What's a phrase that can convey the idea of "a variety of different jobs with no central theme"? "Various odds and ends" was the one that occurred to me, but it didn't feel exactly right and thefreedictionary also says it's used for material things, not jobs.

Is there a phrase that conveys this idea better?

Edit: Thanks for the comments, I mean jobs in the sense of employment, working at various companies or in several unconnected projects, etc.


7 Answers 7


The best term here is:

Odd job

a casual or isolated piece of work, especially one of a routine domestic or manual nature:

as in:

"Mike doesn't have permanent employment, he makes a living doing odd jobs for the local businesses".

  • 2
    Odd job is perfect but chore has the implication of being unpleasant and, usually, mundane, routine. I don't see how it or errand fit.
    – terdon
    Sep 5, 2013 at 13:19
  • I have removed errands and chores now that the OP has supplied additional context.
    – Ste
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:49

How about handyman

a man skilled in odd jobs, etc

or factotum

any employee or official having many different responsibilities.

  • 3
    +1 for factotum, which is a fantastic and rarely-used word. Handyman usually connotes manual labor or repairs, but can also work.
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:26

While not a direct answer to your question, there is a related concept for someone who can do all sort of jobs


You could use the phrase grab bag of jobs. Grab bag (with or without the hyphen) means

a miscellaneous collection


"Odd Jobs" is definitely the phrase you're looking for in terms of a name for several jobs of indeterminate nature and usually not much importance (though not necessarily unpleasant)

The act of taking on numerous jobs all at once is "multitasking", though that more refers to the action rather than a noun describing the group of jobs.

IF, however, you are looking for a person who does many different jobs, a "Jack-of-all-trades" describes such a person to a t.

A younger individual who does these odd jobs for their boss would be called an "errand boy".


Perhaps the term "dilettante" would be appropriate for someone who moves between various areas of interest and employment?


You might refer to sundry tasks; sundry has a sense “Consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds; miscellaneous”. Its synonyms may also serve; they include assorted, miscellaneous, mixed, motley, heterogeneous. Also consider the many variants of mishmash and hodgepodge, like farrago, gallimaufry, hotchpotch, jumble, medley, melange, mingle-mangle, mixed bag, mixture, motley, oddments, omnium-gatherum, pastiche, potpourri, ragbag, slurry.


Possibly "freelance work"... a freelancer is someone to takes up random jobs here and there and doesn't have one steady, permanent job.

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