How can you support yourself when you can't work full-time?
August 16, 2010 8:58 PM   Subscribe

How do you make money and support yourself with a debilitating illness?

A friend of mine who has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the past 5+ years is about to turn 31 and is looking to figure out his financial and work future. He's a very smart guy and has had success at work in the past before being diagnosed with CFS, which turned his life upside down. What he's been wondering are what jobs are out there in which you can make a decent living wage (let's call it anything over $40K) working part-time (15-20 hours a week is the most he's able to manage). He was working in broadcast journalism in the past and is interested in writing, therapeutic services, financial services and alternative health as potential fields. He's not a programmer, which would probably be the easiest way to get part-time contract work and anything entrepreneurial may require too much sweat equity in the beginning.

I'm interested if anyone has had any similar experience, not just with CFS but illnesses that limit the amount of hours you can work per week.
posted by AmitinLA to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
No experiences with CFS, but grant writing might be an option. There is a high demand right now for grant writing, you can make your own schedule, and you can make pretty good money doing it.

Also, along the same lines, what about technical writing.
posted by TheBones at 9:02 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Consulting. Presumably by age 31 he's an expert in *something* and could conceivably consult on it, and if he's been successful at work, he should have at least a couple of contacts who might be interested in his services, or who could refer him to people who are.

Independent consulting in a field that's in any kind of demand yields enough income, working full-time, to live very comfortably. If one works half-time, they'd still be well above the poverty line. Many consultants prefer this lifestyle.

With his interest in writing and experience in broadcast, he could start working on writing copy for advertising, and then pick a niche or two to specialize in. Good copywriters and copywriters in very specialized, in-demand niches can name their own rates. They can also work from anywhere in the world... so living in nice, but low cost-of-living cities would be an option. Because very strong English-language skill is necessary to write good copy, I don't think this profession is being undermined by cheap overseas labor just yet.
posted by brain at 9:14 PM on August 16, 2010

I would suggest that therapeutic (or other) services where he would have regularly scheduled clients would make harder to adjust the work to his energy level (which he might not know until he wakes up in the morning) since he wouldn't want to have to cancel and reschedule clients too often. So something like writing where he has better control of his schedule might work better.
posted by metahawk at 10:49 PM on August 16, 2010

A dose of reality: this would be work that would pay 80 to 120K for full-time work, and there just are not many of those, especially in broadcast journalism.
posted by megatherium at 5:28 AM on August 17, 2010

What about coaching of some sort (I guess that's sorta like consulting in a way) ... that's something that can be done on the phone and at a time that's convenience for your friend.
posted by Mysticalchick at 6:08 AM on August 17, 2010

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