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Old 03-21-2020, 03:23 PM
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Anybody Else Taking a Crappy Temporary Job?


I need to bring in about $200 a week, at a bare minimum. More would be nice, albeit, as long as I made the $200, we'd be good.

I have just gotten approved to drive for Amazon Flex, and I am working on signing up for Uber Eats-- not going to do any rideshare, just deliver food. I checked, and yes, that is an option.

My first "block" for Amazon is Monday.

I get to pick when I drive for Uber, and can do so spur of the moment.

DH has to go in about 10 hrs a week to do some things that absolutely cannot be done from home, and the other 30 hours, he works from home. He has a few meetings that have to be done over some business meeting program we had to download, and sign up for, but work is paying-- the account is free to him. Anyway, he has some meetings he has to "attend" at certain time, but other than that, he makes his own hours.

We want one of us to be here with the boychik as much as possible, although as long as his schoolwork is getting done, and we are getting good reports on his work, I feel OK with leaving him up to 2 hours at a stretch, and up to 4 hours total in a day. He's a pretty good kid. I just want us to be available in case he needs help with schoolwork, and so he doesn't feel alone. I know a teen relishes time away from parents, but I assume there must be a time when it's too much.

We've been trying to have plenty of family dinners, but lots of the delivery blocks are at dinner time. So I've promised not to take more than three evening blocks a week-- and never on Shabbat.

I am aware that paying for my own gas is going to take a bite out of what I make, but I've been reading some posts by current drivers, and looking at potential routes. I have a very fuel-efficient car that I can use, and gas is cheaper than usual right now.

The biggest advantage, after the flexible schedules, is that I can drop these jobs without notice when my regular job opens up.

And from what I understand, there's LOTS of work for delivery drivers.

I'm not counting on cleaning up in tips, because everyone is counting pennies now. But I don't need to make a full-time living.

We looked at our savings, and figured that if DH remains employed where he is, we can live for 8-9 months. I just need to bring in an extra $200 a month for us to be able to stretch that to a full year. If I could make $600, we might not have to use savings at all. I was making a lot more than $600 before, but there are a lot of things we won't be spending money on. We're not renewing the zoo membership currently. We won't be going to the movies, something we did pretty often. We won't have to pay for the boychik to participate in extracurriculars, and most likely, and if we need to make money last a year, that means we won't be paying for camp this summer.

The maid service we have come in twice a month is not coming, so that's $100/month saved right there, but with us home so much more, we can do cleaning ourselves. Neither of us will be eating meals out, which DH did a LOT. We might save $100/month just with him eating at home.

The budget has basically just been upended, and we had to redo it from scratch.

We have taken everything we have in liquid savings, and opened two savings accounts, divided the money in half, and are going to allow ourselves to freely transfer from one account when we need it. The other account is reserved for emergencies-- like if one of us actually gets this thing, and ends up in ICU, and we have a 20% copay.

But of course, it's always better if we don't have to transfer. And if I can bring in that $200, we will still have to transfer, but really minimally.

So what is everyone else doing about money?
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:41 PM
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I start a new real job Monday. Hopefully it all goes well. I am working from home which is really awkward for just starting, but they're being amazing about this so far. This money will be a huge boost for us. We should be able to put my salary in the bank. So we're in pretty good shape.

Unfortunately we need to put a new roof on the house and that will be expensive. So the extra money coming in is huge.

Last edited by What Exit?; 03-21-2020 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:26 PM
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Good luck with this! I think you and DH are being very wise in planning for up to a year's disruption. It could be that long before a 'new normal' is really here, whatever that looks like.
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
We won't have to pay for the boychik to participate in extracurriculars, and most likely, and if we need to make money last a year, that means we won't be paying for camp this summer.
I've put down a deposit for summer camp for the Firebug, but I really don't expect it to happen this year.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:42 PM
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Remember to double-check your insurance company's policy on Uber Eats. It may not cover you if you are doing food delivery. I'm not sure of policies in the States but I known at least some Canadian companies won't insure you if you are doing that. They may even deny a claim if they find out.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:47 PM
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When the unemployment rate skyrockets and businesses respond by lowering wages and benefits, a lot of us will have nothing but crappy jobs for the next several years.
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:28 AM
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Actually I work for a non-profit and we help people get off food stamps and do employment training. We were flooded during the 2009 recession and expect to be so again.

