Odd Jobbing

As I seek more permanent employment–which is progressing fairly well on multiple fronts, thank you for asking–I’ve  been looking for two things: (1) ways to keep busy and (2) ways to earn money. Yes, even wild-eyed idealists like me recognize the necessity of material capital. Also, school costs money. Go figure.

While I’m going to interviews and writing cover letters and trolling job websites like mad, I’ve also been picking up odd jobs here and there when the opportunity presents itself. For me, this largely consists of petsitting and housesitting. These are ideal gigs for me. I like animals of all sorts. Pretty much nothing grosses me out (except palmetto bugs). And, perhaps most importantly, I have my own transportation.

More than likely, there are opportunities for odd jobs in your community. Even if you’re fully employed, it’s a great way to pick up some extra cash. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you also get to hang out in a different place for a week or two. Which, let me tell you, is great for writing. Worried about how to proceed? Three tips:

1) Stick with who you know. Most of the work I do is for friends, family, and acquaintances through both. At the moment, I’m dogsitting for one of my college roommates’ parents. If you go through direct connections, you cut down the risk of scams. Ask around. See if someone knows someone who could use your expertise. Which reminds me…

2) Stick with what you know. Petsitting is a job with low skill requirements, but it wouldn’t work out if, for example, I had a fear of dogs. Or if I minded giving animals shots or pills. Likewise, if your HTML skillz are rusty at best, it’s probably not a great idea to offer to create that website for your coworker’s sister.

3) Know what your time is worth. Yes, you want to get paid. Don’t we all. But have a reasonable idea of what your skills are actually worth. It’s not nice to be greedy with your friends. Conversely, just because you like someone doesn’t mean you should work for free. Be upfront about your expectations and you’ll avoid nasty surprises later. Nothing gets people riled like money.

By the way, here’s a photo of my current charge, Casey:

What are your skills? Have you ever done freelancing? What’s your favorite odd job?

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