Sick of Office Life?

Campus Recruit 1Sick of Office Life?

Out of the box job ideas to add some spark to your life.

-Heather Levin

So you’ve gone 4 years through the university of your choice. You’ve slaved through exams, all night parties, and enough cafeteria food to write a book about. Degree in hand, you step out into the world and start looking for “The Job”, the one that’s going to pay back your student loan and enable you to go on the IKEA buying frenzy of your dreams.

To your giddy relief, you land one almost immediately and start your 9-5 life as a real adult. You get your very own cubicle and immediately start putting up Ansel Adams prints and inspirational success quotes. You can do this.

It might take a few months to sink in, but it will happen eventually. You’ll discover that the 9-5 world kind of, well, stinks. Gone are your jeans and t-shirt days, of rolling out of bed just in time for your noon class. In this world, there are conference calls and memos and every other mundane experience you can dreg up from “Office Space”. There really IS a watercooler, and everyone gathers there around 10:00 to discuss the latest episode of “Desperate Housewives”.

You start to feel that if you don’t get out, you might just have a heart attack at the tender age of 25. The thought of grad school starts to seem like a little slice of heaven.

While some people do thrive in this environment, others don’t. If you’re in the latter category and are about to go off the deep end, don’t go postal just yet. We’ve got some pretty good alternatives for you other than homelessness or grad school.

First off, you’ve got to start thinking out of the box. Instead of scouring Monster.com looking for another treadmill existence, you need to put some serious thought into what is really important to you. Take a look at what you love to do, and what you’re really good at. Make a list of both things. If you’re good at talking to people, put that down. If you never once missed a class in school, put down time management. Leave no stone unturned, even if you think it’s insignificant.

Once you have a master list of your strengths, make another list and put down what you DON’T want to do, and what weaknesses you know you have. If you never ever want to get stuck in an office environment again, put that down. If you hate public speaking, put it down. This list will work in conjunction with the other to help narrow down your search.

Now, there are literally thousands of awesome jobs out there, some which require you to start your own business, and others that don’t. Figuring out which is right for you is a very personal decision, but we’ll give you some examples in both arenas just to let you know what’s possible.

One fast-paced, out of the box career is that of a chef. If you love to cook and have the ability to think creatively then heading off to culinary school would be a great way to get your foot out of the office door and in at the higher paid restaurants. These days some chefs walk in the same circles as Hollywood celebrities, so if you’re good at your trade you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. You will definitely need the ability to manage people and work under pressure, but that’s part of the reason why this career is so exciting to some.

If you write letters that rival the length of “Moby Dick” and are known throughout your social circle as “The Writer”, then exploring the field of freelance writing might be for you. Building up a portfolio is vital in this industry, so at the beginning you might have to work for pennies, or even for free as you build your clips.

Thanks to the advent of online sites such as Elance.com and Guru.com, finding work easier than it used to be, although competition is fierce. Perks? Sleeping in as late as you want, researching in your pajamas, and working wherever the Internet is available. There’s potential to make serious money in this field, especially if you do corporate writing, so get rid of the starving writer in a cold attic image. You can make a great living doing this if you’re persistent.

So if you’re feeling the entrepreneurial blood starting to flow, good for you. Starting and running your own business can offer you limitless possibilities on what you can do and how much you can make. There’s nothing like being your own boss.

The field of professional organizing is one of the fastest growing niche jobs out there right now. If you have a knack for time management and clean spaces, then this highly rewarding field might be your cup of tea. PO’s need to be able to customize organizing solutions for their clients, but if you have the talent it’s not that hard to do. Excellent people skills are a must for this field, but with almost no start-up costs it’s an easy career to start on the side, building your client base. You can visit www.napo.net for more information.

If you enjoy kids you could consider opening up a daycare. With the number of working parents constantly on the rise, job security is pretty high if you’re a reliable caregiver. There are significant start-up costs for this venture, but it can be a very rewarding field if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to get it rolling. If you want to run a straight business with lots of kids you’ll need to get licensed, which can take 2-6 months. You’re also going to need excellent people skills. Parents can occasionally be critical, and handling problems when they come up will take some finesse.

If you’re passionate about staying in shape, then the field of personal training could be a good fit. You’ll need, again, excellent people skills, but also the ability to be nurturing and motivational when your client’s energy starts to lag. This is also a field that requires certification, and each club in each state is different on what they require. You can check out www.acefitness.org, or www.nfpt.com for information on getting certified.

What’s nice about this field is you’re not limited to gyms or your own business. Personal trainers work on cruise ships, spas, resorts, and many other places. The world’s your oyster!

As you can see, there are literally thousands of opportunities to get out of the office and still make a comfortable living. There are plenty of books out there to help you narrow your search, so head over to Borders and check out the career section. You can also head over to www.entrepreneur.com to get more ideas.