional.

              The first thing, then, is to take some time to digest what happened and deal with the overflow of sensations. People who quickly recover from the pain of a job loss tend to do two things very well:

              First, they accept their feelings of sadness, anger, fear and shame as a part of the natural healing process.

              Second, they do their complaining to a friend.

              Never call out your boss in the office or on social media. It’s a bad form to speak ill of the company you work for. Stay stylish, and your employer will speak better of you when you need a reference.

              2. Stay Away from the Drama Queens

              Mass layoffs are, unfortunately, very common. If this is your situation, then you may be surrounded by a lot of angry people, ruminating and lamenting their fate.

              “It’s not fair!” they say. “After everything we did for this company! We don’t deserve this!”

              You’ve lost your job and that’s tough. But please resist the urge to join in the negativity. Positivity is by far the most important attitude to apply right now. If staying upbeat means you have to limit your exposure to the Negative Nellies, then that’s what you have to do.

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              Remember, life is not harder for you than it is for other people on this planet. You live in a democracy, you have freedom of choice and you enjoy a certain material abundance.

              Stay positive and focus on what’s going well in your life and the exciting future opportunities available to you. Getting fired is only a temporary setback.

              Staying positing could be challenging in a difficult situation, so these tips can help:

              10 Questions To Ask Yourself To Stay Positive When Facing Difficulties

              3. Take a Break and Let the Dust Settle

              Instead of running straight into another job that may not be the right one either, take a short break to recover from the job loss. You need a week or two to de-stress and meditate on the next step.

              Be attentive to your need for self-care during this interlude. Everything goes so fast these days that we often do not stop to think or give ourselves the permission to do a little mourning.

              Getting fired is a big shock: you need time to refocus and take stock of the new reality. Do not make things harder for yourself!

              What you need is to pause a while and do some self reflection:

              How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

              4. Be Anchored in the Present

              Since you no longer have a hold on the past, but have not yet designed your future, try to build yourself up with the present. What do we mean by that?

              We mean that right now is the only time you have any control over. Focus on that instead of losing yourself in memories or reliving the awful day you got fired over and over in your head.

              Get up at 7 a.m. each day, whatever happens. The body needs rhythm and habits. You will feel much more energized if you keep a consistent routine. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, revisit your budget, play sports, volunteer. Take care of the practical stuff like claiming unemployment. Enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life.

              When you’re busy, there’s no room for the inner critic to raise up and derail you. Keep active, and you will gain more of the precious energy you need so much to move forward.

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              Try these things to help you live in the moment:

              34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment

              5. Understand the “Why”

              There are lots of reasons why people are fired. Sometimes the mistake is yours and it’s embarrassing to admit you backed yourself into this corner.

              Other times, it’s not your fault. Businesses change direction all the time—maybe yours is going through a major transition or merger and your job is disappearing.

              Either way, to give the situation some closure, you need to understand why you were dismissed. What slipped? What could you have done differently? Was your boss really out to get you or did you do something to put your job in jeopardy?

              Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy to admit that you might have dropped the ball but it’s the only way to turn the situation into a learning experience. Ask yourself:

              What skills do you need to improve?

              Is there training you can access, or learning you can do?

              In the end, did this job suit you that much? Were you happy there?

              Reflecting on these questions can help you put things into perspective. What lessons can you learn to avoid reproducing the same pattern in your next job?

              6. Find out If You Were the Right Fit

              Hiring decisions ultimately come down to personality. You can study for an interview all you like, but every candidate who is chosen for interview has the right credentials for the job.

              The final decision comes down to personality. Who does the recruiter like the best? Who is a better fit for the company culture? That’s the person who strikes it lucky.

              Firing decisions are based on personality, too. Slacking off, insubordination and playing fast and loose with the company rules—these are the official reasons why people are getting fired.

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              But all of these reasons boil down to one thing: personality. Specifically, they signal a personality clash between an employee and a manager, or an employee’s fit with the company’s culture.

