Yesterday, after hearing that two of my older, most-respected friends and mentors are entirely out of work (“There is no work. It is just unbelievable. Everyone I know is freaking out.”) I finally started to panic. Sure, I’ve been making less money than anyone I know for over a year now. But as I sat there in sympathy, clutching fistfuls of my hair, I knew what I had to do. It’s like that Bing Crosby song. Accentuate the positive. (Warning: If you click through, it leads to Bette Midler.)
So I now present to you a list, on yet another Friday of our recession. I preface it saying that I know nothing about money, the economy, or the workforce. I’m just another poor schmuck trying to make it in a growing ocean of poor schmucks, many of whom are far more talented than myself. I’m just offering some suggestions of things you can do to supplement your income. Or resume having an income, if you’re one of the notorious 8.1%.
Jobs That, If You Squint, Can Make You A Silver Lining:
Run a convenience store from your basement. Sell pickled or frozen food.
Studies are showing that people are reverting to simpler times when it comes to cooking. Spam sales are up. Frozen foods are flying off the shelves. People are relying on Depression Era cooking. Convenience stores aren’t suffering nearly as much as specialty stores, and those selling cheap wares whose shelf-life is longer than Cher are making a bit of a profit. I say learn how to pickle and can, and start selling homemade pickled radishes and white bread to your neighborhood. You’ll probably do better if you live in an area where people would want to avoid driving a long distance to get to the store, or where they would want to be desperate to save money on gas, or an area where people really like pickles, such as near a convalescent home or an OBGYN clinic. Just be wary of botulism.
If you’re not going to an online university, get hired by one
University of Phoenix must be soaring. Online universities are actually doing well during this recession, as people shy away from those “traditional” (read: extremely fucking expensive) degrees. So make lemonade out of your lemons by getting hired, and, if you’re willing to relocate, you can even work near us, in lovely Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Deal drugs. Host a speakeasy from your living room.
Who the hell wants to be sober during the shittiest economic climate in recent history? Not me, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, I’m an alcoholic, but you, moderate drinker and recreational drug user, you can turn your hobby or your habit into a lucrative career in libation and intoxication. This might not have been what your mother meant when she told you to influence people, but, hey, with alcohol being considered “somewhat recession proof,” why not start brewing your own beer, or bathing in gin? Worse comes to worse, you can always peddle pot.
Put cold, hard cash in your cold, dead hands.
You would think that with people pawning so much shit there would be less to protect. But no. Apparently people still want the right to bear arms, even if it’s just to protect their last can of peas and their HDTV that they’re in debt over. So get into the gun business. Hey, it’s worth a shot! Go to a gun show and ask some of the grizzled old timers there how to get hired at an existing shop, or how to start your own, ’cause I have no idea. Guns scare me.
Offer relationship advice for a price. ‘Cause divorce is expensive.
Breaking up is hard to do to your wallet. People, especially people across the pond, are opting not to walk out on marriages, in part because of the legal fees associated with breaking this most sacred bond. (Sites that cater to cheaters are also benefiting from the bust.) While I wouldn’t condone going back to school for your degree, maybe just put up a shingle, like Lucy, and find the good in “Good grief.”
From cars to shoes, people are opting to repair rather than buy new. If you have any skills — sewing, welding, painting, unlicensed HVAC clout — offer them. You can go to work during the day, if you still have a job, and then offer sock darning out of the back seat of your sedan at night. Bonus marketing points if you find a way to integrate the trend of “going green” into your new endeavor.
Oh, and I’m kidding about the HVAC thing. You always need a licensed professional to do stuff like that. Or you can just be like my mom and use duct tape and a sweater.
(Unless you’re a writer!) These days, companies are downsizing, outsourcing, or just giving up. If you can sell your skills on the side, you might be able to make do. Of course the current trend is for businesses to try to keep everything internal. But as more and more people are laid off, and the remaining workers find themselves doing too many tasks, companies will hire someone from outside…and you can bet your last dollar that these won’t be full-time positions. What I’m trying to say is that if you were recently laid off and you have any talents that can translate in the corporate world in the form of a short-term gig, now is not the time to try out that mowhawk you’ve been wanting to have since you bought your first Germs record.
If you do go freelance, welcome to our world, where day-to-day living, even in the most booming of economic climes, is pretty much tantamount to a recession. Good luck, and pass the pickles.
Drop me a line: AinsleyDrew at gmail dot com. Do it! I write back!
You can always hire us.