There are currently 13.9 million people unemployed in this country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and nearly half of them have been out of work for more than 27 weeks or roughly seven months. If you are one of these folks or know someone currently out of work, here are some ideas for getting by this summer.
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When it comes to getting a foot in the door, temping agencies are always a great start, but in this market even temping has become pretty competitive. If you want to get more creative in figuring out how to get by this summer, consider summer gigging. Gigs are temporary work--sometimes even just for a day--but can lead to bigger opportunities.
Here are five ideas to help you figure out how to get by this summer while you figure out how to get back in the career game.
1. Conference Gigs: The summer conference season is here, and most major cities put forth a lot of effort to play host to industry conferences to help stimulate the local economy and generate revenue. These conferences always need local staff to help set up booths, work food stands, hand out flyers etc... Talk to your local Chamber of Commerce and check the summer conference schedule in your area. Also check out conferencejobs.org to find openings.
2. Summer Events: Summertime brings county fairs, festivals, and concerts, all of which require staff for security, food sales, beer stands, ticket collection and much more. Working these events is a great way to have fun, make extra cash and even squeeze in some networking. Check with your local government to find out more information.
3. Tutoring: From preschool to college, there are always kids in need of a little extra attention when it comes to passing a tough class. You can tutor in a variety of subjects, just know your strengths. Its also a great way to keep your mind active. There are sites like Wyzant designed to link tutors with students, and organizations like Kaplan and Princeton Review always seem to be hiring tutors and teachers for standardized test prep.
4. Secret Shopping: Who doesnt like to spend money? Secret shoppers can get free food and even stay at a hotel to review customer service, all while making money. Sometimes, you can even bring your spouse or another guest along. To find out more, check out Secret Shopper, Certified Field Associate, Coyle Hospitality, and ICC Decision Services.
5. Focus Groups and Clinical Trials: Participating in focus groups and clinical trials can be a great way to get some quick cash. Sometimes these studies last just an hour, and they often pay fairly well. For more information on clinical trials, go to http://clinicaltrials.gov/. For focus groups, go to http://findfocusgroups.com/. I came across a listing offering $150 for 90 minutes of feedback at a financial services company.
Reporting Earned Income
As encouraging as some of these opportunities may be, Id be remiss not to mention the potential impact on unemployment benefits. Although the technicalities vary from state to state, you are required by law to report any earnings to the unemployment office. And, each time your unemployment benefits are recalculated. I recommend calling your respective unemployment office for details, as this information is often hard to find online.
There is no doubt times are tough and getting out there and proactively participating in the workforce is about more than just cash, its also a way to keep your mind active and potentially avail yourself of other opportunities.
Michael Dr. Woody Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook