Advice » In the Workplace» Work-Life Balance » Young Workers Find Creative Wa ...
Young Workers Find Creative Ways to Cope with Unemployment, Hard Economic Times

Young Workers Find Creative Ways to Cope with Unemployment, Hard Economic Times

When Erik Moser was laid off from his job in public relations in January 2009, he improvised to keep his finances afloat.

He scaled back on eating out. He picked up a few odd jobs, like babysitting for his sister and dog walking for friends. He even got out of the lease on his Chicago apartment and moved back in with his parents.

“Is the situation ideal? Not by a long shot, but desperate times call for desperate measures,” he says. “I’ve done what I’ve had to do to live until I can get back to work.”

Moser, 26, isn’t the only person getting creative with money these days. As more and more Americans find themselves underemployed or out of work -- at last check, 14.5 million were unemployed -- growing numbers of people are resorting to similarly creative methods to pay the bills.

For some, many of these coping mechanisms revolve around second or third jobs, as well as light work for family and friends. Others, however, have adopted less conventional strategies. See if any of their ideas could also work for you.

Teach What You Know

While working as a technical director for a small theater company in New York City, Matt Klan has generated “a good amount” of income by teaching small classes in different stage techniques.

So far, Klan has taught two-day classes in Wisconsin, Maine and North Carolina. Most of the classes focus on stage combat (i.e., stunt fighting). Klan, 33, advertises the workshops on Facebook, Craigslist and other Web sites and gets deals on rehearsal spaces for about $10 to $25 per hour.

“The classes don’t generate a ton of money, but it’s enough to travel a couple times a year,” says Klan, who has another side job working in the engineering and construction management field. “I also get the chance to hone my craft [and] introduce people to new things.”

Klan also benefits from the networking involved. In the last few months, he has been asked to teach the classes at a number of universities as well.

Can’t Make Rent? It’s Party Time

Another creative option for making ends meet is the rent party, in which guests chip in to help the host pay his rent.

Historically, rent parties, or “skiffles,” were social occasions in vogue during the 1920s and 1930s where tenants hired musicians or bands to play, and passed the hat to raise rent money. Cary Wintz, author of Harlem Speaks: A Living History of the Harlem Renaissance, says that as African Americans moved to the city from the South, they needed help paying the rent on their high-priced apartments.

Some of the original rent parties were legendary, with musicians such as Fats Waller and Speckled Red playing regularly.

Nowadays, the names of the performers at these events aren’t quite as big. And aside from booze (of course), entertainment isn’t required. Indeed, many party-throwers unabashedly bill their cover charges as nothing more than a way to help pay the rent.

In April 2009, Zandile Blay, market editor at Paper magazine, held a weekend rent party at her apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey, to fund one month of her $2,400 rent. Blay didn’t have a minimum cover charge; instead, she simply asked partygoers to give whatever they could.

“Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows that you are broke,” she wrote in a recent email, adding that in many cases, friends who can help are more than happy to do so.

The first night of the party was a smashing success, while attendance on the other two nights was a little “disappointing,” she said. While the party earned Blay some money -- she declined to say how much exactly -- it wasn’t enough to make ends meet.

Still, she had a happy ending: A former mentor who couldn’t make the party wrote her a check to cover her rent for a month.

“It was a loan with no time limit,” she explained. “It totally shocked me and inspired me to pay it forward -- after I pay him back, of course.”

Making the Best of It

While many of these strategies represent proactive steps toward coping with the current economic climate, most people admit they are simply making the best of a bad situation.

Back in Chicago, for instance, Moser notes that income from babysitting and dog walking has enabled him to pay his bills, but he says that if he didn’t have the “luxury” of moving back in with his parents, he might still be struggling.

He adds that living with Mom and Dad again has had its ups and downs -- a situation that requires everyone to be patient and keep a positive attitude about the future.

“Free rent, few expenses -- through other people’s eyes, my situation seems like it should be pretty good,” he says. “The truth is that after [five] months of unemployment, I just want a job so I can feel like I am earning my keep.”

Latest Jobs

Albertsons LLC
Posted: 05/22/2015
port orchard, WA, 98366
SYNCADD Systems, Inc.
Posted: 05/22/2015
Arlington, VA, 22202
Panda Express
Posted: 05/22/2015
Multiple locations
Ronin Staffing
Posted: 05/22/2015
Southfield, MI

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-308