Friday, May 1, 2009

Streetwalking for fun and spare money

You who've been visiting this site lately know I haven't posted to kitchentablenomics for a few weeks. I've been exploring how bleak my economic future might be. Working survival jobs is not bad, but it is busy.

Briefly, I've been canvassing northeastern Kansas residential addresses for the U.S. Census Bureau in preparation for next year's big decennial nose count. I first took the job because it pays more than unemployment benefits. But it's interesting work, plus walking door-to-door for 100 to 200 homes a day is good for the waistline. And, no, Uncle Sam won't reimburse me for the smaller belt I need to buy.

But survival jobs like that one seem to be becoming more of a fixture, especially for those of us who are passing middle age or past it. Deep thinkers tell us that unemployment is a lagging economic indicator; not picking up until the economy is really beginning to hum again. All I know is that there seem to be a lot of us out there holding things together as best we can.

Maybe a fourth of my 20 crew mates were working survival jobs like I was. Numbers of different studies show that there are more of us out of work than normal, even for a recession, and that jobs are scarcer.

So more of us likely will be working short term, relatively low paying jobs to hold things together as best we can. Survival jobs offer some advantages - you feel like you are really working again and there is always faint hope it may lead to something real. There are drawbacks too. Time becomes as precious as money when you juggle survival jobs with job hunting and family time.
And, from a financial planning perspective, you also end up rejiggering budgets more often to adjust to frequent changes in income.

1 comment:

missmichigan said...

The census is good survival work while it lasts. Mine lasted three weeks. So much for those of us who were told we'd be working for three months!