Odd jobs serve that delightful purpose of yielding money and security with minimal commitment required. Additionally, they fill the necessarily void in the life of any creative person and/or wayward wanderer unwilling to plant his roots but in need of substantiation. Along with the perks of flexibility though, comes the gruel of lackluster labor: waiting tables; delivering pizzas; cleaning houses; watching rich kids scream and fight with each other over what video game to play. As David Sedaris once informed the world, desperation can lead to the most usual of circumstances.
“Yesterday I applied for a job at UPS,” the satirist wrote in his breakout short story, “SantaLand Diaries.” “They are hiring drivers’ helpers for the upcoming Christmas season, and I went to their headquarters filled with hope. In line with three hundred other men and women, my hope diminished. During the brief interview, I was asked why I wanted to work for UPS and I answered that I wanted to work for UPS because I liked the brown uniforms. What did they expect me to say?”
Later, the popular author infamously took a job as an elf at Macy’s.
Not all side gigs are bad, however; some can be quite amusing, lucrative even, or both. Others provide added incentives and free running shoes. Here are five odd jobs that beat the monotony of most, and can help keep drifters afloat:
Photo courtesy of Michael Dolan.
Tour Guide at Coney Island
Hang out at one of the country’s most iconic amusement parks and entertain tourists with random facts at $25 a pop. If you do two or three tours a week, you’ll make the same amount of money as a PA in Hollywood, and can skip out on the long hours and giant egos. Plus, it’s always fun to see who’s perusing the kookiest coast in Brooklyn.
Photo courtesy of Victor1558.
It doesn’t get much more boring than video transcription, but for rigorous typists who can turn video to text in efficient time spreads, the gig can pay close to $50 an hour. Get in with studios, research groups or local production companies, and let them know you’re ready and willing, and usually you can do the job from home working off their deadlines. All you need are good headphones, a computer and Microsoft Word.
Photo courtesy of Elvert Barnes.
This may sound a bit ridiculous, but why not work a tan, tone your muscles, and use your hands all the while making a decent living? The average salary for life in a hard-hat comes to about $45,000 a year, and if you work it like Bourne Legacy star Jeremy Renner, the side project can lead to a million dollar career in home renovation. The actor recently told The Wrap, “”I dig it; it keeps me grounded. You run into the Beverly Hilton to do ‘Extra,’ and then you have a meeting here, and then you go to a red carpet…And between all these things, I’m going to pick out tile.”
Photo courtesy of Jimi Lanham.
Squeeze in a good workout and get paid, often between $50-100 an hour on the low-end. If you’re athletic and hard-working, it’s a fairly easy field to manage because most gyms in cities offer programs for certification, as well as a variety of ways to be involved, from one-on-one sessions to group instruction in dance, spinning, and kickboxing. Furthermore, perks can include free or discounted merchandise, which is a good break if it pertains to shoes.
Photo courtesy of Steve Garfield.
Social Media Maven
These days, every company needs a Twitter account, and most execs don’t know how to use it. With the rise of online media, everyone from dental offices to law firms are on the lookout for savvy web-miners with a knack for clever catch phrases and integrated marketing skills. Depending on where you look, the job can pay a lot or a little, ranging from part-time to full-time to random. Regardless, you’ll get paid to spend all your time on Facebook, as if you weren’t going to be there anyway.
Think outside the bar, and you won’t end up serving drinks till four in the morning wishing you were enjoying them yourself. The more creative the job, the less likely you are to quit.