Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

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canoe
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Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by canoe »

I’m a tech worker, and while I enjoy this job, it’s great for learning (many computer science concepts provide excellent mental models for optimizing one’s life) and the pay is above average, in some ways programming for a living is fundamentally at odds with health. It encourages sitting all day, staring at a screen, and leads to repetitive strain injuries and posture problems if you aren’t careful.

Based on this, I think it might be interesting to brainstorm jobs that contribute to as many goals as possible rather than focus almost exclusively on money and have significant downsides.

Some positive as aspects of jobs that would help contribute to useful goals:
  • Contributes to health and fitness (e.g. exercise is part of the job)
  • Builds career capital (i.e. not dead-end) or is intrinsically interesting (so it doesn’t matter if it is dead-end)
  • Builds as many ERE-relevant practical skills as possible (maybe carpentry, gardening, cooking, people skills, repairing, etc.)
  • Involves socialization/meeting people
  • Is enjoyable/flexible enough that it offsets some need for/doesn't get in the way of recreation
  • Pays enough
  • Others I've forgotten

Based on these characteristics, the first thing I thought of was a small business building fancy houses:
  • Physical exercise is part of the job.
  • If business is good, you can grow your business and learn more about business, building career capital. Building houses also sounds interesting to me.
  • Develops skill in several practical disciplines from carpentry to basic plumbing.
  • Meet different people as you build different houses.
  • If you’re your own boss, you can set your own hours.
  • Pays well if business is good, higher margins due to targeting a more “luxury” market.
Would love to hear some ideas from others. What have you got?

Alphaville
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by Alphaville »

canoe wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:33 pm
[*] Contributes to health and fitness (e.g. exercise is part of the job)
im just looking for an under-desk treadmill :)

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canoe
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by canoe »

@Alpha
Nice, I've also seen an exercise bicycle but just the pedals that you can put under your desk to pedal while working.

Not thinking of quitting my job anytime soon, just fantasizing about what might check all the boxes. ;)

Another decent one:
Park Ranger
  • Hiking is part of the job (I assume).
  • Being out in nature a lot sounds fun.
  • I assume you need to learn first aid, outdoors skills, and dealing with people.
  • Probably lots of superficial interactions.
  • The outdoor time could offset some need for recreation.
  • Usually a government job, so pays somewhat decently, I'd assume.

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unemployable
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by unemployable »

canoe wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:00 pm
@Alpha
Another decent one:
Park Ranger
A few years back I hiked to a fire lookout in New Mexico and met the guy who wrote this book. He's moderately famous for the path he's taken in life -- not a whole lot different from mine. It's neat sounding work if you can get it, with everything paid for and airlifted to you, and he said the USFS hired him with virtually no relevant experience. If nothing is on fire there's not a lot to do, which is both a blessing and a curse. Then you have to occupy yourself in the winter, as they're only up there from April to September. He tends bar.

Also even being a park ranger involves boring, repetitive work. This summer I chatted up a retired NPS ranger I met on a hike in Nevada. He still had to man entrance stations and collect fees once in awhile. Also he had climbed Grand Teton something like 76 times. You climbed the Grand last week, you're climbing the Grand this week, and next week you get to climb... the Grand! I exaggerate here a bit, as Grand Teton is the country's best park for climbing if you've got the conditioning, but I prefer to get around a bit more. Ed Viesturs' day job was similar, as a private guide on Rainier.

If you can get NPS housing in Grand Teton it's basically a dorm. I think some years he stayed in whatever housing they have at Jackson Hole for the ski patrol.

It's not a bad lifestyle at all if you're OK with the low pay and seasonality and can tolerate government bureaucracy.

basuragomi
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by basuragomi »

Private grocery delivery as a microbusiness, not some app-mediated thing:

- Exercise, assuming travel by foot/bike.
- Startup capital is low. Working capital requirement is low.
- Hopefully repeat clients that you can build some kind of relationship with -> chances for serendipitous stuff.
- Flexible hours, can expand/shrink as desired.
- Receivables risk is high, but you can literally eat the losses.
- Exposure to new ingredient/dish ideas.
- Lack of middlemen allows you to undercut the competition.
- Lots of little DIY projects if you want them - temperature loggers, ticketing/billing systems, building a website, building a price database, accounting.

