27 May
The things we do for…rent money

The continuing saga of one girl’s plight with unemployment…read vol I here

I’ve had some silly jobs. I mean, I’ve never stood on the side of a busy street wearing a hot-dog costume, dancing around and waving a sign like a maniac just to try and lure people into a fast-food joint. Not yet, anyway. But I have sold “The Chopper” from a kiosk in a low-lit mall. Elevator music covers of Nirvana dribbled from the speakers. That job lasted about five hours. Once I realized I couldn’t just sit there and read a book and let “The Chopper” sell itself I was done. What did I care about a dinky contraption that “magically” chopped vegetables? I didn’t.

From there I went to Yum Yum Dim Sum. No one else went to Yum Yum Dim Sum, which was a problem for me. No people, no tips. Each day it was pretty much just me, the sad-eyed owner, and the even sadder-eyed fish in the fish tank. Can you imagine being a fish in a fish tank in a restaurant that sells…fish?!? I can.

Occasionally a sad-eyed customer would stroll in and have some dim sum while I pretended to dust a Buddha statue, daydreaming of one day having lots of money and a pool and home and neat vacations in places far, far away from Yum Yum Dim Sum. I’m still dreaming of those vacations. Now, I know in so many ways I am very fortunate. Yes, I am jobless. No, there are no jobs to apply for (besides the hot-dog costume variety jobs, which I am putting off as of now). And, no, I do not have a family to support on an unemployment check “salary.” It’s just me, and I’m OK. For now. In a few months, when the severance and savings thin out, I may be stepping into the foam hot dog getup. I would like that not to happen, so I’ve been spending some time coming up with new and exciting ways to make a buck.

Hit the Jump to continue reading Bureaucracy for Breakfast vol. II

You, my fellow unemployed, may have spent time doing this too. Back in the Yum Yum Dim Sum era, which was college, I had two bright ideas: I could steal my own hubcaps and sell them! Maybe I was stoned when I came up with that one. I can only hope. Or: I could be a “dancer” at Fantasy Island, since the girls wore bikinis the whole time. How bad could it be? I drove by Fantasy Island a few times, but, bikini be damned, I couldn’t stop the car.

So here I am, post-college and post-grad school. Much more learned and mature. Worldly even! I’ve upped my “creative ways to make a buck” game. Gone are the Fantasy Island and hubcap days. This time around, I watch commercials like that weird one for the Wilshire Gold Exchange, or whatever it’s called, and get ideas. Seen it? It’s on CNN a lot, for some reason. In it, a chick with really awful Mickey-Rourke-in-Iron-Man-II highlights in her hair explains that she too was recently laid off! So, she decided to take all her gold and sell it at the Wilshire Gold Exchange! She got cash money! I, too, could do that. But I don’t think I actually have a treasure trove of gold stashed anywhere, so… maybe that’s not for me. But maybe you, Unemployed King Midas, can take that route.

I’ve also caught myself wondering what staunch Libertarians who get laid off do with their unemployment insurance. Do they staunchly refuse it? If so, I would like to start a campaign to get their checks, since obviously it goes against their core principles to actually take the damn things from the damn awful government, right? Give them to me and to my fellow unemployed brethren all around the country who, while applying for all these non-existent jobs would not mind some help from the evil bastards who also give people things like…welfare! To think of it.

There are other ways. Like having a garage sale. I mean, it’s like being handed free money. You take all the crap around your apartment that you haven’t touched in two years, throw it on the lawn, sit around in the sunshine doing a crossword puzzle and viola! People hungrily claw through your “crap” and hand you cash for it. Pretty smart, huh? You can make some serious money in a few hours. I, personally, think getting two hundred bucks in four hours is very serious.

Besides garage sales and the occasional paying gig here and there, I’m noticing that among so many of my unemployed friends, people are finally doing what they are truly passionate about. Starting their own companies, devoting time to painting, to cooking, to starting a construction company, to being a freelance attorney, to starting a film festival. This crap economy is paving the way for a lot of creative, resourceful people who maybe worked for The Man too long to actually take the big leap and do what they are meant to do. And be their own boss. I think that’s exciting. And if, in the lean times, until the construction company or the film festival or the salsa takes off, we have to dust Buddha statues at Yum Yum Dim Sum? Bring it on.

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