An obligation to leave the house this winter
September 12, 2020 7:38 AM   Subscribe

What is a low stress but high-motivation thing I can do to get me out of the house on weekends this winter?

Hello! Life with corona and winter coming up has me in a bit of a downward spiral of monotony. I can tell others are feeling it too. One of my coworkers (Salaried) is looking into getting a part time job over the weekends At a grocery store just to get her out of her apartment. And that sounds AMAZING.

She’s going to have someone that needs her to show up, do a menial labor-intensive task, outside of her apartment for the first time in months. Not only will they permit her to show up, they will PAY her (a small amount) to hang out?

Now, with my current position, I am unable to work for a grocery store. However, I love the idea of an obligation to make me do something on the weekends. Getting to leave and run a gas station pump or something, giving me a reason to shovel my driveway or put gas in my car, sounds amazing.

However, it leads to a question. I’m a full time salaried employee. My job is already normal amounts of stressful. What is the best place to look for low-stress, weekend, 8 hour a week employment?

The ideal job/activity:

1. Low stress, but I have to show up in person
2. High demand, where I could get hired even with high unemployment
3. Physical - I would love to get a workout
4. Allow me to work 1 shift on the weekends only, without ever requiring time during the week.

I would love construction or something, or maybe a security guard position, but the limitations of most of the things I can think of is either 1. They want more than 8 hours a week, or 2. They have 1000s of applicants!
posted by bbqturtle to Work & Money (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Does it have to be paid? I've been volunteering delivering food packages for a mutual aid project once a week or so. The driving part isn't very social or physical, but the packaging shifts are. You could see if there's a similar project (or just a food bank?) in your area.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2020 [18 favorites]

How about a volunteer gig, like a shift at a food bank or Meals On Wheels? Many nonprofits are looking for new volunteers, because their regulars tend to be older adults who are currently unable to engage due to the virus.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:55 AM on September 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

Bookstores usually have demand for people that will do receiving or shelving or something like that, and those tasks can be very physical. Right now, I think a lot of bookstores in the US are in flux in terms of their employees who may have been laid off because of COVID and chosen not to come back. Honestly I still think COVID is a very good reason not to take a job running a cash register or standing there selling all day on a Sunday. But if you have a bookstore nearby, drop in or visit them online and see what openings they have. Beware of taking a job in any kind of store that is far away or where parking is an issue. That's just a pain, and it gets worse during the holidays. Which are right around the corner in retail terms.
posted by BibiRose at 7:58 AM on September 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Can you find a volunteer gig that feels important enough to be a real commitment and serve this purpose instead? Like the mutual aid ideas mentioned above? There are so many people who are in a desperate financial place because they can't find work right now - if there is a not-awful paying job out there, leave it for one of those people.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:05 AM on September 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

Dog walking at a local animal shelter!
posted by brook horse at 8:25 AM on September 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Hey! I don't want to threadsit, but I think the part why I made this ask is the obligation - I've dog walked / volunteered with adopt a highway / habitat for humanity before, but with most of those cases, if I wanted to sleep in, nobody would really mind.

Does anyone have any thoughts for something where I'd be expected to show up or else? (But also not stressful) (I realize this might be impossible)
posted by bbqturtle at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Came in to recommend soup kitchen work. I make 100 pints soup from scratch once a week (planning, prep, cooking, packaging, and cleaning-- everything but shopping for ingredients). My shift is split into 3-4 hours in the morning and about 2 hours in the evening (for packing up the soup after it has cooled a bit, since I make it in one huge pot). I am the only one making the soup (one of three meals we distribute at one time) and we're a small group so it's taking food out of people's mouths if I don't show up to work. The trick would be to find either a group or shelter that serves meals on the weekends (many don't) or else distributes food early in the week/all week, and would appreciate someone able to cook on the weekends.

Another possibility depending on your interests and comfort level working one on one with others would be volunteering to organize or pack up belongings for people who can't afford professional help. I know a woman who does this nearly every weekend, and has a waiting list purely based on word of mouth recs. Packing help would be more short term (and somewhat seasonal) as organizing can go on for many sessions, but it is a great service to help out people who can't get it all done themselves for physical or emotional reasons. Some religious groups or social service orgs also run helper programs for house/repair work.
posted by notquitemaryann at 8:44 AM on September 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

If driving or delivery-based volunteer gigs would work, picking up prescriptions for people would presumably feel pretty vital. Some pharmacies have drive-thrus if you want to minimize your own exposure. While some places are doing free delivery via FedEx/etc, sometimes people either haven't arranged that in time or don't trust it to get meds to them on time given the way delivery services are overwhelmed right now.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:00 AM on September 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Mutual aid stuff is often very personal - my wife picks up groceries for an old lady every week, and then helps out with any household stuff that has accumulated, and if she can't come she has to call this old lady and explain that she isn't going to get food today. It's very much an obligation.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2020 [19 favorites]

one of my favourite jobs of all time was in post-construction cleaning. Once all the trades are finished in a house, you go in and clean it, and get it ready for showing/move-in. It's usually on weekends!

I'm not 100% sure how you'd FIND the job, other than emailing contracting/homebuilders, since it was a long time ago I did it, and I had an inside man by dating someone in the construction industry so he set it up, but if you can get some of that work, it's great. You can do it with like... 3 friends ideally, and you need minimal equipment (rags, a shop vac, some all purpose and glass cleaners).

Also when I worked for a cleaning company, they were willing to work around my schedule. If you like cleaning (you probably would - it is way more fun in someone else's house. you listen to podcasts or music, clean, everything looks great, you leave! ZERO stress.)
posted by euphoria066 at 11:21 AM on September 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

These are extremely high-risk populations right now, so you would have to keep your social distancing game top level, but weekend relief as a caregiver for an older person or a person with developmental disabilities? Weekend shifts are hardest to fill.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:39 PM on September 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Coaching little kids soccer. I offer this just as an example, but taking my son to soccer got me out of the house every fall Saturday for three years. Your involvement might only be administrative.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:17 PM on September 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

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