Maybe you were one of the 598,000 employees handed a pink slip in January, or perhaps you saw the neverending layoff parade as the perfect opportunity to kiss your cubicle-dwelling life good-bye.
Now, what do you do if your emaciated bank account is starting to hunger for a regular paycheck, but you can't find a job in your field?
Don’t despair! There are ways, even in this dreadful economy, to bring in some bucks while also enjoying yourself. Here are a few fun jobs that may be within your reach.
1. Dog Walker
"Must love dogs” is pretty much a requirement for the job. If you’re an animal fan, most big cities, and even some suburbs, have a need for dog walkers. Downtown Pets, based in lower Manhattan, is a six-year-old company that employs up to 20 dog walkers who make anywhere from $400 to $900 per week, according to owner Justin Schermer.
Potential employees must be responsible, because they’re entrusted to go into clients’ apartments and houses, and take care of a live animal. They should have a flexible schedule, and can’t mind going out in all kinds of weather—dogs need to be taken out in the snow and rain, too.
“Obviously, the dogs are great,” Schermer said. “Walking on a spring day in New York City is amazing, but it takes a lot of attention to detail.”
2. Camp Counselor
If some of your fondest memories include sitting around a fire and eating s’mores, consider spending the summer at sleepaway camp.
Steve Clare, staffing coordinator for Great Camp Jobs, a division of CampGroup LLC, which operates 14 summer camps on the East Coast and in Michigan, says most counselors are in college or are recent graduates. But camps are also looking for people of all ages to head up sports and arts programs, and for other support positions, such as kitchen and maintenance workers.
While the economy has had some effect on the camp business, they’re still hiring, Clare says. “If you’re the right personality…then it doesn’t even feel like work,” he says.
3. Tour Guide
If you’re usually the point person for planning vacations, like to talk and have a clean driving record, consider being a tour guide. California-based Trek America is looking for people to lead tours, and pays them $1,250 a month to go hiking, white water rafting and horseback riding.
Kari Quaas of Seattle, Wash., started her career in the cruise line industry, and now directs West Coast operations for Cool Works, which helps people find seasonal jobs across the country.
“Jobs are out there, if people are looking for something a little more exciting,” Quaas says.
4. Cupcake Clerk
Who doesn’t dream of being surrounded by delicious cupcakes all day? With the proliferation of shops dedicated to the tiny treat, this could be your reality. Crumbs Bake Shop, which opened its first store six years ago on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has since expanded to California and Connecticut, and is in the process of opening three stores in New Jersey.
“We’re constantly hiring, and we're getting lots and lots of applications,” says Jason Bauer, the chain’s co-owner.
Pay ranges from $10 to $15 an hour, and there’s the extra perk of all the cupcakes you can eat. As in any retail job, the ability to deal with a myriad of personalities is a requirement, but sometimes, the cupcakes take care of that.
“People walk into our shop and…they have a smile on their face just from looking at the cupcake case,” Bauer says.
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