ATHENS, GA—Unbeknownst to struggling sculptor Thomas Cleary, 28, several of his life choices are inevitably leading him closer to a career in the self-storage industry. "I wanted to focus more on my art, so I moved into a cheaper place in this neighborhood full of old warehouses," said Cleary, whose now lives conveniently close to Strobel's Mini-Storage and—because of his decisions to withdraw from college in 1999 and break off an engagement last year—will eventually apply for a job there. "Hopefully I'll save enough on rent to pay back what I owe [ex-fiancée] Susan. I'll probably still need to find a way to supplement my income, though." Although Cleary is powerless to avoid his future occupation, he will quickly be promoted to manager thanks to his preternatural ability to hand out metal keys.