Piecing Together Patches of Work

I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.
— Susan B. Anthony
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Since I quit full-time freelancing in digital marketing consulting earlier this year, I’ve been working interesting odd jobs to make ends meet while I “figure it all out.” These roles are at least tangentially related to a topic or career I’m interested in learning more about, but they vary widely. This means my life is a patchwork quilt of activities and jobs:

1. Instacart

Ever since I worked for an app development firm, I’ve wanted to have first-hand experience with the on-demand economy that mobile apps help enable. Shopping and delivering groceries for Instacart is my first taste of this.

2. Uber

I always wondered what it would be like to drive for Uber. Now I know, and it ain’t that bad. I love the flexibility of both Uber and Instacart, and I will probably post an article reflecting on my experiences with them soon.

3. Tutoring the ACT/SAT

The training for this job doesn’t start until August and the work won’t start until September, so I probably shouldn’t count my jobs/chickens before they start/hatch. Nonetheless, I’m really looking forward to working as a tutor for a reputable college prep course company (yeah, I’m a nerd). One of my friends correctly pointed out that you can make a LOT more money doing this on your own than as an employee. However, you can learn a lot working for an existing company that has its own excellent teaching methodology.  Also, there is something to be said for not having to rustle up your own clients, and having an extended team of people to help you support them.

4. Studying for the NSCA CPT Exam

Once I pass this exam, I’ll be a Certified Personal Trainer. Sure, it seems like EVERYBODY is a personal trainer these days, but there is may still be room in the market for my perspective.  I’m not totally sure if I want to build my own practice or partner with someone else – or do something else entirely with this education – but I do know that I love fitness and teaching, and personal training combines those two loves. I’m also training to compete in powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and CrossFit matches.  I’d love to win first place in everything, but realistically, I need to look at competing as just a way to have fun and learn more about these sports so I can be a better coach.  I have a LONG way to go in my training, and the more I work on it, the more I realize it.

5. Teaching Gym Class

I just accepted a job teaching gym class one day a week at a high school for orthodox Jewish girls. This is an exciting challenge. The requirements of their faith can make it difficult for them to exercise the way the secular world exercises: "issues such as modesty and traditional dress can limit an exercise program." Designing the right lessons for the girls, with workouts and fitness ideals that they can carry into the rest of their lives as wives and mothers, will require a lot of creativity.  I'm pumped to be able to help the girls become more healthy, and delighted to learn about their culture and community.

6. Playing in Buttered Bourbon

Betcha didn’t know that I’m in a little band, huh? We’re called Buttered Bourbon, and we’re an awesome Americana duo. I spend a lot of time writing songs, practicing music, and marketing our band. We’re working really hard to play more shows, so if you’re in the Atlanta area – or heck, anywhere, really – and need an amazing modern folk band for your bar or event, let us know.

I’ve got some other irons in the fire, but these are the ones that take up most of my time.  Looking over this list, you may not think this is the ideal life for a twenty-nine-year-old college-educated woman. You're right; i's not always easy. But it is worthwhile.  With all these varied activities – customer service, teaching, coaching, performing – I’m learning so, SO much. And that’s exciting. The longer and more deeply you explore your interests, whether through hobbies or work, the more clarity you develop. The more I learn, the closer I am to distilling all these things into a single, unifying vision for my life's work.

What does your life look like right now? Is it a solid block of a few sole endeavors, or is it a complex patchwork like mine?