Being a DJ
courtesy Rae Leytham Photography
After a semester at a junior college, Brian Buonassissi left school to become a DJ. He got his start working as an apprentice for a DJ manufacturer marketing manager. Within a year of his apprenticeship, he was DJ-ing in nightclubs in California. Over time, he was booking nightclubs across the United States, specifically landing private events in New York where he relocated to work full-time in 2011 as DJ Brian B. Officially he’s been in the business for 21 years. When he started, he was earning $25,000 to $30,000 per year and now earns over $150,000 per year. His advice on making it as a DJ? Know your financial basics, practice the craft, market yourself (but make sure you have the skills to back yourself up). With an open approach to his work, Buonassissi incorporates retro classics, pop hits, hip-hop, rock, reggae and house into the rotation. He interacts with the crowd through creative programming, which, to him means figuring out the vibe and adjusting as needed. Find out the weirdest jobs you didn’t know you could apply to.
Salary: According to PayScale.com, a DJ’s salary can range from $19,885 to $236,718.
Suggested skills: marketing, social media, music industry knowledge, creativity, software proficiency
Courtesy Bill Dykan
For 35 years, Billy Dykan worked as a carpenter in Philadelphia. He started working for a general contractor after graduating high school and then continued with the carpenter’s union where he completed an apprenticeship program. Throughout his career, he helped build residential and commercial homes and did everything from house framing to high-rises. Part of the appeal of being a carpenter is the simplicity and the reward. He said, “There is some pressure on your body but otherwise there is minimal stress involved. Plus, you start with nothing and end up with a building. You get to see a result at the end of the day.” Dykan took a brief hiatus from the field to work in the carpenter’s union office but ultimately returned to manual labor, preferring to feel the sense of daily gratification that comes with seeing the progress and result of building four walls every day. Since physical structures need to be built and maintained, the field offers job security. Dykan was able to retire at 53 and focus on his five children. He says, ” If you’re a carpenter, you can always make a living in most circumstances. You can always hang a door or put in a window.”
Salary: According to U.S. News, carpenters can earn up to $76,750.
Suggested skills: physical strength, precision, math sensibility, mechanical ability, communication