Lessons Learned at Low Paying Jobs

Lessons Learned at Low Paying Jobs

I didn't quit a cush job to start making money online. I did it while I was making $12 an hour and realized the ceiling was right around $16. I am a lazy person. I refuse to work that hard for that much pay. Of course, I couldn't refuse right away. It took two years before my efforts here started paying bills. It took the same amount of time to realize it was possible.

Now I think it's easy. Well, maybe not easy, but achievable. And that's all I really need to know. Just one chard of light at the end of the tunnel.

I still have a day job, the first that I can say I liked. And the one that taught me the most. But they all taught me something. Or maybe I just need to rationalize the fact that I wasted my time for this long. Or maybe some of you are still out there, working one of these jobs.

When your job is not your career, you do have a little freedom. You can choose 9 to 5 or you can choose 10pm to 6am. You can quit every two years or every six months. I did. You have to find advantages in the jobs you choose that don't involve money, because you are the slave of the work force.

What is a low paying job? Anything you call "job" or "work", plain and simple. Lately, I tried to figure out how much I made an hour affiliate marketing. If I take the blogging out, which I do more for reputation, fun, and future projects, I make about $100 an hour from pure affiliate marketing. The raise I gave myself this year, after I got my head out of my ass, was $40 an hour. I have never received a 67% raise at a "job", let alone a $40 one.

And fortunately I found out I could do this stuff before anyone else did. Who knows what my price would have been? Three years ago, $60,000 was a lot of money. It still is now. But even a job paying that much will have to take a back seat to what I now do online. Hopefully, by next year, I can put a $100,000 job in the same league. Freedom is not having a price tag.

On to the lessons and I think I will use the companies names:

Ryan's Steakhouse

  • Working sucks.
  • You may be more intelligent than your manager, but you must act as if you are stupid. Use the intelligence behind his back.
  • Managers had to be cross-trained before they got the label. That is, they had to work every job in the store for a period of time. I took this approach to making money on the internet, maybe too far.
  • Cattle and patrons of a buffet restaurant have striking similarities.
  • People are slobs at heart.
  • Never trust someone until you see how they treat the help.

Phillips 66

  • The graveyard shift is rather peaceful. You can get a lot of reading and writing done.
  • People aren't meant to have their sleeping patterns screwed with. A year of that and I did not sleep for a month, literally.
  • Sleep deprivation can be a worse than a bad acid trip.

Little Caesars

  • Even numbered houses are on the North and West sides of a street.
  • Odd numbered houses are on the South and East sides.
  • The average driver speeds where it is easy to get through traffic.
  • Cops know that.
  • I have had one accident in 14 years of driving, no tickets in 5 years, and I always speed.


  • I never got this job, but if you are ever bored, apply. I answered all the questions on the psyche test they gave me truthfully for the first time in my life just to see. I can usually guess the answers they are looking for. It really throws the interviewer for a loop. It's really fun watching them lose their cool and attack you when you give your opinion on marijuana use. I just sat there smiling as the other interviewers gave dirty looks to mine. She literally went off. There was a room full of interviewers and interviewees. I just shrugged when they looked over and smiled. When I left I told her that she was the one that need the psyche eval.


Gemaco Playing Card Company

  • That I never, ever, never again will work in a factory. My first and last paycheck: $50. Enough to walk 5 miles back home, buy a battery for my car, and find another job.

Photo courtesy of W-machines, since I can't find my own.

Napa, O'Reilly, Crown Toyota, Advance, and Checker

  • Cars are albatrosses, constantly sucking money that could go to better things but I still wanted to keep my 68 Cutlass mint.
  • Find a job where the discount comes in handy.
  • A job in auto parts is one of the most relocatable jobs in the U.S.A because cars are albatrosses blah, blah,blah.
  • I learned how enormous masses of data got catalogued. Google was a breeze after this. Data became easy.
  • On the average, people don't have common sense and civilization protects a lot of people who would die off in the wild.
  • I learned to pace myself. Make small advances at the right time. Those is charge only see things in emergencies. Be patient or you will have to keep up the same work load and not with the extra pay. Quit when you have reached the ceiling, because it only gets worse. The longest I have held a job is a little over two years.
  • A "salesmen" doesn't necessarily make the most sales. If you are accurate and fast, you can beat the top "salesman" in sales the first year on the job. I wasn't the best salesmen. I was the fastest cashier and knew how to find the right part.
  • Kissing ass does work two blocks away from the corporate headquarters and there are people bigger than your direct boss that may like you better.
  • Corporations suck crap through a tube. They will always pay you the bare minimum to keep you from quitting your job because it costs to train a new employee. To break this hold, switch vocations.

Arrowhead Doors

  • Small business rules.
  • You can show your intelligence to an owner.
  • Construction involves a few hours of hard work and a lot of driving to get to the hard work.
  • It's amazing half the buildings in America haven't just fallen over.
  • Everybody in the world does things half-assed at least part of the time.
  • Retail markup ain't nothing compared to the difference between the price you pay for door hardware and the price the end user pays.
  • You may think locks and alarm systems are safe. I trust guns.


All About Doors and Windows

  • If you know something about the internet, there are people who will hire you. You just have to look. No degree required.
  • Ebooks aren't a niche. Ringtones aren't a niche. The niche's are the things you have to buy because you need them and never think of. And they are much more than a niche.
  • You can rank higher than a companies website for their products because corporate web masters have no clue about SEO.
  • Huge websites that run on PHP can do amazing things with little tweaks.
  • Diligently putting over 6000 products online does pay off.
  • If you put 6000 products online and start kicking in the sales, make sure that you have streamlined the invoicing and shipping process first or are ready to hire new employees.

Okay, that's it. My opinion: if you want something more for yourself, you start today. Sometimes you don't have the option of even an internet connection (when I moved to Phoenix, I couldn't afford one for four months) , so you have to look around and take your lessons from what is around you. There is never going to be a right time. If that's what you are looking for, you are reading the wrong blog.

This post was inspired by a comment I left over at Monetize Lab.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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