5 people share how they landed their unexpected dream jobs — from Trader Joe's crew member to voiceover artist
- Finding a job that you love can take some trial and error.
- Five people share how they pivoted from the career paths they were on to pursue their dream jobs.
Ever fantasize about earning a living doing something you love?
Insider spoke to a handful of people about how they landed the job of their dreams, even if it was something entirely different than they'd set out to do. Here's how five professionals who love their jobs described their work and what it means to them.
Sion Dayson is a freelance voiceover artist living in Valencia, Spain
Anything where you hear a voice but don't see a person is voiceover. I do a lot of eLearning and corporate narration— explainer videos, commercials, eLearning modules, or PSAs, stuff like this. Voice acting requires a lot of skills and training. It's not just reading a script! You need a solid understanding of a text, and how best to communicate the message so that a listener really feels it.
I was a writer for many years, so I love telling stories. With voiceover, I'm still telling stories … but I don't have to write the scripts. I get to be creative, work with language, and build relationships with clients — all from the comfort and convenience of my cozy sound booth.
Hugo Schwyzer, 55, is a crew member at Trader Joe's in Hawthorne, California
I lost my teaching job in 2013, and tried many other things unsuccessfully before a friend suggested I might like the camaraderie at Trader Joe's. I'd reached the point in my life where it didn't matter that I had a PhD, or that I had been a tenured college professor with publications. I just needed to make a living somehow.
At TJ's, we do a little bit of everything — unloading trucks, breaking down pallets, stocking groceries before the store opens, working as cashiers and baggers on the registers.
When I taught, or wrote articles, I wondered if it mattered. I felt like a fraud. I don't feel any imposter syndrome stocking cans of beans or joking with regular customers who come through my line. I feel needed.
Although I make only a fraction of the money I once made, I feel a sense of competence and satisfaction almost every day.
Jon Potkalitsky, 41, became the president of The Nxt Lvl Athlete Sports Management Agency in Twinsburg, Ohio
I wake up every day and go wow, I have a job that most guys would kill for. I meet celebrities and network with high profile professional athletes, including countless Hall of Famers. My company handles it all: branding, marketing, building and generating opportunities for signed athletes, you name it. We don't just help athletes with their contracts; we teach them how to evolve and succeed off the field.
Before I started this company, I was running a staffing agency. I found out I had leukemia. Then, my wife ended our marriage. All this motivated me to reevaluate my life. Three years later, I still have cancer but I'm grateful, because I love my career.
Nkenge Browner, 36, is grassroots director of Mothering Justice, a nonprofit organization in Detroit, Michigan
I was working at a primarily white-staffed shelter that mostly served women of color. After dealing with one racial issue after another, I started preparing to quit. A white woman there asked if I'd heard of Mothering Justice, so I looked them up. MJ was founded by a Black mama who literally breast fed during my interview.
My job is to build community amongst Black mamas. I learn from them what issues are affecting their lives, and then I assist them at organizing other mamas to create solutions to those issues. We also teach this community to lobby legislators who ran campaigns on promises made to Black women and Black working class families.
My favorite thing about this job is being able to work with women who don't see themselves as politically involved. I love watching them grow to own their political power.
Gretchen Schwarz, 46, is a visual arts high school teacher in Brooklyn, NY
I started out wanting to be a working artist, but I became disillusioned with the art world. I wanted a career where I could share my love of art and art-making with others without the industry politics and pressure to become a "commercial success."
I love working with young adults, seeing their work and helping them through the art-making process. I offer demonstrations in some techniques, but I prefer they discover on their own what any given art material can do. I talk to my students about their ideas in a way that will hopefully lead them to make work that is personally meaningful. When a student has that "ah ha" moment, and I'm there to witness it— that's my favorite feeling. It's a privilege to be a part of their process.
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