Tuesday, April 03, 2012

An Odd Job

I've been fine tuning my domestic Goddess skills for the last 14 years and now that my kids are getting older, I find myself a lot less interested in doing things around the house.  I mean, really, if I've perfected these skills, then I shouldn't have to DO them anymore, right? Besides, it's so...repetitive: the damn toilets ALWAYS need cleaning, my children insist on wearing clothes - CLEAN clothes nonetheless and the kitchen floor has some magical ability to get sticky right after mopping it. It's like this stuff needs to be done every month, or if you are the fussy type, every week (that's just overkill if you ask me, bordering on OCD).

It's all getting rather tedious. I'm in need of a change, to trade in my domestic Goddessness for something else, or at least share the title.

While pondering my current state of non-employment, the term "odd jobs" popped into my head.  There may be a more updated phrase for short term/infrequent employment, but "odd jobs" works for me and, well...I AM odd.

There was a time when women, most often mothers who stayed home with their children (because that is mostly what they did a gazillion decades ago), would take on the task of earning money from home.  In the book, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (super excellent read, by the way), the author talks about her mother entering jingle writing contests, where she would sometimes win money, but often won items that she either used for her family or would sell/trade. The author's father was a nasty drunk and well rounded lout, so her mother had no choice but to find a way to support her 10 children.

Then there are the stories passed down from generations of family members about the womenfolk taking in other peoples laundry and ironing, or making food items - all for either money or to barter for items/services. Smart, resourceful women they were.

I don't hear about these stories today, or I should say the stories are not as "domestic". I do know of women who've adapted their full time careers to work at home, or simply cut back their hours. There are also women who work full time, but run a business on the side. One woman I know  divides her day job into segments so that she can make cake-pops for events and special orders, often working into the wee hours of the morning. I would imagine Esty is full of women like her, as well as at home moms looking to make extra money or women looking to build a business to either supplement a full time job OR to launch a new dream career.  The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and spurred on by a fragile economy.

I've written about using my domestic skills before in Got Skillz, as well as pondered a complete Career Shift.  Then I had My Brilliant Idea, but there is always The Business of Being In Business that holds me back. However, getting a little Jingle Jangle In My Pocket has me thinking yet again about what women are doing now to supplement their incomes, how are they adapting the odd jobs of yesteryear into modern life?

Hubbypants told me about people who go to the post office for other people, mailing packages for them, etc. I have a number of friends who DETEST going to the mailbox and someone tapped into that vein of dread and capitalized on it. Brilliant.

Why can't I come up with those ideas? Actually, that isn't entirely true...I DO come up with ideas, they are just often too elaborate and not cost effective - but they are damn good ideas, mostly because I say so.

I want to know...
Does your family have any odd job stories?
Do you do odd jobs now? If so, what?
Please note, if I like the idea I just might steal it become inspired to do it myself!


  1. Anonymous10:50 AM

    I used to think I'd be good at making those phone calls no one wants to make: disputing a bill, arguing with the ex-wife...

    Surely someone out there wants to pay someone to do that.

    A. stands for "take it And run"

    1. Oh, I would SOOOO pay for that kind of service. Yes!

  2. Hrrrmmm, odd jobs... Welp my great grandfather spent his retirement doing things for the national republican party (yes, that could be where I get it from)... I don't know what all he did, but we have cards and notes from the White House. And my grandmother, my great grandmother and my great aunt made ceramics and painted them for custom orders in the back of my grandma's garage.

    1. That is very cool about the artifacts you have from the white house for your grandpa! And the story of the women in your family is very cool! That is exactly what I'm talking about...we still have artisans today who do that, but I think it is more of a profession and passion than a way to make extra income...know what I mean?

  3. I still like the greeting cards idea!
    Family and friends have dabbled in many of the categories you mentioned in the post. As the economy picks back up, I think the demand for people who provide "helper" services like going to the p.o. will pick up again.
    One goofy idea that occurred to me recently is that someone ought to offer to pay to pin their stuff on Pinterest. Lang Antiques and Jewelry in S. F. is one of my favorite sites to pin from, and it's like I'm giving them free advertising. I do love their vintage jewelry. Getting paid is probably against the Pinterest user agreement that I signed without reading, but I wondered.

  4. S.F. as in San Francisco? As in less than an hour from my house? :-) I would wear my fingers to the nub if I could get paid to pin...nub, I tell ya! As for the cards, I'm still formulating ideas.

  5. You know how I feel about the card idea. I have actually made money uploading products for people on Etsy. Maybe get your feet wet doing that?
    I currently have two freelance gigs, a part-time job I do from home for a local dermatologist, and my business. It gets us through.