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Surviving the econopocalypse

Want to keep your head above water in post-meltdown America? Here's some ways to get your own bailout bucks — without a W2.
By LISSA HARRIS  |  June 11, 2009


If you're like the more than nine percent of Americans currently unemployed, your "Yes We Can!" has lately lost some of its gusto. You've hit up everyone you know for work, including your mom, your ex, and your ex's ex. Face it: jobs are about as easy to find these days as your hedge-fund manager's home phone number. Meanwhile, you're broker than Iceland and you're in need of a serious cash infusion.

Fortunately, a little bit of hustle and a can-do attitude are the ingredients necessary for a moneymaking rain dance. We've put together a few pointers for thriving in post-meltdown America that you probably won't find posted on the wall at the unemployment office. And remember, if these fail you, there's always prostitution and food service (two jobs that require the same skills — just in different uniforms). Get out your umbrellas!

Feed your (continuing) ed

Do you have a little time and dough to invest in a career upgrade? Here are a few degrees you can get quickly that will give you an excellent shot at skipping the bread line.

EMT CERTIFICATION It's hard work, and not for the faint of heart, but a basic EMT license will get you onto the bottom rung of the health-care ladder — a field that still has a clear path for advancement, and that's growing at a tremendous clip despite (or perhaps because of) our nation's woes. The University of Rhode Island (uri.edu) in Providence, Brown University (brown.edu), and the Community College of Rhode Island (ccri.edu) in Warwick offer basic EMT classes; URI also has cardiac and paramedic training.

GREEN JOBS The recent stimulus bill included $500 million for green-job training nationwide. The Department of Labor hasn't started doling out the money yet — they're still looking at grant applications — but once they do, watch for green-job-certification programs to crop up across the country. Words of wisdom: be wary of frauds and hucksters.

BEAUTY SCHOOL No clever bastard has yet found a way to outsource a pedicure to Bangladesh. You can complete a part-time degree in cosmetology in six months to a year: try the Rob Roy Academy in Woonsocket (401.769.1777 ) or the Empire Beauty School in Warwick (401.826.2022).

L.H.


BITE THE BULLETIN

Before you panic, first hit the job boards. Students: you have a particular advantage here, as university communities are a hotbed of temp jobs, and student-support centers are usually eager to help hook you up. Even if you're not a student, you can still prowl university bulletin boards in meatspace. Or try well-trafficked coffee shops, small grocery stores, and laundromats. If you peel away the apartment listings and expired band flyers (not to mention umpteen pleas for employment from other desperate schmoes like yourself), you should be able to find ads for part-time work with high turnover, such as collecting petition signatures or cleaning houses.


KISS YOUR GRASS GOODBYE

In hard times, the right piece of equipment can make you an instant entrepreneur. (Consider Mad Max, who probably made bank renting out his Geiger counter.) Have a lawnmower? You're in business. Go around your neighborhood looking for shockingly unkempt yards, and start knocking on doors. (Do be prepared, however, to encounter equal amounts of dog shit and absentee landlords.)

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ARTICLES BY LISSA HARRIS
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  •   SURVIVE THE ECONOPOCALYPSE  |  June 11, 2009
    If you're like the more than nine percent of Americans currently unemployed, your "Yes We Can!" has lately lost some of its gusto. You've hit up everyone you know for work, including your mom, your ex, and your ex's ex.
  •   SURVIVING THE ECONOPOCALYPSE  |  June 11, 2009
    If you're like the more than nine percent of Americans currently unemployed, your "Yes We Can!" has lately lost some of its gusto. You've hit up everyone you know for work, including your mom, your ex, and your ex's ex.
  •   CAP AND TRADE EXPLAINED  |  May 06, 2009
    The general idea behind cap and trade is pretty simple: put a tax on pollution, and the market will crank out less of it. But if a pollution tax is a lever, cap and trade is a vast, rickety Rube Goldberg contraption. Ingenious? Yes. Complicated? Fiendishly.
  •   CONGRESS'S WAR ON TOYS  |  February 09, 2009
    Incredible, but true: until this past Friday, America was on a fast track to outlaw grandmothers selling children's sweaters for charity.
  •   CONGRESS BANS KIDS FROM LIBRARIES?  |  January 09, 2009
    Is it possible that Congress has just inadvertently turned millions of children’s books into contraband?

 See all articles by: LISSA HARRIS



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