Where do you find offbeat jobs?

Posted by
My last job caused a lot of grief, so did all the jobs before it. At first, I thought I was just bad at, well, jobs.

I saw a therapist and I just got out of my third session with a career counselor. In all this, I’ve learned that professionals don’t have answers for me. That means I’ll have to find my own answers, and I need help in figuring out where to start looking for offbeat jobs.

Job boards are nice, but so are brilliant sites like Offbeat Home & Life, where lots of people who live unusual lives can come together and generate ideas.

Where do people go to talk about offbeat careers? Something outside the cubicle, outside of sales, anything that’s just different? ANY resources are welcome. –LydiaB

Ariel wrote an awesome piece on how to find freelance work-from-home gigs. We’ve talked about staying positive in a job you hate. And even quitting your day job to start your own business. But, it sounds like in the meantime, you may want to read this post on surviving un-or-under-employment, while you wait for the Homie to offer up even more advice…

What’chu got, Homies? Where do you find offbeat jobs?

Comments on Where do you find offbeat jobs?

  1. Sometimes it’s best to target a company first rather than scroll the job boards. Think of businesses or services you use regularly and check out their postings directly. Take a risk too. I changed careers to work for a brand new company that is now taking off and expanding globally. At the time I was so miserable I just didn’t have much to lose. That risk has hugely paid off and I am just happier now.

  2. I think the Offbeat Empire needs a job board! A lot of Offbeat Careers are probably the ones you have to start up yourself, but if there was a place to find Offbeat Employers that would be amazing!!

  3. I am soooooo excited to have finally found my answer to this question.

    I started following a beautiful, fit, healthy, single, stay at home mom, with dreads and so much happiness. I started to realise she worked for herself and got to work from home with her daughter while making a lot of money.

    I was very resistant to the parts of it that felt off at first, but I looked into it thoroughly and eventually bought in, with minimum participation. The more I experienced of this new business, the more I started to realize how off beat and wonderful this whole concept was, way beyond bringing in money.

    It’s amazing to see a post like this. I hadn’t thought about how “off beat” this job was until reading this. I’ve never been able to prosper (anything more than financially) in normal jobs.

    Soon I’ll be very well established, very fit and healthy, have a lot of new friends, and plenty of money to build my new house and begin trying to start our family.

    Oh, and knowing my new dreads will only HELP my business grow is…mindblowing!

      • Coaching.
        It’s my job to work on my health and happiness and help others do so, as well.

        People that I support come from social media, people that just see my posts about the changes in my life and want to know what I’m doing. So, my groups I’m in for my dreads, parenting, unschooling, free birth (unassisted), – my interests-.

        I ended up involved because I became friend with a woman who was super fit and happy, staying at home with her daughter (single mom), and finally able to afford eating them a new apartment and furniture, etc. All she did was ooze relief and gratitude and I wanted to know what she was doing.

        My job is to be healthy and present online in communities I’ve always been a part of, and people come to me.

    • What’s the name of the lady you are following? I have dreadlocks too! but I have had them for almost 10 years. And I think being a hairstylist helps me feel more fulfilled and I am working on the whole working for myself thing. But I am sure it can be done. I think that most people who are looking for something offbeat should consider creative careers.

  4. I struggle with this too. I would strongly recommend reading Michelle Ward’s website (she’s the “When I Grow Up Coach”). No need to buy a package, but she has tons of success stories and a podcast series about people in unconventional jobs and how they got there. I did a course with her and loved it. Still not in my ideal job, tbh, but part of the course taught me to recognize that my particular path will be a long one, and at least I have some direction.


  5. I am a career counselor by trade and I always tell clients that they need to think about the type of work they would enjoy the most. If interacting with people all day gives you hives just thinking about it, then sales, retail, etc. is a terrible match. Sitting at a computer sounds like heaven, then there’s a starting point.

    Like a previous commenter noted, targeting companies is a super idea. Play around on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), an American site, to research job outlooks, working environments, and skills needed is a good resource. See if there’s a professional organization for what you’re interested in. They often have job boards, are great for networking and have discounted membership rates for students and/or job seekers. Plus, those memberships are tax deductible as a job seeker or for professional development. I like idealist.org for social justice jobs, indeed.com for geographic “skimming” to give you an idea of what sort of industries are hiring. I follow usajobs.gov on FB for alerts on Federal jobs; I am on a listserv for higher education jobs. I highly suggest, if you’re interested in a career switch that may require additional training (and you’re American) to check out your local One Stop Career Center/Workforce Investment Board (WIB because the government loves acronyms) and see what’s on their list of approved trainings. There might be something there too. I could keep going, but if have to get down and dirty with research.

