Making money, remotely or in the short term
February 13, 2017 2:40 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are moving in four months, but his temp job ends in two. What can he do to be gainfully employed over the short term?

We currently live in Chicago, IL. In two months, we'll be leaving Chicago, staying with family for about a month in the Midwest, then moving to the West Coast where I have a job lined up. Right now we're both working but once we move for good my salary will be enough that I can support us both while he hunts for a job.

We don't have a ton of savings right now and his temp job ends in March (it's a temp position but he didn't get it through a temp agency, so there's nothing to move on to). He has a Masters degree and wants a "real" full-time job, but obviously it's very unlikely that any workplace wants to hire him for a 2-4 month stint. He's applied to a couple temp agencies and is kind of keeping an eye out but I think he is just inexperienced looking for remote or part-time gigs. I don't have a lot of time to help him out at the moment, so I turn to you... are there any good ways to make a buck on a short-term basis? Anything new out there in terms of hunting for remote work, or good temp opportunities in Chicago?

He has done mostly office work in the areas of publishing and sales.
posted by stoneandstar to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It may help us help you if you describe his skills and experience. What is his masters degree in? Can he build things, fix things, and if so what? Does he know how to balance books, or design brochures, or ... anything specific?

One way to make a few bucks is to shovel snow out of driveways and sidewalks in your neighborhood, but that literally depends on the weather, and so is not terribly reliable.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:46 PM on February 13, 2017

Honestly, most of his job experience is generic office work or sales, without many concrete salable skills that he could use to freelance/etc. I think he wouldn't mind picking up a new skill, but no, he can't build/fix things, etc. His degrees are in humanities. He has experience with Salesforce and Excel, cold calling, writing sales pitches/email campaigns.

It would be easier if he had a hustle of some kind, but I have a suspicion that temp agency is the way to go for generic short-term office work. Obviously, location-specific advice is more helpful in that realm.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:53 PM on February 13, 2017

Its not office work, but big box home improvement stores hore seasonal workers for the Spring and Summer. And it's easy to leave with hardly any notice given.
posted by mightshould at 2:56 PM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sorry, last comment, but he is definitely open to physical work, has had "physical" jobs (stocking, operating a lift, etc.) in the past. The home improvement store idea is a good one!
posted by stoneandstar at 3:00 PM on February 13, 2017

What about some tutoring work? If he has humanities degrees he may be able to help students prep for the SATs or writing/reading, etc. I've used Wyzant to do short term tutoring in the past, though the downside is they take a huge cut. You can also check local schools or tutoring places or use Craigslist.
posted by FireFountain at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2017

The key to temping is to keep in touch with the coordinators who are sending out people. You don't just sign up and sit by the phone waiting for a gig. He needs to sign up, do really well on the assessment tests, let them know he's available by calling in every morning (or emailing), and nail the first gig, whatever it is. After that they'll be more likely to think of him going forward.

Familiarity with basic office software and procedures should be enough to get him some temp gigs, even if it's just answering the phones or filing for a week.

The above is based on my many years of temping between other jobs, but my last temp stint was a while ago and it's possible things have changed.
posted by suelac at 3:49 PM on February 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Academic journal editing services.
posted by Dashy at 4:43 PM on February 13, 2017

Drive for Uber or Lyft.
posted by zdravo at 5:50 PM on February 13, 2017

I had good luck with Smart Resources in Chicago.
Grubhub is also hiring delivery drivers.
posted by bleep at 6:19 PM on February 13, 2017

+1 on suelac's comment: keep in touch with several temp agencies on a near constant basis for the next month. All you have to say is, "it's me again, just staying in touch!". Assignments requiring little more than non-zero reliability and attitude come up regularly for most firms and the first people they think of are the ones that have been regular communicators. Check out Manpower, Spherion, Randstad, Aerotek, Augmentation, etc.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:35 PM on February 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

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