Probably wouldn't pay enough to justify having employees, or even doing it as a path to FI. But it fits well enough that I'm considering it.

Geological prospecting:

- Exercise. Hope you have long legs.
- You get to hear the "what's in this bag, rocks?" joke a lot.
- Out in the great outdoors. Riding around in helicopters, shooting fireworks at bears.
- Learn all sorts of foraging/woodscraft skills in addition to geology. Can you tell bear shit from moose shit? What part of a tamarack makes the best tinder?
- Meet some very interesting people. Experience unfamiliar cultures.
- Can leverage it into a job logging core in the off-season, or working as a production geologist for career-level money.
- Zero expenses while in the field - 100% savings rate.
- Kicking the resource depletion can down the road for humanity's benefit.

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Jean
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by Jean »

Trail bandit:
You wait for Hikers in a hard to reach but busy place.
You threatens them with wathever is appropriate, and ask them to give you their Fuel and Food.

Pro:
You live outdoor
You don't pay taxes.
You get to talk with people, but not too much.
There is always some excitement about the job.
Maybe you become a sort of tourist attraction, and people bring extrafood for you on their trip or women will come with extra fantasies about you.

Con:
After a few weeks, the autorities will start to believe that someone is actually robing hikers, and as it looks much more fun catching you than controlling parking fees, law enforcement will be very enthousiast about it.
You actually might have to choose between shooting someone or getting in a retirement home earlier than expected.
It's hard to have a family.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I think determining your own true or ideal web-of-goals is actually trickier than finding a job to meet some of them.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by Hristo Botev »

Here's one interesting list: https://www.robgreenfield.org/sustainablebusinesses/

Also, perhaps look around at the people in your life--whether family, friends, work colleagues, acquaintances, or even "influencer" types you only know from social media, etc.--who most typify the renaissance guy/gal archetype. I.e., ask yourself the high school yearbook question of "person(s) you'd most like to be stranded on a desert island with," and once you get past the knee jerk reaction of picking the head cheerleader or the captain of the football team or whatever (unless of course the cheerleader happens to be a survival expert, handyman, mechanical engineer, plant biologist, permaculturist, etc.), you'll likely have a couple of folks in mind who've made career/job/income-generating life decisions you might want to try and emulate in some ways.

ETA: FWIW, when I do that mental exercise the list of folks I come up with are ALL small business owners in some capacity or another; even the ones who work or have worked for the guv'ment in some capacity (e.g., fireman, military, teacher). So, I've got a fireman on my list who also owns a landscape company, because his 24 on/48 off schedule allows for that kind of moonlighting. Same with the teacher on my list, who of course has summers and school holidays. And same for the retired military folks on my list, who put their 10/20/25 years in and then get a nice pension that allows them to be a bit riskier with their next endeavor.

ETAETA: None of the folks on my list work for big corporations, interestingly enough. And if they did so in the past, it didn't take them long to realize they needed to escape. Some folks are just much less "domesticated" than I am, apparently.

ETAx3: Here's another resource you might find helpful: https://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug14/rat-race8-14.html. He also wrote a book: https://www.amazon.com/Build-Real-Caree ... 1497533406

ETAx4: The "teacher" on my list is a college electrical engineering professor. But his primary source of income (wealth, really) is a ridiculously large portfolio of rental homes. Really good guy to know when you've got a friend or family member who is a bit down on his luck and needs a place to stay for a bit, with a forgiving landlord, as he gets back on his feet.

OK, I'll stop now.

Alphaville
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by Alphaville »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:58 pm
I think determining your own true or ideal web-of-goals is actually trickier than finding a job to meet some of them.
hah!

yes

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canoe
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by canoe »

unemployable wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:34 pm
this book.
That looks really interesting. Added to my reading list. I've always fantasized about that type of solitude.
Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 2:20 pm
Also, perhaps look around at the people in your life--
ETA: FWIW, when I do that mental exercise the list of folks I come up with are ALL small business owners in some capacity or another
ETAETA: None of the folks on my list work for big corporations, interestingly enough.
OK, I'll stop now.
I love this kind of firsthand insight. No need to stop. ;)

bliss88
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by bliss88 »

Greetings. Would running a landscaping or tree-pruning business fit the bill?

