Thursday, September 27, 2012

Slacker Jobs

For most people, the career holy grail is influence, money, power, and/or security.

But others' main priority is that their work be easy. This post is for you.

Of course any job can be easy or hard depending on how demanding your boss is, but these jobs, on average, are slacker-friendly.

Note: If you're in one of these jobs and you find it harder than I think, do let me know.

Some require little training or education, others a lot. Some pay little, others quite well.

Accent neutralization tutor.  I have an executive client from France who pays someone $20 an hour just to converse with him and correct his pronunciation. He simply, on a digital recorder, records his mispronunciation and her correct pronunciation. Then he practices.

Fitting-room clerk.  You just count items and hand out tags with numbers of them. When people bring the clothes out, you count 'em to make sure they're not wearing one under their clothes. On weekdays, business is usually slow, so you could probably write War and Peace between customers.

Process server. Drive around saying, "Joe Jones?" He says yes and you hand her his court summons or whatever. If he starts to runs away, just drop it at his feet.

Optician. Helping people pick eyeglass frames, adjusting them to fit.

Signature gatherer. A large number of signatures are needed to get people or initiatives on the ballot. A caller to my radio show said he earns $50 to $100 an hour doing it.

Health educator. Teach people the joys of broccoli instead of bacon cheeseburgers, exercise instead of couch potatoing. Easy to explain, harder to get people to change.

Security guard for office building/TV station, etc., especially the night shift. One wrote, "I work overnight in a warehouse and play on my laptop and Nintendo all night long." Another wrote, "I wrote a fair chunk of my last novel on a building site, sitting in half-finished luxury apartments, surrounded by coffee and sweets."

Political sign placer and remover. Especially as we enter election season, candidates from school board member to President of the United States want to post a zillion signs. Sad because all those signs do is boost name recognition--hardly a valid basis for choosing our leaders. The law requires that the signs be removed after the election.

Big-ticket item salesperson: Flog boats, yachts, RVs, planes, pianos, etc. Every time I go into a piano store, the sales guy is sitting around, chatting, or playing the piano. With big-ticket items you make a few sales a month and you're solvent.

A low-level job in the government. For example, when I'm driving, there so often are three or four CalTrans workers standing around watching one work. Or when I went to the palatial Federal office building in Oakland, there were desk after desk, perfectly clean with admins "working" for agencies no one has ever heard of, literally or figuratively polishing their nails, surfing the net, or reading a fashion magazine. I had a client who worked for BART who proudly reported that she gets away with working only one hour a day to get her $90,000 salary.

College student adviser.  You tell students what courses they still need to take and maybe help them pick a major. If they have a serious problem, your job is only to refer them elsewhere.

Food sampler.  These are the folks that give you a free meatball at Costco in hopes of enticing you to buy ten pounds worth.

Window glass replacer.  Without having to work too hard, you get a lot of grateful customers.

Retail store merchandiser. You put out the stuff out so it looks pretty. You might also put "sale" signs in the window, coupons on the counter, etc.

Flyer distributor. Despite this being the Facebook Age, many event promoters still like to paper the locale with flyers. Great for people who like traipsing around the city.

Real estate sign post placer, remover. When a piece of real estate is for sale, a for-sale sign on a 4x4 post often is planted and is removed after it's sold--or these days, often pulled off the market.

Line sitter. When the iPhone 5 came out, some people earned as much as $1,500 holding the place in line for a busy person.  More often, line sitters wait in line for the opening of a hot movie, game console, etc. Some lawyers hire (or could be convinced to hire) a line sitter to wait in line for filings, hearings, etc.

Auctioneer. It's easy, especially if you're entertaining. Great gig for out-of-work comedians. It's not hard to learn to talk fast enough and use that auctioneer pattern. I know. I do it, as a volunteer, for charity auctions.

Personal shopper. They don't work only for snooty department stores. They're hired by corporations and individuals, often to buy gifts or for fundraisers.

Mystery shopper. Pretend you're a shopper, write a little report. Eazy, peazy.

Driver. Personal driver, valet parker, cab driver, delivery driver, fork lift driver, courier. I drove a cab and enjoyed the conversations, listening to radio, and driving around.  And no education required. Just need a drivers license.

Admin or library job at a college. These are often cushier than you might imagine. Plus, you're working in a pleasant, stimulating environment.

Hotel night auditor. Reconciles the books each night. A caller to my radio show says he works a half hour a night and can do what he wants the rest of the night--I'm guessing, including sleeping.

