Some Uncommon Jobs Abroad

So far I’ve covered some common jobs abroad in two articles, one here and the other here. In this post, however, I want to cover some uncommon jobs abroad. You don’t find these ones talked about too much, well, except maybe consultancy, but it seems everybody is a consultant these days. One thing that my Dad is always fond of saying is that there are jobs available for those who want them. It confused him why, when I returned home from my first trip abroad, that I wouldn’t go pump gas at the local gas station. Well, after seeing the possibilities out there, you might sympathize with me on why I didn’t. Next time, however, maybe I won’t be so reluctant. So here we go, some uncommon jobs abroad.

The sky's the limit.
The sky’s the limit.

Boat Work

Ever wanted to cross the Pacific on a boat? I have but have yet to find the time, and the money, to do so. Lame excuse, you might say, and rightfully so. However, I’ve never worked on a yacht and may have been on one once… in a museum. So I gotta find someone who’s willing to take on a newbie AND that doesn’t care that I’m not female, single, and broken hearted. That being the case, you don’t often meet folks on yachts because, well, they don’t sleep in dorms if they have accommodation already. I list some links that were suggested to me but I’ve never used them before.

  • Find A Crew – This could be your starting point. Free registration, but you’ll have to pay to see the phone numbers, etc.
  • All Cruise Jobs – A comprehensive website dedicated to lining up employers with employees. It’s kind of a big middle man so I’m not sure how much luck you’ll have applying online. That being the case, it can be great to check out what’s needed on cruise ships, etc. I’ve ben told of one cruise line, Princess something or other, but they go through an agency in North America. Basically, find a cruise ship agency, register and wait, or…
  • Your nearby port – Singapore, George Town (Malaysia), Phuket (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia), lots of Australia, the list goes on. Call me dumb but I never even thought about this until I met one sailor who suggested it. If you’re interested in sailing and/or looking for work on a boat, walk on over to the local port and ask around. You might find work or you might at least find a trip to your next destination. I’ve been told $20/day is the typical fee boats charge for transportation. Haggle and you might get a better deal, or none!


Before you start consulting, you need to have some sort of specialty. I’ve seen quite a few people offer “lifestyle design” consultation. I don’t really understand what’s involved with that specialty but it seems to work. Or you could get a few books on how to manage your life. Either way, “consulting” is a broad term that covers a lot of area. Pick an area that you’d like to specialize in and start looking for clients. Chances are, if you know something about your subject, there’s someone out there who would probably pay you for your knowledge and experience. Experience, ah yes, that does count, too. After all, if you were looking for a consultant yourself you would want someone who’s “been there done that” and that you can learn from. Further, consultation doesn’t have to be a stand alone business, you can run it in conjunction with another. In my last post on more common job abroad I listed a few websites that can also be examined for their consultation services, if only as an example.

  • Business Backpacker – Brooke Ferguson is now set up in southern Thailand but she continues to consult in addition to writing about her travels.
  • Lifehacker – Website dedicated to “hacking” life. Basically, it’s down-to-earth advice on how to do things to make your life easier.
  • Chris Guillebeau – Author of a few books on how to go into business for yourself. His website offers lots of useful free advice.
  • Professional Hobo – Same same as mentioned before, but she also offers “life style design” consultation.
  • Fluent in 3 Months – Offers language learning consultations.
  • You – One of the basic tenets of consulting is that you have to consult. I can’t remember where I read it but the gist was that you don’t need anything fancy to start consulting, just a client or two. Ask them for referrals, give them a percentage of the profits and badda bing you’ve got yourself a multi-level marketing scam scheme to bring in more clients.

ViolinistAnother uncommon job simply because it is difficult to make money as a musician! With rampant piracy and unauthorized copying going on unchecked and unmitigated, you have to wonder why anyone would become a musician. Not only that, because of our modern capabilities at making things easier for people to do just about anything they want, anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can become a musician! Fantastic, no? Or is it so difficult? Remember that we all like to hear quality music and see quality performances and for that, we will pay. I WILL PAY. Geez, I walk into CD stores in SE Asia and just pick whatever cover looks pretty in two or three different sections of the store. Ranting aside, there are a few ways to make money as a musician as you travel the world. First, create a band and tour. I’ve met a few folks who have done accomplished this. Second, make music on your computer, just remember what I said about quality and performance, okay? Third, busk. I recall seeing one image of some famous violinist playing some famous piece and everybody was aghast at how no one dropped any coins into his hat. At first it bothered me too, then I realized the guy was simply standing at the entrance of a subway and expecting people to just throw money at him. Nuh uh, if you’re going to perform, you gotta put on a show! So #fail to that shit right there. In any event, supermarkets, libraries, cafes, small towns, there are lots of places to play. Sometimes you’ll make money, sometimes you won’t. Fourth, cruise ships. Getting in is probably your toughest part but once you’re in you can start networking and demonstrate to your agency just how great you really are. More resources are below under the “street performance” topic.