    • “they need to think about the TYPE OF WORK they would enjoy the most”

      This this this! And I particularly think we need to give this advice to high school students when they’re trying to figure out what to do next with life. Instead we often ask them to pick a FIELD that they are interested in and study it in college though they may not like doing the actual work in that field. Instead, do you like working alone or in a team? In a lab or in the field? With abstract concepts or physical items? With a computer? Active or sedentary? Fast-paced? Doing the same thing repeatedly? Do you like talking in front of people? Are you okay with a job that has odd / evening / weekend hours / demands or do you want to call it quits every day at 5?

      I majored in architecture because I was very interested in it, but the more I learned about the field the more it didn’t appeal to me to actually be an architect. Turns out I’m ridiculously happy as an executive assistant instead and a business degree might have been a better choice.

      • I did that work, but I don’t know where I can compare my list of things I enjoy doing & traits/skills I have with what jobs fit that profile. Is there a public resource for this? I tried combing through the Dept of Labor page, but it’s enormous, and their definition of what I do (as a copywriter) isn’t exactly on par….so I’m suspicious about accuracy. Help!

    • USAJobs has a FB page!? I have been job hunting for the last 6 months, and this would really come in handy (especially for those gigs that are only posted for 5 days).

  6. I guess it all depends on what you mean by offbeat!

    I work in Historic Preservation and know of a few job boards specifically directed to people looking for jobs in the Public History field (Archaeology, Architectural History, Museums, etc.). I know other professions have their own boards that might be intriguing, based on your interests. For a while, when I was daydreaming of working at vineyards I browsed through wine related job boards.

    More generally, I’ve always found Indeed.com to be most interesting and useful as a job board. They seem to have EVERYTHING – I’ve searched for job-specific things but also just what is in the area and usually run across something that piques my interest.

    If there is something nearby that suits you, you can always offer to volunteer or do “free work” to learn more and get to know the business. Really, though – it comes down to deciding what intrigues you and chasing it!

    • Do you mind sharing what those Public History job boards are called? I spend a lot of time looking on higheredjobs.com, but without a Masters, it’s hard to find something I’m interested in. Working in a museum is my dream job, but it’s hard to check museum websites individually and constantly to see when positions are open.

      • Just from experience, your best bet might be surfing those individual posts though. As tedious as it is, in my profession many employers won’t post on job boards BECAUSE they get overwhelmed with postings. Just food for thought… it can help weed out the huge piles of applicants to those who are truly dedicated.

        • If you make an initial investment of time to identify places (museums or otherwise) you might like to work at, you can set up an RSS feed from their job listing page. If their website doesn’t have a feed, you can make one with Page2RSS or similar sites. Then new job postings come to you!

      • Is there a regional museums association for where you live? Here in New England, there’s the New England Museum Association (NEMA). They maintain a job board that always has a bunch of postings, and you don’t have to be a member to see it. There’s also the American Alliance of Museums nationally.

      • Yay, fellow public historians! I would try PreserveNet (http://www.preservenet.cornell.edu/employ/jobs.php) in addition to jobs, they have a list of other job boards, HistPres (http://histpres.com/opportunities/), and National Council on Public History (http://ncph.org/jobs). But honestly I agree with Holly that many jobs aren’t on these boards.

        Also, I’m not sure what part of museum work interests you (education, exhibits/curatorial work, development), but volunteering/interning is a really good way to get a foot in the door. Good luck!

      • If you’re interested in the interpretation/education/people-oriented end of museum work, consider zoos and aquariums. I started in museums but now do exhibit work for a zoo. The Association of Zoos and Aquairums has a decent job board.

        You could also consider for-profits that do contract work for cultural institutions (like exhibit development firms). Their culture can sometimes be more creative and stimulating than museums themselves and you enjoy a wide variety of subjects in your work.

          • National park jobs can be REALLY hard to get though, and state parks that have interpretation jobs are few and far between. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get a job working for the national parks (not even seeing any openings at the state level) but despite my education (B.S. in Natural Resources with my concentration in Recreation Management) I can’t even get a foot in the door without veteran status or years of volunteer experience. As a single adult supporting myself with bills to pay, I can’t afford to go the volunteer route.
            BUT I ended up spending a lot of time working in National Parks for concessionaires! I have worked in 3 different National Park Lodges as a hotel front desk clerk/manager, which was fun and offbeat as heck! Very few special requirements needed to get one of those jobs!