              Here’s an example:

              Suppose you were fired for “not being a team player.” Some people, namely introverts, lose energy when they are surrounded by other people and gain energy when they are on their own. Forcing an introvert to continuously work on a busy, noisy team without any solitary rest periods means the job is a mission impossible. This employee will never perform at her best.

              Or how about the time the Kansas City Star newspaper fired Walt Disney for a perceived lack of imagination? Talk about a clash of personalities![1]

              Getting fired can be a signal to turn inward and do some self-reflection so you can better understand your personality and how it might fit in with corporate culture.

              In particular, personality assessments based on Isabel Briggs Myers’ sixteen personality types can help you to understand your own work style and how you can find a job and workplace that better match who you truly are.

              In many cases, it is totally liberating to realize that all the crap you had to deal with was just down to a clash of work styles and not something you did wrong!

              7. Rediscover Your Strengths and Talents

              A personality test can also give you clear insights into your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and work potential. Do you have leadership abilities? How do you communicate and manage conflict? What benefits do you add to an organization?

              Identifying your working style should be your top priority right now, otherwise you risk accepting a new position that has all the same problems as before. The last thing you want is to reproduce the same old dramas the next time around.

              When you become aware of your potential, you will have the confidence to search and find the type of work you love.

              For example, getting fired from your banking job may have knocked you sideways. But you have some stellar home decorating skills, and a personality test shows that you are curious, flexible, rational and resilient—all the traits of successful entrepreneurs. Maybe this dismissal is an opportunity to launch the business you’ve always dreamed of but never dared to admit to yourself?

              By considering all your special skills and talents, you increase your chances of finding a job you would really enjoy, and not just the one you can do.

              8. Get the Word Out

              At this point, you should be ready to take action and move forward with your job search. Let’s not sugarcoat the situation: getting a new job is tough. It helps to have a clear idea of the direction you want to go in, a list of all your crossover skills and a freshly polished resume.

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              Look around for inspiration. Talk to recruiters in your sector to establish what they consider to be your most valuable skills. Use all the resources at your disposal: job search agencies, headhunters, work coaches, careers websites and so on. These resources can help you match your qualifications to the job requirements and ensure you have the right keywords on your resume.

              Don’t hold back on marshaling your networks. Put friends and family to work to pop up leads, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Sometimes the simple act of getting the word out to the people who know you is the surest way to find work fast.

              9. Anticipate Questions and Know How to Answer Them

              Even if it wasn’t your fault, getting fired can hurt you if you don’t know how to explain why you were let go. You have to be honest here and tell recruiters the truth. Even if a would-be employer does not specifically ask why you left your previous job, it is better to clarify the situation upfront before it comes out in your references.

              The best approach is to take your share of responsibility and show that you want to go forward and that you understand the lesson.

              For example, suppose you got fired for asking the difficult questions that no one wanted to answer and your candidness set people on edge. Acknowledge that some people perceive your communication style as abrupt and explain how you’re taking steps to increase your diplomacy skills.

              A recruiter can be seduced by someone who knows how to evolve and who shows a great energy for personal development.

              10. Adapt and Persist

              Throughout this journey, you inevitably will go through moments of self-doubt and disappointment. There are undulations in every road, and these are the normal steps for regaining self-confidence after getting fired.

              Stay tough! Don’t conclude that your future is hopeless just because the dream job doesn’t land straightaway. You open a positive path when you maintain focus. Have the confidence to know that the perfect job for you is out there.

              Remember, you are not alone. Many people walked this road and they would urge you to keep the momentum. Stay open-minded and go where the opportunities take you: it will bring you closer to the job you really want.

              Coming Out on Top

              While getting fired isn’t the ideal situation, it isn’t the end of the world either. Even if feels like a doozy right now, you will get through it and emerge happier on the other side.

              Be clear on what you want, have courage and believe in yourself. In the end, you may decide that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to you. It can be the catalyst for a powerful, career-fulfilling change.

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              Featured photo credit: Jesus Kiteque via unsplash.com

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