Want to keep your head above water in post-meltdown America? Here's some ways to get your own bailout bucks — without a W2.
If you're like the more than nine percent of Americans currently unemployed, your "Yes We Can!" has lately lost some of its gusto. You've hit up everyone you know for work, including your mom, your ex, and your ex's ex. Let's face it: jobs are about as easy to find these days your hedge-fund manager's home phone number. Meanwhile, you're broker than Iceland and you're in need of a serious cash infusion.
Fortunately, a little bit of hustle and a can-do attitude are the ingredients necessary for a moneymaking rain dance. We've put together a few pointers for thriving in post-meltdown America that you probably won't find posted on the wall at the unemployment office. And remember, if these fail you, there's always prostitution and food service (two jobs that require the same skills — just in different uniforms). Get out your umbrellas!
Bite the bulletin
Feed your (continuing) ed
Do you have a little time and dough to invest in a career upgrade? Here are three degrees you can get quickly that will give you an excellent shot at skipping the bread line.
EMT CERTIFICATION It's hard work, and not for the faint of heart, but a basic EMT license will get you onto the bottom rung of the health-care ladder — a field that still has a clear path for advancement, and that's growing at a tremendous clip despite (or perhaps because of) our nation's woes. Northeastern University offers basic EMT classes running from June 30 to September 19 for $1323.
GREEN JOBS The recent stimulus bill included $500 million for green-job training nationwide. The Department of Labor hasn't started doling out the money yet — they're still looking at grant applications — but once they do, watch for green-job-certification programs to crop up across the country. Words of wisdom: be wary of frauds and hucksters.
BEAUTY SCHOOL No clever bastard has yet found a way to outsource a pedicure to Bangladesh. You can complete a part-time degree in cosmetology in six months to a year: try the Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics in Medford, or the Blaine School near Boston Common.
Before you panic, first hit the job boards. Students: you have a particular advantage here, as university communities are a hotbed of temp jobs, and student-support centers are usually eager to help hook you up. BU, for instance, keeps an online "Quickie Job" bulletin board for registered students, while MIT allows students to sign onto an "on-call list" for babysitting, data entry, and other kinds of temporary work.
Even if you're not a student, you can still prowl university bulletin boards in meatspace. Or try well-trafficked coffeeshops, small grocery stores, and laundromats. If you peel away the apartment listings and expired band flyers (not to mention umpteen pleas for employment from other desperate schmoes like yourself), you should be able to find ads for part-time work with high turnover, such as collecting petition signatures or cleaning houses.
Kiss your grass goodbye
In hard times, the right piece of equipment can make you an instant entrepreneur. (Consider Mad Max, who probably made bank renting out his Geiger counter.) Have a lawnmower? You're in business. Go around your neighborhood looking for shockingly unkempt yards, and start knocking on doors. (Do be prepared, however, to encounter equal amounts of dog shit and absentee landlords.)
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