    • Looking through State/Federal listings can be good for this (including but not limited to parks, as Cyndie mentioned!) Staffing museums, monuments, archives, and/or historic houses can all be good opportunities. Ditto writing funding applications for such places, IF grant-writing is a skill set you have or are interested in developing.

      (Also, hi, fellow Offbeat Historians!)

    • But what about people who are interested in this stuff but never got a degree. Even if we start off doing volunteer work, what is the likelihood that we would ever be hired (even for something like part-time) and/or what is the highest we could go, if at all?

  7. I have struggled to find what I want to do, it’s a huge and overwhelming thing to think about. One mistake I made over and over was not spending enough time on thinking about what I really wanted (which involves scary stuff like admitting it was ok to want stuff and wanting something I wasn’t sure I was capable of) and too much time looking through job ads hoping I’d stumble across a job that would suddenly make it clear to me what I wanted.

    I say this because I can’t help but notice you‘ve not said anything about what type of job you’d like, as in what field. I would say offbeat is less a type of job (I honestly can’t think off a single resource for offbeat jobs in the way that I could say for nursing jobs, or creative jobs etc etc) than a way of doing things. You can look at almost any career type and see examples of it being done in more or less offbeat ways.

    I found this “what job would make you happiest” questionnaire helpful, it’s from the UK newspaper The Guardian. It doesn’t give you one perfect job it gives you scores in different areas and giving you an idea of your skills and qualities (which are not always the easiest to assess yourself). It then also suggests several example jobs for each of those areas. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/11/-sp-questionnaire-what-job-would-make-you-happiest

    For some people, and I am beginning to realise I am one, there are several things I can do and that would make me happy, there is no one final answer to all of this. My cv (resume?) is as varied and gappy as it is because it’s my strength, not my weakness, that I need and thrive on challenges. Find out who you are and the answer (or various answers) to the job question will become, at the very least, clearer. Good luck!!!

  8. You could try idealist.com, maybe; it offers opportunities in nonprofits, etc. But most of the jobs are still “jobs”—NPR needs admin staff, too. I work for Buddhists but it’s still a 9–5 desk job. So it depends on what you mean by offbeat.

    You could also try escapethecity.org, but I don’t think they have a ton of entry-level things; I see a lot of posts for “gregarious marketing professional who wants to work for a start-up in Uganda.” Though one time there was a b&b for sale in Cornwall that looked reeeeeally pretty…

    Mostly, though, I think the posters who have said you need to figure out what you want before you look are probably right; I don’t think there’s a single source for “weird” jobs.

    Good luck!

    • I want to second this! I’ve worked in non-profit for about 3 and a half years and am getting ready to leave. I came into the industry with a lot of expectations that it would be less “traditional” than the corporate sector. The reality is that most non-profit jobs are still just 9-5 desk jobs (and depending on the culture where you live, even MORE pressure to work extra long hours to prove your dedication to the cause). So, if it’s that traditional office setting you want to avoid, know that you’ll still have an intricate search ahead of you even if you choose non-profit.

      Also, consider looking up the term “non-profit industrial complex” before taking that plunge. It could save you from a bit of disillusionment later.

      • Oh, for sure. I mean, I love my nonprofit job, because I find my specific job engaging and meaningful, but the nonprofit sector is definitely not a for-sure highway to happiness. Cubicles and bureaucracy abound.

        • I was a church secretary for 3 years before moving on. As much as I loved it I really did get to see allllll the sides of people. Just because they go to church doesn’t mean they’re nice. And vice versa. It was a struggle. And taking time off…forget it! I would go to work with fevers wrapped up in a blanket from home. If I didn’t people would get upset that I wasn’t there “just in case”.

          But I learned a lot about my faith and I enjoyed working with the pastor (he eventually gave me the reigns to the young adult group). But it was definitely job that needed a lot of patience.

  9. Working in the Arts is a good option for offbeat creative-types. I worked in a community school of the arts for 8 years and now work in an Arts Council. Granted, it can still be a desk job, but being in a creative environment with other artists makes in worthwhile.