Night shift bellhop. Few people check in or out after 10 pm.

Hotel front desk clerk. The night shift is better for slackers.

Tutor.  Teaching Johnny how to subtract or Mary to read for $20-70 an hour doesn't sound bad to me. To get clients, I'd put an ad in a upscale school's PTA newsletter--those parents can afford to hire tutors. Or in low-income areas, schools often offer free tutoring. I'd see if the school would hire me. And if I were a college or grad student, I'd get my tutoring gig there--colleges hire lots of students as tutors.

Cosmetologist. Put makeup on people at a department store, TV studio, etc.

Building inspector.  Every time a property gets a significant renovation or expansion, someone's gotta approve it. And every time a piece of real estate gets sold, one or more inspectors are hired to say what's wrong with the property.

Image coach.  "You're a 'Winter," so you should wear these colors."  "I think an A-line skirt is flattering." "Hey, let's go shopping."

Neon sign maker. Bending glass into signs that say Bud Light or whatever.

Trend spotter.  Corporations send you out to the mall to see what the teens are buzzing about.

Copier or ATM repairperson.  They generally seem relaxed on the job and I'm guessing they make good money.

Sell and/or arrange flowers at a flower stand or cart.

Park police/ranger. I hike around the Lafayette Reservoir every day and it is amazing how many EBMUD employees and East Bay Regional Parks Police patrol that utterly safe area. I''d guess that if it was  completely self-run by the patrons, it would be just fine and taxpayer would save zillions. Mainly the park employees stand around chatting with each other or the patrons or, okay, occasionally picking up trash. And I'd bet that as government employees, they're paid quite well, with lots of benes, paid holidays and sick days. But with a job like that, no one would need a "mental health day."

Statistician. Yeah, I understand that it requires lots of schooling but once you have it, it's usually a pretty kick-back job that pays well. Mainly you tell folks, "Okay, use analysis of variance." Or "give me your raw data in this form and I'll enter it into the computer and email you the results."

Bartender/budtender. Even if you're working a busy bar, it ain't rocket science, it's fun, and tips are good . But it's not a job for addictive types.

Bouncer. Yeah, occasionally, things aren't so calm, but usually, you're just watching the hotties, listening to music, and looking intimidating.

Sex worker. True, some hate it but others find it a pleasurable, easy way to make a ridiculous amount of money per hour.

Exotic dancer.  While many guys look like they're having a root canal on the dance floor, some women look like they're having an orgasm. If you're in the latter category, exotic dancing is probably the most likely way to get paid to dance.

And of course, the iconic slacker job:

Wal-Mart greeter. It's not only easy, Wal-Mart actually gives good benes.


Maria Lopez said...

Bouncer can be easy or hard. I know someone who was a bouncer in a club with two dance floors connected by a staircase. He had to go up and down stairs every few minutes and was tired by the end of the night.

Exotic dancer is also physically hard and you can't do it unless you are young and very pretty. Some people make a good living with this but the only easy part is that it's part time.

Sex worker might be easy in a legal brothel, but since it's illegal most places you must arrange for your own physical protection. This is generally handled by people you wouldn't deal with if you had a choice.

One problem with some of these jobs is that there is too much doing nothing. This might make them hard for people who want an easy job because they are sleepy, such as hypothyroid people. The lack of stimulation can cause problems staying awake.

Also, many of these jobs are temporary or not meaningful. If you want a job where you accomplish more but often don't have to do very much and are willing to work a nightshift, I would consider night operations at some type of plant that performs a continuous process such as water purification, waste water treatment, or oil refining.

There emergencies, even life threatening ones, but they are really quite rare. You can't sleep but often the owners of such plants will cover training costs.

Marty Nemko said...

Great comment, Maria. Thanks!

ST said...

As a mathly-trained person, I have to say a statistician is not that easy, or at least definitely not a slacker job. Maybe they're seen as one step removed from a meteorologist where being wrong does not get you fired, but there can be a lot of pressure in finding the pockets of opportunity that companies need in order to generate revenue and profits. And it definitely is not just plugging numbers in formulas. Just my 2% error cents.

Anonymous said...

Bartender=slacker job? I dare you to work the dinner shift at my restaurant!! Or happy hour, or brunch, or weekday lunch.....actually any shift. There are no slacker jobs in the restaurant industry, despite what some sit-at-home-in-my-pajamas-working-freelance-gigs-when-I-feel-like-it writer thinks!