I recently met a woman who went from corporate executive to personal chef to a host of other highly successful careers. As she described her work history, one thing emerged as most impressive in my mind:
She quit each previous job. Left them behind. Never looked back.
Unlike her, I tend to collect occupations. I have enormous difficulty leaving anything behind, for three reasons:
- After having stood on the edge of the abyss, homeless and hungry and hopeless, a part of you never leaves the edge of that cliff. At any moment, you expect to find yourself right back where you started, homeless and hopeless again, so holding onto potential sources of income becomes exceptionally important, especially when a family is depending upon you.
- I'm a curious person with a list of more than a dozen occupations that I would like to try at some point in my life. Collecting jobs is a means of satiating my curiosity.
- I suffer from a constant, deep-seated existential crisis. Quitting something signifies (at least in my mind) taking one step closer to death. If I never quit anything, I never take that terrifying step towards not existing.
So I have lots of jobs, and while that may seem a little crazy at times, it's also allowed my wife to stay home with our children for the last seven years. It's been an exhausting time in my life, but my kids are certainly the better for it.
A worthwhile sacrifice.
When I recently told one of my closest friends that I will work less when Elysha returns to the workforce next year, his response shocked me:
"I'm glad to hear it. We've been worried about you."
It's nice to know that your friends are thinking of you.
Still, I have many jobs, and perhaps you require my services and are simply unaware of it. So below is a list of my current professions.
While occupations like teacher and writer seem like fairly obvious inclusions on the list, there are also several less obvious jobs on the list that may seem a little silly at first, but let me assure you that they are not.
Many people thought it was silly back in 1997 when my friend and I decided to become wedding DJs, even though we had no experience, equipment, or knowledge of the wedding industry whatsoever. We simply declared ourselves wedding DJs, bought a pile of equipment that we didn’t know how to use, and began the search for clients.
Twenty years and more than 400 weddings later, we’re still in business.
The same could be said about my decision to become a minister in 2002. Or a life coach back in 2010. Or a professional best man in 2011.
All of these positions have either become profitable ventures or at least received interest from potential clients.
The lesson: If you want to do something, just start doing it.
So here is a list of my 10 current occupations and an explanation of my services. I hope I can be of service to you in 2017.
Teacher. Sorry. I’ve got a job teaching already, and I love it.
But I still have a dream of opening a one-room schoolhouse for students grades K-5 - a return to a joyous, laughter-filled, multi-age place of exploration, independence, flexibility, and academic rigor - so if you’re looking for a school for your child (or more importantly looking to donate a large sum of money to build my one-room schoolhouse), contact me.
Writer: In addition to writing novels, I’ve also written a memoir (unpublished), a book of essays (unpublished), a rock opera, three tween musicals, and a screenplay. I'm currently working on my first young adult novel and a book on storytelling, in addition to my next novel.
All are due this year, so yikes!
I’m always looking for additional writing gigs, in particular a regular opinion column and/or advice column, so if you have a writing job in need of a good writer, contact me.
Wedding DJ: My partner and I are entering our 20th year in the business. We’ve entertained at more than 400 weddings in that time. We’ve cut back on our business considerably in recent years, ceasing to advertise or even maintain a respectable website. Almost all of our business these days comes through client or venue referrals, as we prefer.
If you’re getting married and need a DJ, contact me.
Storyteller and public speaker: I deliver keynote addresses, inspirational speeches, and talks on a variety of subjects including education, writing, storytelling, productivity, and more. I’m represented by Macmillan Speakers Bureau.
I’m also a professional storyteller who has performed at hundreds of storytelling events in the last six years and has hosted story slams for literary festivals, high schools, colleges, libraries, and more. I’m a 29-time Moth StorySLAM champion and four time GrandSLAM champions whose stories have appeared on The Moth Radio Hour and This American Life.
If you need someone to entertain, inspire, inform, or emcee, contact me.
Founder and Creative Director of Speak Up: My wife and I own and operate a storytelling organization called Speak Up. We are based in Hartford and produce storytelling shows at Real Art Ways, the Connecticut Historical Society, Infinity Hall in both Hartford and Norfolk, The Mount, and many other venues throughout the region.
I also teach storytelling, public speaking, and presentation skills to individuals, companies, school districts, and many other organizations. I conduct regular workshops at the Connecticut Historical Society and other venues. I work with organizations like Voices of Hope and Unified Theater to assist their staff and members tell effective stories. I teach workshops at rabbinical retreats, high schools, and colleges. I've worked with Yale University, Northeastern University, The University of Connecticut Law School, The University of Hartford, and many more. I coach individuals from all walks of life. I also teach at Kripalu Institute for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA, where I am a faculty member.
If you have an audience that would be interested in storytelling, or you’re a storyteller looking to pitch a story for one of our shows, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minister: In the past fifteen years, I’ve married 13 couples and conducted baby naming ceremonies and baptisms. I’ll be marrying two more couples in 2017.
If you’re getting married and are in need of a minister, contact me.
Life coach: I'm currently working with three clients, assisting them in goal setting, productivity, personal relationships, career development, and finding happiness in their lives.
If you’re looking to make changes in your life and become a happier and more successful person, contact me.
Professional Best Man: Since posting about this position on this blog in 2011, four grooms and two reality television producers have inquired about hiring me for their weddings and television shows that are wedding related. One hired me, only to cancel about a month before his wedding. Geographical constraints forced me to reject all their offers.
Kevin Hart also contacted me upon the release of his film The Wedding Ringer to acknowledge that I originally had the idea that serves as the basis for the movie first. I am still awaiting my first gig.
Professional double date companion: Since posting about this position on this blog in 2011, I have had no inquiries. That does not mean the job is a failure. Just that it has yet to succeed.
If you’re dating someone for the first time or have been on several dates and need that important second or third opinion on the person in question, contact me.
Professional gravesite visitor: Since posting about this position on this blog in 2011, I have had no inquiries. That does not mean the job is a failure. Just that it has yet to succeed.
If you have a gravesite in Connecticut in need of visiting, contact me.