  10. The way I discovered my “offbeat” career choice was how some other commenters have suggested – starting with a field you are interested in and just digging! After I graduated college I worked in advertising, which I found awful, so I had been searching for other options for a while. I pretty much just started scouring the internet for information on better careers. I really just searched into interests I like and related careers. I started with health/science related – I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse so I didn’t study biology in school, thinking, probably like a lot of people, there aren’t other careers in heathcare. But the more I dug I found there are so many options! And long story short I’m back in school to be a pathologist’s assistant, basically it’s cutting up and diagnosing body parts and dead people, a very “offbeat” career I think! 😛 I think I actually heard of this career by following a medical oddity museum (the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, so awesome if you ever get a chance!) and they had some event featuring a PA. Anyways, discovering this path really opened my eyes to the variety of careers out there in just about every interest. I would also recommend volunteering – I volunteered at the local animal shelter during my “career discovering” phase and found out about a bunch of different jobs I never knew existed, many of which wouldnt have required going back to school. It may be difficult and take a while to pinpoint what you want to do, but staying positive and being willing to try new things is key! Once I discovered what I think is the perfect career for me, I have never been more positive about my future. I wish you all the best 🙂

    • Awww! That’s so cool!

      I know a few artists in town. Whenever we have jobs come up we’ll share them with each other if the one who was originally asked can’t take the job. It’s been great to be able to pass on great on-off jobs to other artists.

  11. If you have a particular career in mind, a general type of work or even something like ‘I want to work outside most of the time’ then industry specific websites can be a huge help.

    I work in wildlife conservation and my biggest stumbling block was simply finding jobs to apply for. The Job Centre staff told me (with absolute confidence) that there was no such thing as a job in conservation because even huge national (or multi-national) organisations are run entirely by small groups of volunteers. But then they also told me there was no such thing as a job in ecology or animal management either and the only thing I had ever done that would remotely qualify me for any type of work was retail.

    My university’s job councillor was a bit more helpful but very old fashioned and recommended going to the offices of places I wanted to work to drop off a CV in person. Which is great in theory, but not really practical when these places are very spread out and not all sites have offices, admin staff or any type of building on-site.

    It all finally fell into place for me when I discovered that a lot of industries (including wildlife conservation) have specialist recruitment sites and rarely, if ever, post adverts on more mainstream sites.

    As someone else mentioned you can also use recruitment sites to identify potential employers. My old job I found by following an ad for something which sounded exciting but way, way out of my league. I didn’t even apply for that one but I bookmarked the organisations own jobs page, kept checking back and later on there were things I could do.

    • I feel like it’s absolutely worth sticking your neck out with places you’d love to work that don’t *seem* to be hiring. You’re so right that a lot of niche jobs never advertise their open positions because what they need is just so specific! In my experience, too, posting a job can feel like a BIG step for a lot of small groups/businesses/centers. Many never post jobs because they think they’re not “there” yet, but if the right person happens to come along, they’ll be glad to interview them!
      Dropping off a CV in person is a great idea, but it can absolutely be outside the realm of feasibility. If you’re too far away, don’t rule out giving them a call. Ask if they have any positions they’d consider hiring for, and ask some specific questions about what they do (after you’ve done your research so you have some talking points!). Ask if you can put a CV/resume on file–even if they claim they’re not hiring. Follow up again in a couple weeks. It might not get you anywhere, but they might be quite impressed by your interest.
      Alternately, try mailing your CV/resume in with a cover letter that introduces your interest in their work. Again, this might get you absolutely nowhere, but you never know!

  12. It took me a long time and trying lots of different things to find out what I wanted to do. Trying lots of jobs if you have the opportunity really helps even if its by learning what you really don’t want to do but also maybe discovering parts of jobs that you like.
    It also helped reading several books by life coach Barbara Sher, (try Living the life you love, and I could do anything if only I knew what it was).
    For me the answer has been working for myself in a role that allows me space to be creative and also to spend a lot of time outdoors. I work very hard and long hours, but somehow even the parts I thought I wouldn’t enjoy are easier when it is part of a bigger role that you love. And the goal is to eventually find people who will love doing and grow from doing the parts that I don’t enjoy so much.

  13. While my dayjob is as a systems librarian (i.e. doing techie stuff on computers at an academic library), I have a pseudonymous sideline in designing covers for self-published ebooks, primarily paranormal romance, which is definitely off the beaten path.