The "crappy" jobs are often where we start people who are new with little or no experience. And last week I was out meeting with the managers of such places, and they expect to be limited in hiring.

So even these "crappy jobs" may dry up.

I am saying this to be realistic not alarmist. I do want to tell people that this may be totally wrong. At this point there are FAR FAR too many variables to predict any sort of conclusion.

But I do wish to inform people. Because the best informed decisions come from planning for all variables.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:03 AM
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On one hand Iím lucky to have a job that wonít be going away.

On the other hand itís only a matter of time that Iím exposed and hopefully I wonít kill my at risk family members.

So good with the bad I guess.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:19 AM
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I just started a new salaried job on March 1 working on an account providing trucking services on an account the company newly acquired. I am on the team getting our service up and running. Our team only has the one giant customer.... and that customer has announced that they will be shutting down for two weeks early in April.

But the company has other accounts including a local account providing services for a major producer of soaps and cleaning chemicals and the work on that account has increased. Maybe I can transfer to the other account for a while and keep going.

I have physical limitations and cannot really handle a lot of physically demanding jobs. So my backup plan is to explore getting back into being a 9-1-1 dispatcher, a role I worked in for about 12 years. I figure that those positions will not be going away soon.
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Old 03-22-2020, 02:55 AM
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I’m lucky enough to have a great employer that is paying me to work from home. That said I’m jealous of anyone that is allowed to leave their house to work. I spoke to a concrete contractor last week that said he wasn’t going to stop working until he got his truck impounded I almost offered to work for him for free!


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Old 03-22-2020, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Slight, Off Hand View Post
Remember to double-check your insurance company's policy on Uber Eats. It may not cover you if you are doing food delivery. I'm not sure of policies in the States but I known at least some Canadian companies won't insure you if you are doing that. They may even deny a claim if they find out.
Already done. I have to pay $10 more on the car I use when I'm delivering. If I were ridesharing, it'd be conspicuously more.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:20 AM
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We're very lucky that we have jobs that allow us to work from home. However, if things go really pear-shaped, we would both be out of a job, because we work for the same company. So this thread is useful to remind me to think about "what-if?".

We normally eat out for lunch during the week and often on Saturdays. So that's 6 meals a week that are now at home. No gas needed, the car hasn't moved in 2 weeks. Possibly it won't need to move until April 19th, unless a favorite restaurant starts doing take out. No train tickets for going on hikes, or visiting the "big city".

We had planned to rip out the carpet in three rooms and put in new flooring, plus paint these rooms. This is on hold, of course. No international travel for at least 3 months, maybe longer.

I wanted to increase our savings. We might reach this goal. I would have preferred another way.

Last edited by Die Capacitrix; 03-22-2020 at 03:21 AM. Reason: Changed last sentence.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:32 AM
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Just so you know, you should take your car out and drive it once a week, at least. Put on a few city miles than, if you can, take it on the highway, and burn down about 1/8 tank of gas.

Gas actually decays. If you leave a car for months and months with gas in it, the engine parts will be soaked in rotten gas, and possibly out of alignment just from gravity.

Applies to diesel too.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Just so you know, you should take your car out and drive it once a week, at least. Put on a few city miles than, if you can, take it on the highway, and burn down about 1/8 tank of gas.

Gas actually decays. If you leave a car for months and months with gas in it, the engine parts will be soaked in rotten gas, and possibly out of alignment just from gravity.

Applies to diesel too.
For gas engines, once a month is fine, in the winter where it drops below freezing, maybe every 2 weeks. Also gas stabilizer can really help. I'm not sure where the once a week bit came from but that is more than is needed. I've seen it elsewhere though. But it isn't valid.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:22 AM
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I’m recently retired and I don’t need to work, at least at the moment.

But I’ve been thinking if this situation stretches on, I might go to work at one of the grocery stores. They all really seem to need workers (they have signs posted) and it would give me something productive to do.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:46 AM
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For gas engines, once a month is fine, in the winter where it drops below freezing, maybe every 2 weeks. Also gas stabilizer can really help. I'm not sure where the once a week bit came from but that is more than is needed. I've seen it elsewhere though. But it isn't valid.
To deal with the infamous New England winter I always start my car at least every three or four days for a number of reasons:

1. Like has been mentioned above to cycle gas and oil through engine so it is not just sitting there.

2. To ensure the battery isn't drained.

3. Most importantly: Parking my car outside during the winter , to warm it up to take the snow and ice off it. It's a pain in the ass to leave a car just sitting through three or four snowfalls/snowstorms and then go out and clear it off.