  • Musician Wages – Excellent resource on the music business. From teaching online to working on cruise ships, this site is extremely informative.
  • Music Think Tank – Another music website dedicated to the working musician. Helpful articles.

Street Performance and The Arts Non Musical

Do you know how to poke needles through your nipples and hang weights from them better than a Therrapuist monk in Malaysia? Do you know how to spin fire sticks better than the rookies on Koh Phi Phi? Can balance thirteen things on your head while eating a sandwich? Or can you simply make people laugh while juggling a few balls… in the air? If so, you might be more employable than an ESL teacher! Joke’s on them, ain’t it!?!? Hahaha! Anyway, busking, or street performance as it’s commonly called, is the art of prostituting yourself on the streets except without the explicit sex. Instead, you display your talents, whatever they may be, and people choose whether or not to pay you for your performance. Painting, human statues, juggling, clowns, the list is endless and all potentially profitable if you are able to draw the crowd and get them to give you a few coins or more. It’s presentation skills, it’s showmanship, it’s a bit of work and it still may not go your way. That being the case, who needs an office when the whole world is your market place, right? Here are some links to get the ideas flowing:

  • World Busk – Resource site for those interested in street performance.
  • Busker World – Another resource site for those who want to perform on the street.
  • List of Busking Locations – Updated by Wikipedia users, it gives you a good idea where people have had success before.
  • The Busking Project – A documentary team travelled the world and interviewed street performers. Helpful, free resources in addition to their DVD.

Pump Gas

Alright, I’ll put it in here as a tip o’ the hat to the old man and just in case you’re really stuck for work. Forget the bloody cafes in Australia or New Zealand what people need are pump jockeys to help them fill up their LPG tanks. Have you ever seen one of those things? Anyway, if you’re hurting for work, inquire at the local gas station to see if they need someone to attend the pumps. Works best in heavily industrialized nations that consume vast amounts of oil and gas, such as Canada, United States, Britain, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I’m sure there are others, too. Geez… I never thought I’d admit that my Dad would be right, especially in writing.

  • Co-Op, Petro Canada – Canadian gas companies. My Dad likes to mention the Co-Op whenever I go back to Canada. Hmmm, maybe next time.
  • Shell, Esso – Multinational gas companies.

Stock Trading

what-my-friends-think-I-do-what-i-actually-do-traderWhen my brothers read my last post on common jobs abroad they mentioned that I sounded like Dad, the only thing missing was a mention about trading stocks. Well, here it is. I have traded stocks with some success but I’ve had my failures, too. Let me tell you something, trading stocks isn’t as easy as it sounds and most people who try fail miserably and then jump on the conspiracy bandwagon. Lordy lordy lordy if I had a dollar every time someone got all hot under the collar about how the market is corrupt and this and that I’d be rich! One of the first things to figure out is if you yourself should actually be trading. Some people just aren’t disposed to it, and that’s fine, get someone else to do it for you. So I’ll make you a deal. If you want to bitch about the conspiracies of the stock market, send me $50 to my Paypal account (stevensirski [at] gmail [dot] com) and give me a call. I’ll listen to what you have to say. How long can you last? One hour? BUT, if you want to learn how to trade stocks, shoot me an email and I can try my best to explain. (NB: My brother talked me out of charging an exorbitant consulting fee.) Now, I’m not a certified financial guy and I don’t dispense financial advice, but I can tell you a little about how the market works, point you in the right direction and help you find and use the appropriate tools to make better investment decisions. Your call, just don’t bitch to me about how the market doesn’t care, that’s been known for quite some time. Yes, it is possible to make money in the stock market and yes anyone can do it. There are a variety of methods out there but I can tell you it comes down to focus and discipline. If you don’t have either of those then maybe you should get somebody else to do it for you.

  • Me – stevensirski [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ll do my best to help you understand the markets a little better.
  • The Backpacking Investor – A website dedicated to understanding and profiting from markets around the world.
  • Day Trading Academy – Run by the WanderingTrader, (his real name is Marcello) the site aims at teaching folks how to day trade.