Saturday, June 27, 2009


Volunteer. I know this is really cliche, but the truth is that right now social service agencies are completely overwhelmed with new clients. Many are also overwhelmed with new volunteers, so you might have to be patient and persistent, not because they can't use you right this minute, but because they might not have the resources to check and train everyone who wants to help right this minute. Many, many people get into full time social service (paid) work by volunteering, and there's no shortage of things to do.

Learn a trade. Right now everyone is rushing into the health care field thinking that is where all the jobs will be now that industry is fast disappearing, but actually, in some parts of the U.S. health care workers are being laid off too. Skilled hands-on labor can't be outsourced though--You can't get someone in China to come fix your toilet, for example. While it's true that the trades are suffering too and many workers are being imported, it's also true that if you know how to do something, anything, with your hands you will always be able to pick up some work, and more importantly, you will always be needed. You can never know how to do too many things. If nothing else, you can use these skills at home.
Go back to school. This is harder than it used to be financially but it's still not impossible. If you never got that GED, now is the time. If you never finished your final year of college, what are you waiting for? Just having a goal and a direction will get you back in the mix and help you make some new connections.

Clean out your house, garage, and/or basement. You know how you're always going to do that when you get time except you never get any time? Well, now you have time. Lots of people can't let go of old stuff, but you can certainly go through it, get rid of what you can, and arrange the rest in a sensible fashion. You'll feel better and more organized, and weirdly, simply clearing out a space often results in opportunities opening up that seem totally unrelated to your cleaning project. I'm not going to go all New Age on your ass and tell you it's the universe or anything. I don't know why that often happens, but it does.

Hold a yard sale. Yard sales take a lot of time. You have a lot of time. If you can bear to part with any of that stuff you found when you cleaned out your house, garage, and/or basement, do it. You know you can use the money, and the people who buy your old stuff will be happy too that they didn't have to pay retail.
Organize a swap. Don't want to charge for

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