Of course if you can garage your car and/or use an block heater you could probably go longer without starting your car in winter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_heater
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:17 PM
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I am working from home for the duration.

I suspect that working from home in the future will be a lot more culturally acceptable.

My kids are going to start playing next week with a few other families that have also maintained 2 weeks of isolation.

Mostly baseball so not much contact except for the baseball itself.

I suspect that we will be yelling at kids not to touch their face a lot.

Life has to return to something approaching normalcy pretty soon.

People like me that can work from home should work from home until a vaccine comes out.

At some point healthy people who cannot work from home will have to start going back to work.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:22 PM
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dp

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Old 03-22-2020, 11:41 PM
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Let us know how the gig driving goes.

Some thoughts on that: I signed up for all the gig driving services but never actually did any of them. I ended up taking an entry level job at the same time, and I already had business projects I could turn into "side gigs" for myself. At one point I was determined to be a "multi-app" gig entrepreneur and run pretty much all of the apps like UE, Door Dash, Grub Hub, Lyft/Uber (I hadn't completely ruled out delivering people in addition to food but I would prefer not to) to piece together a decent fulltime income. However, I realize that for my situation taking the entry level job with steady (though not great) pay and benefits worked out better.

I have subscribed to many Youtube channels and joined many FB groups for ride share, food delivery, the gig economy, side hustles, etc. I continue to consume this information as it's still a curiosity of mine. Due to this information I do want to share some words of caution, or just things to keep in mind. Your real earnings are going to be much lower than your gross revenue. This might help you at tax time if you view it like you "made less on paper" than your cash flow, but your car is going to take a beating or you are going to pay for it in some way. What I mean is a lot of these gig gurus brag they make $200-300 a day but when it comes down to it they make less than the fed minimum wage because they only account for car wear and tear and maintenance on taxes and not in their bank accounts and real life. Also, a lot of 14 hour shifts and then they can say well they were only really working 5-6 hours but they were sitting around the whole time waiting for orders. Also the payouts are very volatile. Spend any amount of time around Door Dash drivers and hear about the pay transparency, the "stolen tips," $2 orders that don't cover the mileage, and so on. Other companies just change the pay model whenever/however. A couple months ago I saw fulltime Shipt contractors every time I went to the store or anywhere else. Rarely see them these days after they changed the pay rates. Then as a contractor you have to deal with the customers, the restaurants who screw up the orders or hate "Dashers" and treat you accordingly, AND the app/platform customer service issues. And in the end everyone blames you, but you really have no control over anything even though you are treated as an independent business in most places.

I think trying it out and looking at it as a part time bridge to better employment is the way to go, and then you could sort of keep it in your back pocket once you have steadier employment as something you could do in a pinch.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:40 AM
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You really should actually drive the car, not just idle it in the driveway.

I spent 4 hours delivering for Uber Eats today. Made $75. Used $12 in gas. I filled up the tank before and after, so I'm sure. Actually, it was something like $11.88. That's just a little over $18/hr. That's almost as much as I make at the preschool (albeit, not nearly as much as I make teaching Hebrew).

About 35% of it was tips, and I realize I can't always count on good tips-- in fact, they may deplete as this drags on. With that in mind, I'm going to try to hustle this at the beginning. If I can bring in $200 with Uber, $100 Skyping my Hebrew lessons, and about $250 delivering for Amazon, that might just stretch over the gap we have. But that would be working a pretty minimal number of hours; if I ramped it up, and actually made some money we could save for the first month, then that would put off our depleting our saving and moving to credit cards by about 3 weeks.

These days, three weeks is 3 weeks.

If we really get those checks the government is promising, that's another couple of weeks. If we get a little money for the boychik, suddenly, we've gained 6 weeks between the government checks, and my work.

The hardest thing is to be disciplined and make out shopping lists, and STICK TO THEM.

We have Amazon prime, and will have it for the nonce, so we can get food delivered free. We already get a lot of non-perishables from Amazon, because it you have prime, you get tons of stuff dirt cheap.

Then there's subscribe & save. We get stuff that way. Great bulk discounts, and still free shipping. The Amazon Fresh has prices that are competitive, and no delivery charge. The best part is, that you don't come back with seven impulse buys that need make you spend twice as much as you intended.