Contributes to health and fitness - check; I believe you can also hire others to do the more manual labor
Builds career capital (i.e. not dead-end) or is intrinsically interesting - if you enjoy learning about trees/plants?
Builds as many ERE-relevant practical skills as possible - perhaps the landscaping would combine multiple skills eg landscape design, permaculture, horticulture
Involves socialization/meeting people - check
Is enjoyable/flexible enough that it offsets some need for/doesn't get in the way of recreation - perhaps you just take on gigs as needed?
Pays enough - perhaps the most difficult box to check off ... you'd need to build up a client base

I have a friend who was a government-employed geologist, but to not have to leave the state of CA to keep working for the government, started a tree-pruning business. He mentioned he makes pretty good money with just 1 additional worker/partner and not having to work too hard. He is a rock climber so enjoys using harnesses and ropes to climb the trees. When he wants to travel, he has his partner (I don't think a co-owner of the business, likely someone he sub-contracts) keep things running. If you'd like, I'm happy to put you two in touch, just pm me.

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canoe
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by canoe »

bliss88 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:35 pm
Greetings. Would running a landscaping or tree-pruning business fit the bill?
I think it would! It is interesting to hear about your geologist friend. I always wonder how people who start businesses like that decide which line of work to go into. Did he have any expertise in tree pruning to start, or did he do an evaluation kinda like this post is about? (e.g. "I like rock climbing, how could I get paid to climb things?")

chenda
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by chenda »

Jean wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:08 am
Trail bandit:
You speak from experience ? :lol:

Hristo Botev
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Re: Web-of-Goals Job Ideas

Post by Hristo Botev »

@canoe: This popped up on the blog a couple days ago (https://earlyretirementextreme.com/how- ... mpany.html); and a mobile bike repair business is a pretty intriguing idea. It could be scalable--e.g., you could do it all by yourself or train and hire a team of folks. Obviously lot of variables at play here as to whether this might make sense, but in my town we've had 3 independent retail bike shops go out of business in the past 5 or so years, all of which offered bike repair services (some better than others). That's left us with no go-to place for bike repairs, which means folks have either been (a) driving a considerable distance to find a place, (b) figuring out how to do the repairs themselves, or (c) just trashing or moth-balling their old bike and buying one brand new. I wonder if the mobile bike repair business might make more sense in our current environment than a retail bike shop that offers bike repair services. Seems like bike repair is one of those things that's a bit more resilient to online competition and Silicon Valley disruption; with none of the overhead involved with running a retail bike shop.

Also, if we can expect more COVID type disruptions in the future, coupled perhaps with gasoline becoming more expensive, seems like the efficient brilliance of the bicycle won't be going away anytime soon, and knowing how to keep old bikes in working order might be a good skill to have. Also, not sure what the situation is now, but the shelves here were cleared out early on in the pandemic of bike tubes of all sizes as folks were getting on their bikes more as they were stuck at home. I was even in a sporting goods store where they'd taken the tubes off of one of the new bikes because they figured they could make more "repairing" a flat tire on a bike that had been brought in than they could selling the new bike.

Anyway, perhaps I'll spend some time trying to get better at repairing bikes and then use this as my own escape hatch.

ETA: Regarding the landscape company, a close friend of mine owns one (as I mentioned previously), and I'll just say that keeping good employees is a problem. It's very often the case that his best employees don't stick around too long before they set up a competing business, usually taking a good bit of my friend's customers in the process. That's one of the downfalls of having a business with relatively low barriers to entry.

ETAx2: The same low barrier of entry "problem" that applies to mow-and-blow landscape companies would also apply to a mobile bike repair business, with the exception that it takes a bit more knowledge to work on bikes than it does to run a mow-and-blow crew.

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