By Julie Ann
In Spare Change we are always discussing ways to save money, but this month I thought we would shift gears a little and talk about making money. Oh, but I’m not talking about making money at boring 8-to-5 cubicle jobs, taking orders at Applebee’s or folding clothes at Forever 21 in the mall. I’m taking about the crazy ways people make money and the jobs that make you say, “You get paid to do what?!” I asked my friends and family to share some of the craziest ways they made money or the weirdest jobs they’ve ever had and I got some pretty funny responses that prove that when you need to get the rent paid, nothing is too lowly.
Children can sometimes come up with some pretty funny money-making schemes since gainful employment opportunities are few and far between. For example, my great-aunt Patty decided that she had hatched the perfect money-making scheme when she was eight years old. She carefully picked the prettiest flowers from yards within her neighborhood. She then put the flowers into bouquets and went door-to-door selling them to the very same neighbors whose yards she had plucked them from!
Of course during college is often when the weird jobs and money-making schemes are at their height. For two summers during college, I sat at a scanner for eight hours a day, five days a week pulling photographs of New Mexico prairie chicken habitats out of folders, scanning them into a digital format, and putting them back in the folder. Try making that sound impressive on a resume! I do consider myself a prairie chicken habitat specialist now.
My friend Rebekah faired only slightly better. During her undergrad, she recorded herself reading text books onto cassette tapes for the visually impaired.
“My favorite books were a medical terminology book and a book on refrigeration repairs,” she said. “I think I even fell asleep while reading once.”
Not even Donna, our fearless editor at Single!, was exempt from crazy money-making schemes during her college days. In need of a little extra cash she stumbled across an advertisement for a personal products company asking for guinea pigs to test products. The company put 20 dabs of product on 20 different band aids across her back and after two days (with no showering) they removed the band aids and looked for irritated skin. She earned $25 for her efforts.
Oh and if you think the crazy jobs will end after college and you can get a “real” job – think again. For example, after graduating college, my friend Laura found herself cleaning hotel rooms. She eventually found a job in her field, but you can bet she felt pretty frustrated making beds and cleaning toilets with a college degree. I found myself working at Hallmark and then as a paid church nursery worker for a while after graduation. I needed my brand spankin’ new journalism degree for neither.
Yup, crazy jobs are out there just waiting at every stage of life. Just ask Leah, who sewed corners onto waterbed sheets, or Stephanie who sold hotdogs, nachos and soft drinks one summer outside a home improvement store, or Jeff who got to be the guy to dress up as Popeye at Popeye’s Fried Chicken.
Of course, if you ask my Aunt Jeanene she will tell you that she once had a job that was “da bomb.” Literally. She worked in a dynamite factory.
So if you have a wacky job, are submitting yourself to medical tests for cash, or are the person in the giant panda suit waving to passing traffic, know that you aren’t alone. We’ve all done some crazy things to make money and aside from keeping us in food and clothing, they give us something to laugh at and great stories to tell our grandchildren.
By Julie Ann