We're going to be OK. Not happy, but much less stressed.
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
For gas engines, once a month is fine, in the winter where it drops below freezing, maybe every 2 weeks. Also gas stabilizer can really help. I'm not sure where the once a week bit came from but that is more than is needed. I've seen it elsewhere though. But it isn't valid.
I have a "once a week" rule for both my vehicles even knowing, as you point out, that you don't need to run the engine that often.

It's because I know that every so often I'll miss that week, especially under present circumstances. Right now, I'm mostly driving my car but if I plan to drive the pickup at least once a week, and miss a week, then it will get driven at least once every 2-3 weeks. If I only planned for, say, once a month then it wouldn't always get done.

So some of us plan to take into account that "stuff happens" or sometimes we forget.

And more on topic - thank you to those delivering stuff. It's a job that often doesn't get much respect but is going to be very important over the next year.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:09 AM
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You really should actually drive the car, not just idle it in the driveway.

I spent 4 hours delivering for Uber Eats today. Made $75. Used $12 in gas. I filled up the tank before and after, so I'm sure. Actually, it was something like $11.88. That's just a little over $18/hr. That's almost as much as I make at the preschool (albeit, not nearly as much as I make teaching Hebrew).
Your expenses are more than your gas, though. It sounds like you did alright regardless, but multiply your mileage by the mileage rate (I think its around 58.5 cents per mile now) and deduct that from your gross revenue for the easiest way to figure your "profit." Then you are going to pay basically the employee and employer halves of FICA (you get a small deduction so it's not the full 15.3% but close), in addition to any applicable income taxes. Your car takes no wear and tear while you are sitting at the preschool. For some people (and cars) the mileage rate more than covers your real wear and tear, and others it doesn't. So your true earnings are probably somewhere between the revenue-gas and revenue-mileage figures, though you'll only be taxed on the lower.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:43 AM
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Your expenses are more than your gas, though. It sounds like you did alright regardless, but multiply your mileage by the mileage rate (I think its around 58.5 cents per mile now) and deduct that from your gross revenue for the easiest way to figure your "profit." Then you are going to pay basically the employee and employer halves of FICA (you get a small deduction so it's not the full 15.3% but close), in addition to any applicable income taxes. Your car takes no wear and tear while you are sitting at the preschool. For some people (and cars) the mileage rate more than covers your real wear and tear, and others it doesn't. So your true earnings are probably somewhere between the revenue-gas and revenue-mileage figures, though you'll only be taxed on the lower.
I am aware of the "wear & tear on the car factor."

Here's the thing: the car I am using is a 2002 Audi, in remarkably good shape, which only just turned over 100,000 mi, and which I just put some money into routine repairs on (on the way home from getting it worked on, I heard on the radio my first report on a "novel corona virus in China"), including the timing belt, because I decided I was keeping the or the foreseeable future.

This is a car I paid $800 for about 6 years ago. I bought it from a student who was desperate to sell it because he was leaving the country THE NEXT DAY, had been trying to sell it for months; he actually wanted like $2000, but $800 was what I had cash in hand.

He hadn't been able to sell it because it was a manual, and he couldn't find anyone who wanted to buy a manual (which I actually prefer, but I didn't let on). He was looking at taking my $800, or just abandoning it. He took my $800. He had been trying to sell it on campus, and no one under 25 drives a manual, except people who want to drive sports/muscle cars, or vintage cars. He was from Germany, and didn't get this.

So wear-&-tear is a bit of a freebie for me.

I am keeping all my gas receipts, in case for some reason I don't take the standard deductible next year-- I've always taken it, except way back when I was a freelance interpreter, and I was deducting percentages of car payments, and percentages of rent (home-office) as business expenses, plus having private health and disability insurance.

Anyway, the gas is the only thing I have to pay for NOW (like I said, it happens the car was just worked on, so has new brakes, new tires, new spark plugs, a few little things like temp sending unit, and had pressure tests on the radiator, cylinders, etc. exhaust system inspected for rust (guy said it looks like it was replaced once maybe two years before I bought the car). The only thing to worry about is the clutch, and it is operating like a champ.

EVERYTHING works on this car, it's worth noting: AC works, seatwarmers work. Automatic skylight works; has a CD & tape player, and they both work. Bought a cassette-bluetooth adapter for ~$20, and it works (I was amazed); cruise control works; parking brakes work. Has two tiny rust spots about the size of a quarter that are visible on the body, and inspection revealed no spots of concern on the chassis or underbody. It's in better shape than cars half as old that I have driven. Also, starts EVERY time.

