Making Plans and Achieving Goals

The Only Job I Ever Loved

The Only Job I Ever Loved

I have had many jobs over my life.  Soccer ref, basketball ref, phone book delivery guy, machine operator, concession stand worker, concession stand manager (look out promotion!), building test equipment for hospitals, designing overhead electrification systems for trains, designing high-speed package handlers, engineering lift assist equipment.  A lot of these jobs were great and I certainly didn’t hate any of them.  However, the only job I ever loved was working at the UNCC Fitness Center.  That’s right the energetic personal greeter slash student ID card swiper.  That was my jam for three years during college.

The Glory

I wasn’t working as the manager or a personal trainer.  I was simply the guy who would swipe your ID card, wash the sweaty towels, and clean up the weights.  Sounds pretty glamours huh?  The pay must have been fantastic, right?  Depends on your definition of “fantastic”.  Minimum wage isn’t too good for most people but my expenses consisted of cheap beer and pizza so it worked.  How about the hours?  I usually worked 20-25 hours a week with usually one 5-8am shift a week.  Having to be at work at 5:00 am was a trick for a college student but in three years I was only late once.  I still feel bad about it actually.  Sorry, Stephen.

Why I Loved It

I swear I wasn’t annoying 🙂

So where did the love come from?  The gym folk.  I worked with some great people and half of my bosses were cool but I loved interacting with the patrons.  Everything I did I felt like I was doing for them in order to help them reach their fitness goals.  I loved talking with people about their goals, workouts, and diets.

I would learn your name (it popped up on the screen when I swiped your ID card) and call you by it after a couple visits.  Some found this creepy but most people liked it.  Even got a few dates with that move (sorry hun).

Washing sweaty towels never bothered me the way it did others.  I never viewed it as “this sucks” or “this is gross” I just viewed it as they need towels so they can get an intense workout in.

At one point we started getting complainants about the music because it was nothing but top 20 stuff.  The third go of Rhianna’s Umbrella-ella-ella-ella-ella-eh in the same day does get a little old.  Without being asked I started making CDs with music I deemed appropriate.  The guy’s seemed to appreciate the Slipknot and Disturbed and the girls seemed to find headphones.

I even took it upon myself to label and reorganize all of the weight plate trees and dumbbell racks.  I included pictures and little dividers for the dumbbells.  Not that this solved the age old problem of people not re-racking their weights but it helped.

Why It Matters

You always hear people talking about finding your passion or finding something you love.  “Love your work and you will never work a day in your life.”  The part people they leave out is that work you love needs to also pay the bills.  Even though I have been out of the gym industry for 8 years I think with my past experience and education I could probably get back into a similar role at another gym 😉  I would then have a job that I love but my income would be severely limited.

Blindly chasing passion can lead trouble.  And sometimes you don’t know if you will even enjoy doing what you are passionate about.  You might love cooking dinner for your family but working in a kitchen might be too stressful.

I think finding a job (or volunteer work) you love or are passionate about is very difficult.  I only recently realized how lucky I am to have been given the opportunity to work such a low paying job.  Just think, if you love doing the job of the lowest person on the totem pole you will almost certainly love the higher positions.  If you love a job the requires cleaning sweaty towels you would be really okay with running the whole gym.  If you love a job that requires cleaning up an animal’s cage you would almost certainly love being a vet.  Cleaning dishes to head chef, cutting grass to owning landscaping business, teaching kids to read to opening your own school.

My “Retirement” Goal

As you know we are trying to retire early from our typical 9-5 jobs.  Retiring early doesn’t mean just watching the grass grow and sipping Mi Tais all day.  Early retirement to me is having the financial independence so you can choose what you do without worrying about the money.

For me, I would love to open a local gym.  I already have a sweet home gym so it is just expanding that a few thousand square feet.  I have this vision of employing a bunch of the local high school kids, training a couple of clients every week, hosting events/challenges and making enough money to cover my expenses.  Retirement is still a few years off but it is fun to start thinking about it now.

Wrap Up

So what do you say?  Have you ever had a job or volunteer work you loved?  Are you doing it now?  Could you turn the job you loved into something more?


11 thoughts on “The Only Job I Ever Loved”

  • When I was in High School, I had a job working in a bookstore. I loved that job. I loved being around all the books, talking to people about books, wrapping books as presents (I got really fast), and taking money and credit cards for the books.

    “Retiring early doesn’t mean just watching the grass grow and sipping Mi Tais all day. Early retirement to me is having the financial independence so you can choose what you do without worrying about the money.”

    I’m FIREd already so I can attest to the truth of this statement. I’m reveling in the freedom of it!
    Mr. Freaky Frugal recently posted…Bank bonus bonanza!My Profile

  • I’ve actually had a few jobs that I’ve loved. I know that there are way too many job options out there to stick with a job you don’t like, so I’ve never put up with one very long if it didn’t click for me.

    My most favorite was my own of course. It was grueling hours and a LOT of hard work to build and run the company (and manage dozens of staff, thousands of clients, etc) but I loved it. The work didn’t always feel like work because I was doing something I strongly believed in. I had a great staff and great clients. If I didn’t love them, I’d get rid of them (yes, I’ve even “fired” clients before who were unfriendly).

    I believe it’s important to find something you love and do it. It makes such a big difference in life.
    Brad – recently posted…How To Invest When You Know Nothing About InvestingMy Profile

    • That is awesome that you have had so many jobs that you loved. I have liked most all of my jobs but I only loved the one. I am really happy where I’m at and I’m afraid to leave something that I really like in hopes of finding something I love. All those engineering jobs look pretty sweet during the interview and 6 months later you find out what the real deal is.

      I hope to eventually have my own business but I don’t look forward to the hours.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • I love this article. Thanks for sharing your story. I think we can all point back to a job we loved back in high school or in college. Part of it is because you aren’t stuck with the responsibilities of covering the bills and sacrificing what you love for the expenses that adulthood brings. Honestly, one of my favorite jobs was being a part time umpire back in the day. Loved watching baseball games and taking a part in it a couple of nights a week. Umpiring doesn’t pay the bills now, but once I stop traveling for work, I am planning on doing it as a side hustle.



    • It is funny how we work so hard to get better and better jobs but we don’t actually enjoy them more than our high school jobs. Kind of sad really but you are correct it comes down to paying the bills.

      What if you pursued owning a ball field? You could pay the bills and watch baseball. You could even sub as an umpire from time to time.

      Also I’m sorry for the late reply, I have a very sensitive spam filter.
      Grant recently posted…The Only Job I Ever LovedMy Profile

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