    I started doing that this year because I wanted to work on my graphic design skills. I have a friend, who paid their way through grad school writing fetish porn and romance under various pseudonyms, who introduced me to a couple of writers in need of covers, and in turn the credits in the back of the books have started leading other writers to me.

    The only problem with this is that I foolishly started doing research on what covers are associated with best-selling paranormal romance ebooks while logged in on Amazon, and now I can’t log in to Amazon at my in-laws’ house without risking a conversation I don’t want to have right now about my Suggested For You selections, which are full of naked male torsos and titles like “Claiming His Mate.”

    My suggestion for this sort of thing is mostly: create a website with examples of your work, and look around for mailing lists and discussion boards where writers and other cover designers congregate. Amazon has Byzantine rules regarding what can and can’t be on covers that seem to change with the wind, so keeping your finger on that pulse is key.

  14. If there are some specific and practical suggestions about jobs relating to history that people can give me, I’d love it. Whenever I mention that I’m majoring in history (I’m finally getting my degree after a whacky gap in my early 20’s), they go “so you want to be a teacher?” or they are my (coincidentally male) professors who recommend I be an archivist. Are those my only options?

  15. One approach that might be helpful is to think of your job search less in terms of finding the perfect, offbeat career and more in terms of how that career facilitates your perfect offbeat life. I’ve been in my field for a little over a decade now. It’s something I got into out of college when my main job search criteria was, will they hire me? I’ve spent the last ten years working my way up the ranks. Frankly, my job is super unsexy. It’s corporate, bureaucratic and has nary a feel good fuzzy puppy in sight. But I’m good at what I do, I’m paid well and I’ve been able to build something that looks like a solid career path. Now that I’m old with things like a mortgage and children, I’m nowhere near brave enough to throw everything in the air and say, ‘screw it, let’s try something new.’ Instead, my approach has been to pursue jobs that allow me to have a rich non-work life. When I was younger it meant a paycheck and sufficient vacation time to take a good trip once a year. Now, it’s flexible hours for sick kids and a work from home day once a week with my husband.

    So, what’s important for your offbeat self? Do you have an expensive submarining hobby that requires a big fat paycheck? Do you need vacation time that accommodates an annual trek in Nepal? A true 9-5 that leaves uninterrupted hours to paint when you get home? A work from home policy that let’s you brew beer? Flex hours to get to your mid-afternoon dance class? This isn’t to say you shouldn’t go for the brass ring and find a career that’s deeply fulfilling, but I worry that requiring our jobs to fill a central void in our lives can be unintentionally limiting. A boring corporate gig that lets you have a rich out of work life is a pretty awesome thing too.

    A company’s recruiting website will often give a good, if limited, overview of it’s benefits. If you’re offered a job, feel free to ask for a benefits handbook (and you can always talk to HR if you have specific questions). Get a sense of the workplace culture when you interview (don’t obsess on benefits and forget to sell yourself, but it’s certainly fair to ask what co-workers’ days look like, what the after hours expectations are, etc.). Things like work from home days and even additional vacation time can be negotiated as part of your offer. Places like Glassdoor can also give good insights into workplace culture and benefits. And once you get the job be awesome at what you do. A good employer will work around your needs if it means keeping you as a happy, indispensable part of their team. Good luck!

    • “One approach that might be helpful is to think of your job search less in terms of finding the perfect, offbeat career and more in terms of how that career facilitates your perfect offbeat life


      I’ve had jobs at “cool” employers, & I’ve had jobs at generic, run-of-the-mill employers. But the best jobs have been when I’m granted enough autonomy to do work I’m good at & I get enough flexibility in pay, benefits, & time off to do the things in my personal life that make me happy & let me express myself. The specific offbeat-ness of the employer only mattered about a 10th as much as that flexibility (which some very generic employers are more able to provide).

      Another thing to remember is that no job is forever. Maybe you work at a really non-offbeat place for a couple years to pay off some debt or save up & then travel the world or do some crazy art project. Use the job to live your life, don’t let the job run your life.

      • Completely agree! My field- teaching- is quite conventional, but it works for an offbeat semi-nomadic lifestyle since I’m able to find a job just about anywhere.

        This reminds me a bit of the epic offbeat hobbies post- a boring job is much more bearable when you’re doing awesome things you love in your off time; it just helps to have the kind of boring job that works with your own personal brand of awesome.

