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Laid Off? Try These Short-Term Jobs to Bridge the Gap

Have you noticed how we're all enacting cost-cutting measures that might have seemed unnecessary a few years ago? We've shifted from bookstore to library; organic to generic; premium to basic; convenience to economy. As more of us are getting laid off every day, we've even shifted our opinions about acceptable jobs. For many, the list of must-have job criteria has dwindled to just one item: a paycheck.

Occasional catering jobs are one short-term optionA recent CNN.com article described the experience of Rob LeBlanc, a Louisiana man who was laid off from a $55,000-a-year managerial job. To keep his family out of debt, Roy took a $10-an-hour pizza delivery job and sold his beloved motorcycle.

Though you might not have considered it in the past, taking a short-term, seasonal, or part-time job in mid-career can be an effective way to keep the wolves from the door when you find yourself without a job or source of income.

It also gets you out of the house, meeting new people, and learning new skills, which can help fend off the feelings of depression that are so often the by-product of a layoff.

Holiday Help
Think about what time of year it is, and what kind of short-term, seasonal jobs might be out there. The BIG holiday season won't roll around again for awhile, but the other holidays often bring temporary spikes in the need for workers.

For instance, as I'm writing this post, we're looking forward to:

  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14), the busiest season for most florists, who might need floral arrangers, order takers, and delivery drivers (also a big one for balloon vendors, bakers, and jewelers)
  • St. Patrick's Day (Mar. 17), which may temporarily boost the need for bartenders, servers, bouncers, novelty vendors, and um… leprechaun impersonators?
  • Tax Day (Apr. 15), is the time of year when tax preparers and accounting specialists become extremely popular.

Temporary or Part-Time Opportunities
Here are a few other job suggestions to consider, each of which is likely to have occasional, short-term, or part-time offerings:

  • Census Taking — The US Census Bureau is recruiting all over the country, and data gathering for the 2010 census will be starting soon.
  • Driving — If you have a clean driving record and are comfortable with public service, consider using those skills part-time to drive cabs, limos, buses, special needs vans, or delivery routes.
  • Phone Work — Many organizations have call centers that need people around the clock to assist customers and field incoming calls.
  • Catering Assistance — Caterers often book large events that call for several servers to assist with food prep, serving, and cleanup.
  • Graveyard Shift — If you're a night owl, check out this MSN article. It has some great ideas for finding jobs beyond the daylight hours.

How to Find These Jobs
Try searching on the word "seasonal" in the major job boards, and check out snagajob.com, a job board specifically for hourly workers. Simple as it seems, just ask around... and keep an eye out for Help Wanted signs.

If you're one of the many folks who've found themselves out of work and strapped for cash, use your imagination, and consider your likes, dislikes, talents, and hobbies. With luck and creativity, you should be able to bring in a few dollars to help pay bills and keep yourself from going stir crazy while you continue your job search
 
Have you ever found a particularly unusual or effective way to improve your cash flow while you were between jobs? The more ideas, the better! Please leave a comment below.

RELATED LINKS
Stats and Surprises to Help Your Job Search
What to Do When You Get Laid Off: Tell Everyone
Seven Lessons from a Long-Ago Layoff

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