Trying to find a second job

The job I’ve got is pretty cool and involves telecommuting, which is a bonus when the weather’s bad and gas is expensive, but it hasn’t turned out to pay enough to live off of since the restaurant I’d been working at closed down. The only reason I’ve been able to stick with it this long is that I have savings, but I don’t have an unlimited amount to augment this forever and I’ve got things I need money for beyond, “Oh, I can pull a little out of savings for a pizza. I deserve it!” Like, I need a new car. There’s simply no way I could afford that right now.

I’d be quite happy to take on a second job, except that there really aren’t any in my area. The economy here is pretty depressed and it’s very rural as well. Whenever I try to explain how rural it is to family or friends who don’t live here, they just can’t grasp it and will make comments like, “Oh, the Midwest just has a slower pace of life than Vegas!” No, no, you fool. I mean that I live in the county seat, which has a population of 2,000. The closest “city” is the next county over and has a population of 8,000. In the other direction, there’s a smaller “city” about an hour away, and I think it has a population of around 3,000. If I drive for an hour and a half, I can get to Eau Claire (population: 61,704), but without a new car and with storms in winter, I could never hope to work there while living here. And I can’t afford to move on my own.

So, I look for jobs every day. I apply for positions for which I’m grossly over-qualified, and still don’t get them. I’d run a register in a store, I’d waitress, I’d work in a gas station. My ego is not getting in the way here. But very few places are hiring and it’s pretty clear that the few places that are hiring are just going through the motions, because they’re going to end up hiring a friend of a friend or somebody’s nephew. Short of taking a job in a factory–which, amusingly, I’m not qualified for–or becoming a truck driver, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

I’m trying. I am trying every day and thinking about how to improve my financial situation constantly. I’m sure a little later in the season there are going to be more jobs opening up, but you can’t tell that to the bills to make them stop coming. They’re stubborn and refuse to listen.

My best friend is trying to get me to move down to the Gulf Coast with her, where she says there are plenty of jobs for someone with management experience like me, but I really do love the country. Except when I need money.

Bah, I swear this is karma for every time I’ve given the completely useless advice of, “Oh, I’m sure you can find a job if you just look hard enough!”

Well, if everyone in town who is hiring hires a friend of a friend or a nephew–clearly it is time for you to just start knocking on doors and become friends with as many people as possible so that the next time someone needs a friend of a friend to hire, you just might be on the list.

(This advice is one part tounge in cheek, and one part sincere, I don’t promise that it
is any parts helpful. I’ve been told repeatedly as I look for a job that I need to network more, and I hate the advice and don’t follow it well. And no, I don’t have any advice for how you should make friends with everyone, especially if you can’t buy everyone candy or something. )

He’s a weird suggestion - any chance you can get odd jobs, like on farms? Lawn mowing? Baby sitting?

Those sorts of things are permanent or regular but they are money. Could help you save up enough to feel more financially stable, or less financially “stuck.”

Thanks for the advice, Eureka and ZipperJJ. I’ve been feeling so frustrated and hopeless with this that it’s just been like beating my head against a wall, but taking either of your advice (or possibly both) would definitely be better than glaring hatefully at the want ads. Heh.

I agree with the babysitting advice. You can make some decent money if you get enough customers.

Also, you might try printing up a few fliers and handing them out at the small businesses in the neighborhood. Tell them you’ll do their billing or whatever mailings they might have. Kind of a Girl Friday position. It’s not regular work, but it could help both financially and with the networking.

Do you have a hobby that you could capitalize on? I knew a woman who made apple butter and hawked that when things got tight. Scanning photos, cleaning houses, cat- or dog-sitting…all these things could add up to be lucrative.

Two services that have worked well for me are Accountemps (Which is also Officetemps) and You never know what govy jobs there may be in your area and they **never ** spam you. Signing up for Monster and Hotjobs will get you all kinds of useless ‘job offers’. I had an interview within hours of signing up on the Accountemps website. Good luck to you, I know the frustration you must be feeling as I’ve been there before!