Usually, I am a planner, but we live in strange times. So now, the taxes are the problem of April, 2021. By then, I will either be back at work, or the world will be so changed, that all bets are off.

Not a big fan of AA, but "One day at a time" is fairly resonant now.
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:02 AM
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I am keeping all my gas receipts, in case for some reason I don't take the standard deductible next year-- I've always taken it, except way back when I was a freelance interpreter, and I was deducting percentages of car payments, and percentages of rent (home-office) as business expenses, plus having private health and disability insurance.

Just FYI, when you are self-employed, you can deduct business expenses (like gas) IN ADDITION to taking the standard deduction. You take your business deductions on Schedule C and forward the net amount to your Form 1040. Then you subtract either your standard deduction or your itemized personal deductions. There is no "standard deduction" for business expenses.
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:03 AM
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n/m. duplicate.

Last edited by Alley Dweller; 03-23-2020 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:22 AM
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We're going to be OK. Not happy, but much less stressed.
Inspiring! Keep it up!
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:49 PM
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Just FYI, when you are self-employed, you can deduct business expenses (like gas) IN ADDITION to taking the standard deduction. You take your business deductions on Schedule C and forward the net amount to your Form 1040. Then you subtract either your standard deduction or your itemized personal deductions. There is no "standard deduction" for business expenses.
This is true but for automotive it is either actual car expenses OR the mileage, as I've mentioned. For most people the mileage works out better and is just easier to use since it's easy to track (apps do it for you now) and you just multiply by the rate for the tax year.

Not talking about OP, but I amazed by the number of self-employed I encounter who think they will owe no taxes if their 1099 revenue is below the standard deduction. Unless you have something else covering all your FICA, like a job that pays very well and maxes it out or refundable tax credits that more than cover it, you will pay SE taxes on every dollar of profit before even getting into income taxes.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:27 PM
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Already done. I have to pay $10 more on the car I use when I'm delivering. If I were ridesharing, it'd be conspicuously more.
I guess a bag from Taco Bell is not as likely to sue you as a human passenger!

Since your car is fairly old, you probably couldn't drive humans anyway - I think they have a maximum age allowed on the cars and I think it's 10 years old.

Last edited by Mama Zappa; 03-23-2020 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:00 PM
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I had actually just given notice at my job a few weeks ago to finally get some rest and recover from the concussion I had back in September. I had been limping along, had to get a letter from my neurologist in order not to be required to work nights and weekends, and still felt dizzy and out of it by the end of the day.

The original plan was to go on vacation for a week, then come back, get some actual brain rest, do some cognitive therapy for brain rehab, do a few things around the house, and then look for a job once I felt better. The neurologist was on board with this plan and agreed that given how insane and cognitively demanding my job was (it's hard to let your brain rest and avoid screen time when your job involves cross-referencing and synthesizing detailed information on two computer monitors and a stack of documents under extreme time pressure, while multitasking with whatever is coming in via email, etc.), I was unlikely to recover fully in anything approaching a reasonable amount of time. (It had been 6 months and I was still having dizzy spells, etc., and having to take a nap when I got home before I was functional enough to eat dinner, then crashing on the couch after dinner by 8:30 p.m.)

So now that I have had a couple of weeks off, I feel a bit better. (Haven't tried spending 8 hours on a computer doing anything intellectually demanding yet, though.)

However, I am thinking the market for employment-based immigration paralegals is not likely to be fabulous in the near future. We have cash to last us a while (we had been saving up to build out the attic), but now I am wondering whether I will need to do something else in the short- to medium-term, and if so, what that might be. Maybe a labor and employment law practice would be interested in me? Sigh.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:17 PM
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My brother was going to get me a job at the local grocery store chain that he works for. They were asking warehouse workers to do stocking, but their warehouse workers are too slammed to take on extra shifts stocking.

I don't need the job - I work from home and so far am able to get paid. But I'm going to have more free time at night, and have done stocking before and loved it, and I wanted to use it as a way to get exercise.

But, as schools and restaurants started closing I decided against throwing my hat in the ring, as hopefully people who need the money will take the grocery jobs. If not, I'm still willing to do it, I just don't want to take someone else's needed opportunity.
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