Now at the outset, it needs to be said that there is nothing wrong with having a job in any of these fields. Working is a noble pursuit which beats crime and begging, but if you’re wanting to increase your prospects for financial security and take better care of yourself and your family, then have a look at some ideas for using these jobs effectively to build wealth, or using them as a stepping stone to a better paying gig.
A noble profession if ever there was one, cleaners are often thought of as second class citizens by some snobs. The truth is, cleaning is an art and a skill, but unfortunately not a very well-paying one. If you’re a cleaner, take great pride in what you do, because those who think it’s beneath them usually have no skill in this area. Options for increasing your wealth: take a couple of weekend jobs to clean privately; become a supervisor and rise up the ranks; or start your own cleaning company.
2. Security guard
This can be a very tough gig. 12 hour shifts on your feet are no joke, and if you don’t find ways to become engaged then you might find the job tedious and boring. But there is usually a huge responsibility in securing an asset, so do your best at all times. Options: increase your grade though training so that you can get paid better; become a supervisor; start your own company; exit the industry. Try to use the time you have to study and improve your skills. Case in point: a guard at UJ many years ago studied for free (all employees get free studies), graduated, and then quit.
If you’re really skilled this can actually become a lucrative lifetime job. One waiter at a coffee shop in a major centre has been there for 20 years, and it is possible to make some handsome tips. The downside is that not everyone tips, or tips very well. Options: make sure you save a hefty portion of what you make (not for anything other than growing your wealth – this is not saving for a new suit or something); ask the owner to offer incentives like a small percentage of sales; use the skills you’ve picked up to start your own coffee shop (perhaps you can partner with the owner).
4. Subsistence entrepreneur
You’re selling phone chargers, fruit or drinks on the side of the road, and you’re barely making ends meet. This is tough stuff in the sun, but it’s all you can manage because you lack the skills to do anything else. Options: make sure you save money so that you don’t feel stuck in a rut; look for options to improve your skills wherever possible; try to offer products that are different so that you have something unique; formalise your sales skills in a spaza shop, and grow from there.
5. Shop assistant
Long hours, weekend work, demanding customers. You’re probably young and just starting out, or maybe not. Be grateful you have a job that’s not outside in the sun, your hours are long but not as long as some, and you get lunch and tea breaks. One woman in a store went from assistant to manager to area manager in a matter of 6 months because she was great at her job. If you really hate it, set aside a little money every month to study (Unisa is super cheap, and you get a degree), and use quiet periods in the shop to learn and study, then move on asap.
As the old saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Don’t ever give up on yourself or your dreams.