Managing an Unconventional Career Path

martinis and your money

Managing an Unconventional Career Path

Today I am talking to Mel from Broke Girl Rich, and I have always been fascinated by her story. For those of you who are not familiar, after randomly signing up for the wrong class in college, Mel discovered a love for the behind the scenes work in theater. So rather than pursuing a career teaching or in the Peace Corps, Mel took a job on a cruise ship where she ended up working for the next five years of her life. After her cruise ship experience, Mel got a job with the circus.

One of the best things I love about Mel, though, is that she followed a career path that may be unconventional to most but inspired great passion in her. It’s difficult for many of us to follow our passions; however, for those that are brave enough to take that path, a truly surprising journey may unfold before you.


What are we drinking?

Mel – Saranac IPA (not near as crazy a beer label as Joe’s)

Shannon – Bud Light (I am a big believer in beers and barbecues for celebrating Memorial Day weekend so I had a number of beers leftover from the weekend and indulged with her.)

Podcast Notes:
  • Mel shares the graduation surprise that she had for her parents
  • Mel talks about what cruise ship life was like and how it compared to Animal House
  • Mel talks about why you left the cruise life for the circus life
  • Mel discusses her current job and the challenges of managing the schedule


Random Three Questions Mel Answered
  1. What’s your favorite roadside attraction?
  2. If you could live in any other country, which country would you choose?
  3. Which do you prefer to travel by, car, plane, train or boat?
Have you ever been on a cruise? Could you imagine working on a cruise ship? What’s the oddest job you have ever worked?
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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. We went on a family cruise years ago and love it. Our kids still talk about that vacation. We’d like to plan one again some time. I don’t think I could work on a cruise ship having a family, being away from them for an extended period of time would not work for me.

  2. Thanks so much for having me on, Shannon! I was actually super nervous. And I loved of all the circus pictures, you went for the train car – most people seem to consider that the most interesting part of working there.

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