All the Odd Jobs

Updated: Mar 31

By Erin Allen

Exploring the digital nomad lifestyle, I've realized I'm entertaining a host of possible employment opportunities -- largely because I feel more free to explore a variety of jobs and also because, well, a girl needs a job and a paycheck.

Mystery Shopper -- Guys, one of my assignments was to "shop" the local Sonic!! Anyone who knows me knows I love Sonic and that one of my complaints of living in the D.C. area was that there weren't any Sonics very close. While the payout wasn't very much, I got a free meal (perfect for living on a budget). Hello Cherry Lime-aid!

Movie Theater Checker -- this one has yet to bear fruit, as it were. I think because Durango is a small town, and the local theaters are very local in that they aren't large chains. However, if something ever comes of it, I'd be recording/documenting the previews shown before movies, checking theater occupancy for specific showtimes and movies and working with theater management on getting final ticket sales numbers, among other things. Also, free movies!

I continue to scour FlexJobs and other remote-work job sites and save a variety of opportunities, some that I probably would never have thought to do. I've had my fair share of disappointments (more on a very recent experience soon!), but it's still a pretty great resource.

I think back to when I was in my 20s. I quit my job as an assistant editor at a local Baton Rouge magazine and essentially eloped to San Francisco. My husband at the time was new to military service, and we didn't have much. Over the course of eight months in the Bay Area, I didn't work. I was so hell-bent on focusing only on jobs that stood up to a certain level of professional prestige or that were the traditional 9 to 5 that I wouldn't even consider the myriad other ways one could earn a living. Temp work? No! Barista at a coffee shop? Never. Retail? Forget about it! This was also in the early 2000s, and remote work wasn't much a thing.

My point is, you shouldn't place boundaries on what you do just because there is the pre-prescribed idea of what a job should be due to past experience, college degrees or professional certifications. Now, more than ever, people are doing a whole host of things for work, and many are in jobs that are not even remotely close to what they studied in school.

I think about something I read once from Liz Ryan -- she essentially said it's fine to have several jobs at once to satisfy your professional development or simply to make the money you want/need to make. We need to get past that traditional, 9-5 job in an office way of thinking. I still find that I struggle with the concept, because the idea of having the one job that satisfies all needs makes it so easy. And, I can't say that I still don't ultimately want that. But, at least I'm learning to be open to doing "all the odd jobs" and the sense of freedom (mixed with a little uncertainty) that comes with it.


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Durango, CO, USA

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