Somewhere along the way, I remember hearing and reading about a FI blogger posting all their jobs. Their dozens and dozens of jobs.
I started to do that somewhere (computer people/spreadsheet geeks have files for everything, all over the place) but I don’t remember where it’s all located. Maybe in Google Keep now?
I was thinking about the phase of Life BEFORE FIRE.
Accidental Job 1
When I was 12 I accidentally ended up being a Little League umpire. My birthday was in July so I turned 13 before the deadline and wasn’t allowed to play little league because you had to be 12 until Aug 1st.
I was at a game with my friends and they were an umpire short. I said I know the rules and I got to ump on the bases. I did 2 games that night and made $10 each. I kept umping two games Mon, Wed, and Fri nights all summer. I made $15 for one game per night behind the plate. $75/wk for a 12-year-old in 1982 was excellent, especially when you had to be 16 to ump. I ended up doing that for 4 summers making thousands of dollars. Ironically, I didn’t ump the summer I turned 16 and was officially allowed to. The point, I earned money hanging out with friends.
I worked at the University on the ground crew (mowing or shoveling snow) and was able to get a slot driving the shuttle bus around campus for 20-minute loops. The shuttle bus was easy and paid well enough but it was very stressful driving on hills during fall & spring, thaw/freeze seasons. There were OK jobs, but not my favorite year of working.
Accidental Job 2- University Faculty
I then worked in the computer labs, then as a computer tech, then computer faculty. This was great work during school. I learned so much about technology. I learned how to help people use technology. I learned how to troubleshoot technology. I learned how to teach technology. I even started consulting with people and businesses who passed through the computer program. I never realized until a decade later that I had THREE simultaneous part-time jobs while going to college.
Here’s a cool job I finagled. I worked at the new arena and picked the parking lot duty. I would park cars, then go inside the back door (backstage) and watch the concert from the side of the stage. I was only able to do this a couple of times because there weren’t many concerts in Fairbanks AK. The coolest part (and saddest) was I went “to work” early and sat on the side of the stage when Stevie Ray Vaughan was doing his sound check (which I just walked into because ‘I worked there’). As a guitar player in college, that was so cool. After he was done, he walked to the side of the stage and opened his guitar case that was on the bench next to me to put his guitar away. I was just sitting there a foot away from Stevie Ray Vaughan. In normal Kevin mode, I just said “hi.” It turned out to be a sad memory as exactly one month later he passed away on the helicopter in Wisconsin.
Fine-Tuning My Jobs
I’ve often crafted great roles within my jobs. I seem to get into a role, then optimize the position in a great way. I did that in my 6-year university career and again in my 18-year corporate career working 9-9s with my team, then shifting to a self-created work-from-home for 7+ years before it was in style. Maybe it’s similar to my life and how I’m happy wherever I’m at. I just make it a good place.
I should note that I did not work during high school. I was told that “school was my job” and just concentrate on school because it would be more important than some crappy part-time job. My parents were fine with my summer umping job but were not happy when I got my grounds crew job at 19. They were OK with my technology jobs, which was a good thing because those morphed right into my career, much more so than my business degrees.
Back to Life Before FIRE. I seemed to have four main interests growing up and into adulthood–Sports, Music, Technology, and Travel. I did those consistently from ages 12-15-19 through now.
The very interesting part of FIRE is that I still do those exact four activities constantly. I did add a health/fitness (sport) interest into my routine.
I often read that retirement may be similar to childhood summer vacation that doesn’t end after a few months. The articles say you can pick up some of the hobbies/interests you had as a kid. My wife has her muscle car and flute interests active again. I seemed to stick with my interests all along, throughout my life. This could be because we are child-free and never had to change our activities to revolve around children. So, it could also be thought that I’m still plodding along the same/similar path as I was as a youth. Just older, a lot older.
Along the way, I somehow managed to lose 140+ pounds in 2 years and kept it off for 20+ years. We built a small-home life in the Phoenix desert, the AZ mountains, and an Encinitas beach community. We’ve supported each other’s interests. We’ve assisted each other’s families. We did all of this before and during FIRE.
I guess our FIRE lives are similar to, but enhanced work-free, versions of our BeforeFIRE lives. When I think about this, I realize that is probably very, very different from those who have children and become empty-nesters. We’ve had multiple small nests to ourselves our whole lives together.
It’s amazing how everyone is so different.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.