  16. I can’t believe nobody’s really talked about networking! The old line is true – it’s as much “who” you know as “what” you know if you want to get a job. And for offbeat types, that applies doubly. To find offbeat jobs, network with offbeat employed people. Either they are offbeat ppl employed in ‘onbeat’ jobs/fields & making that work — so find out how they make it work, what makes it work for them, & how they got into the job/field. Or they’re offbeat ppl w/offbeat companies — so find out how that works too (tho’ I’ll say, the first one is far more common, & you’ll need their advice a lot more 🙂 ).

    How do you network? In every way possible. Thru posts like this. Thru every social media channel, yep, even LinkedIn (offbeats are on there, I’m there & have found my last 3 jobs thru LinkedIn posts, & guaranteed I’m the weirdo in every office). In person — tell everyone you know that you’re job-hunting. Ask ppl what they do for a living & how they got their job. Use your existing network of friends, family, & coworkers (present & past) to find what’s offbeat in a future job.

    • Yes to all of this . . . I actually hate traditional “networking,” and I am pretty much terrible at it. But I got my current job through a friend who is in the same field as I am. I wasn’t trying to “network” (that is, I wasn’t going around collecting names and email addresses of everyone imaginable in the hope they might get me a job), but I had stayed in touch with this person over the years, and things just happened to work out well. So even if you (like me) hate the general concept of networking, keep your options open via friends, acquaintances, as well as former employers and coworkers.

  17. What a great question and what great answers! I have tabs open like crazy in my browser.

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m a totally non-traditional student about to graduate with my BFA and I’m struggling! I’m 40, a total “late bloomer” because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I was 18 years old. But I live in a college town (and not the college town of my college) and so much is geared towards all the kids (even in my job). So it’s a struggle to find my own offbeat job. I think I’m going to be creating my own while I work in my office job. I like my office job, it’s just not fulfilling as doing my art.

    But Imma keep looking just in case something awesome comes my way!

  18. I have the perfect career for me – I’m a pediatric occupational therapist working in private practice – I’m in my tenth year and can’t imagine me doing anything else. My profession is all about thinking outside of the box. It’s about figuring out what people are passionate about and using that passion to get them back to doing the things that are meaningful to them. In working with kids, it’s also about teaching new skills that they haven’t yet developed.

    I have a beautiful balance of responsibility and autonomy. I get to be creative and foster my people skills, while also geeking out over latest research articles. I bring my dog to work every day (certified therapy dog), don’t wear a uniform, and most of the day I don’t even wear shoes. I work with kiddos and their families who are facing incredibly challenging daily struggles, and I get to be part of their journey towards fulfillment and realizing their potential. I have an extensive and ever growing collection of wooden and bamboo toys/resources and sensory toys/equipment that I love working with, which are all organized and coded by type, level of challenge etc. I get to work everywhere from the traditional clinic/homes/schools, to teaching bike riding on local bike trails, rollerskating by the lake, and skiing at the local ski resort. I’ve even had the opportunity to do pro bono outreach work for families in the Caribbean. I have full control over my schedule, and although I work a lot of weekends and evenings, that means I get to enjoy long morning walks on my local beach or forest trails with my dog.

    I fully buy into the 1000 hours concept, and I continue to invest time, money, and energy into developing my skills. Every minute, cent, and emotion I invest in my career pays off in personal referrals from many pediatricians and psychologists in our local area and word of mouth referrals from other families.

    For me, my job is the perfect balance of human-to-human interaction and bookworm science.

  19. I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA, which is the BEST, least traditional job I’ve ever had! I work at a nonprofit therapeutic arts organization for at-risk youth in San Diego. VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) is all about “building capacity.” I am developing systems, infrastructure, revenue generation, and documentation systems and processes to create a more stable and sustainable environment at my organization. I have already been offered employment at my site after my one-year term of service ends next year.

    VISTA, like other AmeriCorps programs, is a 1-year term of service with a (modest) living stipend. I have the opportunity to meet and make connections with high-value donors, business people, and organizations without having to network in the traditional sense. There are VISTA opportunities across the country with a wide spectrum of nonprofit organizations. If you are passionate about literacy and working in urban areas, there is a program for that! Conscientious and sustainable living your bag? There are VISTA programs for that! VISTA will supplement relocation expenses if you are selected to serve in a location that requires you to move.

