It's more than just adrenaline-chasing: these professionals have made paintball courses, movie sets and 30,000-foot elevation their offices.
You won’t find a lot of Thrill Seekers with doctorates on FindYourGrind.com. Not because they’re not intelligent, of course, but because long-term planning often takes the backseat to elevation, speed or the euphoria that comes from a burst of pressure or focus.
These professionals are often driven by feelings, by instincts. And their career paths may sometimes not look like paths at all. That’s part of the fun — finding ways to turn a rush into a job that’s repeatable, constructive, or teachable. From metal fabricators to stuntmen to pilots, let’s take a closer look at non-traditional careers of five Thrill Seekers.
Holding the motorcycle and automobile land-speed records for women is just one of Jessi Combs’ claims to fame. In the years since, she’s strived to educate drivers, and especially women, about their vehicles, hosting Xtreme 4x4 and other shows centered on driving and building.
Combs is a Creator in additional to a Thrill Seeker. Just watch the interview below as she describes the satisfaction of racing a bike or car for the first time after spending months in the shop welding, testing, and tinkering.
You don’t get into operating something as specific as paintball courses if you don’t first have some passion for paintball. And Hollywood Sports Park owner Bear Degidio has certainly enjoyed the whizz of a ball speeding past or the ensuing splatter. Now, the former paintball champ has to consider what makes the combat sport fun for other players and how to monetize that experience at his Southern California course.
If there’s a theme that really comes to the front in the interview below, it’s Degidio understanding his business inside and out. The real satisfaction, he says, comes from providing the service, not taking money in return.
Eric Finley enjoys the unpredictability of his job as a commercial pilot. Not in the actual cockpit, of course, but in scheduling, in lifestyle, in not knowing exactly where he’ll wake up tomorrow and whether he’ll ever see that particular sunrise again. Finley is the president and chief pilot of Orange County's Luxcraft Aviation, and from a young age he’s been “interested in things that go.”
As a kid that meant cars, dirt bikes, boats — anything that could kick up a little dust or leave a wake. Watch the video below to learn how Finely went from being a vehicle-obsessed kid to a commercial pilot who helps others jet set around the world.
Unlike some of the people above, William Spencer hasn’t turned his passion into a pure business that he owns, operates and oversees. There’s more freedom in Spencer’s world; he’s doing the same thing he did as a kid, just for major Hollywood productions.
Observing a few years back that nobody skateboards professionally forever, Spencer pivoted to becoming a stuntman for films, televisions and commercials. That was all going fine, but a career-defining job came in the form of a phone call from Andrew Garfield, who’d spotted Spencer online and was looking for someone to double the skateboarding scenes in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Learn more about Spencer’s fascinating career (and what bumps and bruises might come along with it) in the video below.
An avid basketball player and sports enthusiast throughout his childhood, esports professional Colin Wentworth transferred his competitive streak into the digital sphere and a booming job market. But the esports pro — better known as eVol when he’s competing in Vainglory — still knew from a young age he had to take gaming seriously if he wanted to do it professionally. That was a requirement; after all, the vast majority of esports' elite players are in their early 20s.
Read the full interview with Wentworth for his advice on creating a work, life and school balance when you’re still in high school.
Want to learn more about the Thrill Seeker lifestyle? Take our Lifestyle Assessment to see where you fit in and what professional paths might suit the skills and passions you're already developing. (Main photo by Bradley Dunn on Unsplash.)