Working Without College Degree
November 23, 2004 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I lack a college degree and I'm finding that full-time work and school is really wearing me down. I work for gratuity and I'm finding the tips are not making up for the cost of living and the monies needed to pay for college.

Does anyone have suggestions when it comes to good paying jobs that don't require a degree that can support me while I go to school?
posted by Vicarious to Work & Money (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A friend of mine "danced" her way through much of college. She finally dropped out of school upon deciding that wearing a g-string was more profitable than the degree that she was going to earn.
posted by Juicylicious at 3:56 PM on November 23, 2004

Real estate rentals - you can generally work your own hours and it ony costs about $200-300 to take the 20 hours or so of classes necessary to get a license. (Requirements and costs vary by state.) The rental market is great for agents near the OSU campus and the test for a sales license is really easy.

I would also suggest maybe looking for another restaurant or bar to work at. Some of my friends in Columbus made decent money working at restaurants in the Short North area. Also, when I lived in Columbus (about 8 years ago) I dated a guy who made shitloads of money bartending at a near campus bar.
posted by sophie at 4:13 PM on November 23, 2004

If you're good at soldering and only sell to the right people, modchips are a HUGE moneymaker in the USA. When you get good at the work, you can easily earn $100 for less than 2 hours worth of work.

Of course, sadly, you're in the USA where it's technically illegal, so if you choose to do it, I wouldn't advertise...

Another very quick moneymaker: Selling pirated satellite TV.

Anyways, clearly, I can tell you this: You'll be hard pressed to find an easy way to MMF without at least bending the law. If it were a quick way to money and were 100% legal, it'd already be flooded and you'd be screwed. :-D
posted by shepd at 4:14 PM on November 23, 2004

If you're reasonably good at it, you'd be amazed nowadays at how many college students make a living playing Poker online.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:16 PM on November 23, 2004

Most of the guys I know who are working their way through school (including myself) did it in one of two or three ways:

1) Taking night classes and keeping a full-time (i.e. office) job during the day.
2) Programming in their off hours for ~$40-50 per hour. (You can easily find other programmers who charge a lot more and subcontract most of their work. Heck, I subcontract nearly all of my work.)
3) Bartending. If you're good, you can make a billion dollars an evening. Heck, I know a guy who worked a full time job during the day... proceeds from that job went to mortgage & family budget. He also had a serious hobby ... SCCA racing ... that required cash, which he made by making $500/weekend in tips at a bartending job.
posted by SpecialK at 4:26 PM on November 23, 2004

Here's another vote for learning to play online poker. The only downside, there aren't many other jobs where you can work hard, do a great job, and lose money for a month.
posted by mosch at 4:42 PM on November 23, 2004

Response by poster: Those are some great suggestions.

I'm currently putting my application in for some bartending positions. I don't have experience in it, but I'm a very fast learner when it comes to making money.

As of now, my current job is doing delivery. The tips aren't outstanding, and the monthly maintenance on my car is what really hits the wallet. I'm looking forward to something that doesn't require me to shell out $150-200 in gas and oil changes.

The online poker sounds interesting.. what are some of the more reputable online venues for a look-see?
posted by Vicarious at 4:49 PM on November 23, 2004

Waiting tables can be fantastic money if you work the right nights (and Sunday mornings) at the right restaurant. Bartending is even better (especially if you're in a college town on game nights). Your opportunities are going to depend on how flexible your hours are. If you can take night classes, try administrative assistant/ receptionist, bank teller, or bike courier. If you can work at night, try a telemarketing firm.

If you're getting towards the end of your degree, you may also want to look into paid internships or a co-op (although some schools won't give you credit if you're getting paid).

Good luck!
posted by asnowballschance at 4:51 PM on November 23, 2004

Online poker as a reliable source of income?!? Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't other people have to LOSE money in order for somebody else to MAKE money. I would think that if your poker skills were already up to snuff you would have thought of it as a money maker on your own.

I was going to suggest something more old fashioned like custodial work, which often is at night and fits a student's schedule perfectly. Even the bartending option seems more reliable. Good luck with the poker if you choose that work. I hear you can also make some extra scratch as a super model or by winning the heavy weight title in boxing.
posted by HifiToaster at 4:57 PM on November 23, 2004

Depending on your situation, it might be worth investigating whether the school you're going to offers tuition waivers for full-time employees, and if so, whether you could wangle a job of some sort there. Some of my fellow employees (at the Univ. of Minnesota) are completing their degrees that way.

Downside: You usually have to be a full-time employee, which means you're limited to 1-2 courses per term, probably at night, which cuts into your free time something awful and slows degree completion.

Upside: Hard to beat free tuition. Plus, college/university jobs often provide good benefits.
posted by Kat Allison at 5:27 PM on November 23, 2004

If you're reasonably good at it, you'd be amazed nowadays at how many college students make a living playing Poker online.

...said the poker sharp to the mark. ;^)
posted by squirrel at 6:38 PM on November 23, 2004

A lot of my friends work at grocery stores where they can make up to $18/hr. Once a friend worked July 4th, and make something like 70/hr for 8hrs. That was pretty imressive.
posted by ruwan at 6:44 PM on November 23, 2004

Porn actor and/or prostitute, maybe with your own web site. (By the way, what's a male "dominatrix" called?) There are so many fetishes and kinks, and a few of them have little to do with actually being in the same room with, let alone actually touching, your tricks.
posted by davy at 6:53 PM on November 23, 2004

Or try and find a job where you can study. Night clerk at a motel, for example. This will also provide you with stories you will tell for the rest of your life.
posted by LarryC at 6:57 PM on November 23, 2004

When I was in college I worked weekends at a group home for developmentally disabled adults. It was hard work, but personally very rewarding. I got a full-time paycheck and benefits, and it also allowed a little time for studying. It did require spending Friday and Saturday night at the group home.
posted by hazyjane at 1:11 AM on November 24, 2004

If you are so inclined, you can do part time work for Citizen Action or PIRG. Both have offices in Columbus and offer jobs that are geared toward students.
posted by Otis at 6:01 AM on November 24, 2004

what's a male "dominatrix" called?


So stripping isn't your cup of tea? I recommend bartending for good money. If you don't have experience, most bars will make you start out as a "barback." The barback stocks the bar, washes glassware, restocks the ice, etc. They get tipped out by the bartenders, as well as earn an hourly wage.
posted by Juicylicious at 8:17 AM on November 24, 2004

If you are so inclined, you can do part time work for Citizen Action or PIRG. Both have offices in Columbus and offer jobs that are geared toward students.

Yeeeesss.... coome to uuussss.... (I've worked for both orgs in NY, though probably not in the capacity you would be. And, well, if you're the right person for the job, you'll make a ton of money and really make a huge difference. But if you're the wrong person... prepare for some of the most miserable weeks of your life.)
posted by TTIKTDA at 11:17 AM on November 24, 2004

My (engineering) school had "co-op" programs with many companies -- basically, you go to school one semester, work one semester, school, work, school, work, etc. It takes longer to graduate, but the money is generally decent (although entry-level/intern in whatever field) as compared to part-time and summer jobs. As a bonus, you would get more out of your education, because you have a real-world application for your book-lernin'.
posted by LordSludge at 11:35 AM on November 24, 2004

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