    This program is a great career launching opportunity, a discovery opportunity, and a unique and offbeat way to work! Not to mention that after your term, you are entitled to “non compete” status for federal jobs (basically a front of the line pass to any federal position you apply and are qualified for), as well as educational award toward tuition or accumulated student debt. In service, you are entitled to student loan forbearance and deferral. There are so many benefits of VISTA service, but the greatest is being instrumental in affecting change and implementing improvements to struggling communities and serving those in need.

  20. I have the most amazing job doing many things I love, but it took time to figure out and all come together. I feel like sharing, so prepare for my life story: I always wanted to be a teacher, or work in holistic wellness… I wound up getting a degree in Anthropology and then deciding academia wasn’t for me. Wound up being the Operations manager at a dinner theater for some time, after working there through university and working my way up. I left to go study as a holistic health practitioner, moved to a new city, and decided the program wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do.. I decided to just work as a server while I designed what I called my own master’s degree program studying whatever I was interested in, taking workshops and learning on my own. I studied random things like developing my intuition (this turned out to be key in making good choices!), and I even became a doula all while waitressing. I traveled, did a bunch of soul searching, vision quests etc, and then I broke my foot. I was off it for 2 months and the thing that killed me was not being able to dance. I realized just how important it was in my life and to my happiness.

    At 27 I realized I wanted to facilitate/teach dance, but I wasn’t sure how I would get there. I took some online sacred dance facilitation classes and also randomly, started hula hooping. I loved it, became obsessed, took classes and workshops all over the world and started performing and teaching occasionally. I took more online classes like B- School and I became a Priestess and Creation Coach, all the while paying my bills with serving. I started my own business on the side called Dancing Into Being, and continued teaching and performing occasionally, and doing some coaching and reiki as well.

    Then two years ago, when my hours were being cut at the restaurant I asked the universe to open an opportunity up for me to share my gifts with the world, doing what I really loved. I wasn’t specific, but a day later, I was offered a job as an Artist in Residence teaching gymnastics and dance at Elementary schools. A little while after that a friend asked me to take over teaching her hoop dancing classes.

    Now I get to share joyful movement with kids and adults, and last year, working part time I almost made as much money as I did working full time in other fields. I still perform occasionally, and have time to see the odd client for coaching or Reiki.

    I love my job so much because I get to use all kinds of random skills I’ve acquired over the years in seeming disparate areas. When I work in the schools, I get to teach, then direct a show for them to share where I MC and perform. When I teach hoop dance for adults, I facilitate healing and development of personal mastery through movement. Now I also get invited to teach and perform at retreats and festivals where I can offer workshops on a whole variety of different subjects near and dear to my heart.

    A great way to figure out what you want to do, is figure out how you want to feel! I wanted freedom, autonomy, abundance, joy and something that would keep evolving and changing (I get bored with routine). To someone else, who values safety, security, routine or a steady paycheck, my job might be a nightmare!

    If you want to explore more about figuring out how you want to feel, I highly recommend Desire Maps with Danielle Laporte. Like people have been saying, it’s about finding the right fit with your lifestyle as well as what you love doing, but just remember, if you can’t find the right job for you, you can always create it!

    TL:DR- I’m a professional hula hooper, and Artist In Residence, after figuring out what I really loved, and asking the universe to support me in sharing my gifts with the world. I love my jobs so much, I would do them for free, but I getting paid for them is absolutely marvelous!

  21. Coolworks.com! If you’re willing to be a little nomadic, it’s a great resource to find jobs in AWESOME places. A lot (though not all) of the jobs are seasonal. And while many of them are on the mundane side (restaurant, hotel, retail, etc.) you get to live and work in the middle of a national park or someplace equally as interesting. It’s definitely a more Offbeat way to live your life! I did it for a while, until I decided it was time to settle down into something more permanent, but it was an amazing experience.

  22. My offbeat job is in the adult industry. Live camming and/or selling short clips, can be a fantastic alternative job for the right person. I researched for at least a year before diving in – safety and security, what is it like, how does it work, etc. There are a ton of pros and cons but some are:

    – Work from home, be your own boss.
    – Opportunity to use every creative skill you desire (arts and crafts, theatre and business, think of a skill you have and you can probably find a way to use&develop it).
    – Fun&fascinating way to celebrate and develop one’s own sexuality.
    – Can genuinely brighten the day of another adult, depending on how you choose to interact with people.
    – Generally overwhelmingly body positive; no matter what you look like, there are people who will love it.
    – Selling clips instead of camming provides a tremendous amount of freedom to choose to not even do classically sexual things; you can sell clips of brushing your teeth, popping balloons, or literally anything, and someone will be into it.

