Help me get out of debt.
February 25, 2016 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for employment opportunities that will allow me to get out of credit card/school debt. I’m basically throwing a hail mary and wondering if there is a company where I can devote literally 100% of my time, moving to wherever in the world, living and breathing the work, and emerging some time later without any debts.

Skills include customer service, hard labor, computer proficiency including ability to make websites. I've worked for car rental companies, landscaping companies and hotels. I'm pretty much able to be trained to do anything and have a college degree in liberal arts. I'm super not picky about the work as long as it pays well and provides housing.

I've heard in passing about oil companies and such that will hire people for long periods of time around the globe, allowing employees to make considerable money. This is the type of employment I'm seeking. Does anyone have any ideas?
posted by pwally to Work & Money (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cruise ships definitely provide room and board while you're working on them.
posted by edbles at 11:12 AM on February 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I believe Alaskan fishery canneries still offer rooming.
posted by xingcat at 11:21 AM on February 25, 2016

Teaching English overseas?
posted by JoannaC at 11:21 AM on February 25, 2016

It is true that in the past you could have found what you are looking for in the oil industry. However, that was usually for some level of skilled labor (even a roustabout needs experience), and the oil industry is having hard times now. If you want to get an idea of what's available now, you can check out this page. I post it for your information only, I neither recommend nor disavow the company behind the page.
posted by ubiquity at 11:23 AM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Some things that come to mind:

Join the military.
Offshore oil drilling, or drilling the bakken shale in North Dakota (company housing is available)
Planting trees in the summer in Canada (camp out for free or they provide food + housing)
Related to the above, logging in Canada
Long distance truck hauls in Canada/Alaska (sleep in your vehicle)
Work for Blackwater, Halliburton, SAIC or another military contractor (live in barracks if deployed)
Work on a cruise ship
Work on a deep sea fishing/crabbing/lobster crew (they have unions too)
Can fish in Alaska (they have dorms)
Urban firefighting and sanitation can pay very well in some cities but no housing
Correction officers make a lot of overtime pay but local/state will not offer housing, federal might in certain settings due to where federal facilities are located
Flight attendant?
Railroad engineer?

Generally, work "where I can devote literally 100% of my time, moving to wherever in the world, living and breathing the work, and emerging some time later without any debts" means work that is hard, dangerous, exhausting, or stressful, but I applaud your plan and I wish you luck.
posted by zdravo at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

From what I gather, jobs in war torn areas or post war areas that are being rebuilt tend to pay dramatically better, like double normal (or better). I am talking big companies or US government jobs or similar, not "local" jobs.

I knew someone with programming skills who looked into this. He had this fantasy that he would work in some East European country for scads of money, sending tons of cash back to the wife and saving up for a down payment on a house while also partying his ass off all over Europe every weekend. Then he learned that the expectation is you typically work like 80 hours a week. They want their money's worth out of you.

You might check

On preview: I took a long bus ride once and in the seat next to me was a guy returning home after working in an Alaskan cannery. He told me that they pay your ticket home if you make it to the end of the season, but few people stay that long. Most decide they just want out. He stayed the whole season, for the extra money. In one episode of Deadliest Catch, one of the guys ends up working in a cannery the last few weeks before fishing season. He is thrilled and relieved to leave the cannery job to go do one of the deadliest jobs in the world.

But, yes, from what I gather, canneries pay fairly well. So do certain kinds of fishing jobs, if you can get on the crew.
posted by Michele in California at 11:30 AM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

zdravo mentioned the military upthread: you won't make all that much money, but it is possible to get certain types of student loan debt forgiven if you enlist. Joining the military is a lot more than just a job, but it may be something to consider.
posted by Itaxpica at 11:55 AM on February 25, 2016

Recruitment. Low salary, high ROI for big billers.

Manufacturing sales. Sales engineers are in high demand. The targets get tougher. You can insulate by learning bid writing or even better learn commissioning.

Also, real estate.
posted by parmanparman at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2016

A decade ago I worked alongside a bunch of roaming Epic electronic health record go-live support people who traveled from hospital to hospital and lived in temporary corporate housing. They were employed by the hospital system, not Epic. That hospital system is fully implemented now, but perhaps that model exists for other big systems now?
posted by Maarika at 6:15 PM on February 25, 2016

It's too late in the season, but maybe you could try for a job in Antarctica, maybe in support services, in the 2016/2017 season. They're in high demand, though.
posted by bentley at 8:50 PM on February 25, 2016

House parent at a boarding school or sorority/fraternity?
posted by SisterHavana at 9:37 PM on February 25, 2016

A friend of a friend got out of debt by waitering on a cruise liner for 2 years.
posted by PenDevil at 4:58 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

In my field, English teaching, people are heading to the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia with a degree and a teaching credential plus a bit of experience and making a LOT of money, tax-free, often with flights, paid holidays, full benefits and housing included. You live on an international compound. Savings of $15,000 USD a year are not unheard of, but life in Saudi especially is hard going if you can't deal with life in a very sharp-edged bubble or if you are female (and therefore cannot drive). The same schools will need people with less experience to be, say, teacher's aides or resource people. Look especially in places that are not capital cities, where a foreign teacher or lecturer might earn comparatively more since expenses might be lower, or where a government may be trying to start a university or college.
posted by mdonley at 5:23 AM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

There was this article I read a few weeks ago (maybe found in on the blue?) about a guy who worked as a truck driver for a year and paid off his student debt. Here's the original article and an interview the gives more specifics on dollar amounts.
posted by megancita at 6:01 AM on February 26, 2016

A friend of mine managed to get rid of some of his student loans when he enlisted in the air force. He tested well on the intake exam and supposedly that was part of the deal. I don't know the details. You could talk to a recruiter. Be sure to get everything in writing for any promises.

emerging some time later without any debts

It's not clear from the question -- you realize that there simply are not legitimate employers offering things where you are guaranteed to emerge debt free? DO NOT work for someone who does not give you your income to do with as you wish, even if they promise you will be debt free at the end of the time period. This is a very VERY VERY bad idea.
posted by yohko at 11:57 AM on February 26, 2016

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