    – Social taboo. For those who feel they have to keep this job a secret, feelings of isolation are common; it can help to have even one person irl who you can speak openly with, and there is an excellent forum that provides a lot of community online.
    – Safety and security. There can be a lot to learn if you want to protect your real life personal information against a very rare truly crazy person. Most people you will encounter are varying degrees of normal adult just like you, but you never know when you might encounter someone dangerous. It has never happened to me. There are many, many measures that can be taken to keep you safe though.
    – The last big con I can think of is also related to the previous two. There is simply no guarantee, no matter what you do, that people you know won’t find out. If you’re comfortable with that in your particular family/social circle this is not a con, but for some people it is huge. Once you are on the internet, you are on the internet forever, and anyone could see. That’s a fact one has to accept before beginning. Please note that this is generally not a concern out of shame, but natural fear of the fallout due to social taboo.

    • If you don’t mind my asking, how did you get into that line of work? I have a friend who has expressed interest in pursuing a job in the adult industry that doesn’t involve having sex with people.

      • Not at all! I first heard about it on Reddit. The forum I mentioned is called the Amber Cutie Forum and it is THE place for research. You have to gain access to the private section of the forum that is just for models for the best information. The main reputable camsites that are the best to work on (you have all the control, treated well by site support, etc) are Streamate, Chaturbate, and MyFreeCams. Clips4sale for clip selling. “Getting into it” can be as simple as setting up an account on any of those sites and starting to stream, but I’ d highly recommend doing some learning first to help get off to a good start.

        Edit: For any curious souls: On first glance, there’s clearly a lot of hardcore stuff going on on these sites. However, camgirls can be successful as non-nude models as well; you can do just about about anything you want. And there is always Twitch tv for the vanilla streaming of video games, art projects, etc (which are things you can do on camsites too of course).

    • Speaking up as a former adult industry worker (porn, not prostitution)- the body positivity and community of other workers was surprisingly amazing. However, just like any freelance gig, the only way to consistently make money is to be constantly marketing yourself. It sounds like an easy gig, but it was as much or more work than the traditional 8-5s I had before it. Just something to be aware of. 🙂

  23. I live in Taiwan and while my job isn’t THAT offbeat (I’m a corporate trainer/English teacher – which is not that unusual for an expat/IELTS examiner) I have a lot of control over my own work and the direction it goes in, as a huge % of it is freelance. Getting into my line of work was easy, the main issue was that the jobs that hire foreigners with no teaching experience are, well, not very good jobs. They pay well compared to local work but they’re for schools that are willing to stick a foreigner at the front of a class and say that person is “a teacher” when they actually aren’t. And I would know, because I was one such non-teacher.

    What was harder was attaining some form of professional status in my work – when it’s so easy to work for a dodgy private language institute for $20 an hour, and most work is along those lines, it can be hard to claw your way up, get certifications, get better, get experience, and go for the jobs that pay more. Nobody funds those certifications and while most aren’t that expensive, it’s still an expense you have to bear on a not-that-great salary with no benefits.

    Now, what bugs me is this – and I suspect it bugs a lot of people in offbeat careers: I not only want my offbeat career, and want to continue it back in the West whenever I return (it is possible but to make any sort of real money I’d need a Master’s, so that’s the next step), but I ALSO want to make pretty good money. Like “buy a condo or townhouse in or near a city” money. And while some people manage that – I think Ariel&her husband own their own Seattle apartment – I would gather that most offbeat careers don’t pay all that well. Not as well as someone mid-level or higher on the corporate ladder anyway. Not “house deposit” money. Many have no benefits, no paid vacation etc. and quite a few don’t offer a truly stable income.

    And I’m just not sure what to do about that. I’m a professional and feel I deserve a professional salary. I am just as good, work just as hard and my work is just as valuable as a middle manager at some company, so I don’t see why my career should pay so much less that that middle manager can buy a condo and I can’t.

    I suspect this is also true for a lot of folks who freelance, are in the arts, work for nonprofits etc.: careers not exactly known for their stellar pay packages. It ain’t right I tell ya.

  24. I have done odd jobs, Not “odd jobs” but ‘Odd” jobs that I have found under Craigslist – “gigs”. I agree that career counselors dont help people like “us” who arent looking for anything mainstream, even therapists I question have all the answers….. “

Read more comments

Join the Conversation