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Creative Ways to Cope with Unemployment, Recession

Creative Ways to Cope with Unemployment, Recession

Photo: szlea/Flickr

Matt Villano/Monster Contributing Writer

July 06, 2010

When Erik Moser was laid off from his job in January 2009, he improvised to keep his finances afloat.

He scaled back on eating out. He picked up a few odd jobs, like babysitting for his sister and dog walking for friends. He even got out of the lease on his Chicago apartment and moved back in with his parents.

“Is the situation ideal? Not by a long shot, but desperate times call for desperate measures,” he says. “I’ve done what I’ve had to do to live until I can get back to work.”

Moser, 26, isn’t the only person getting creative with money these days. As more and more Americans find themselves underemployed or out of work — at last check, 14.5 million were unemployed — growing numbers of people are resorting to similarly creative methods to pay the bills.

For some, many of these coping mechanisms revolve around second or third jobs, as well as light work for family and friends. Others, however, have adopted less conventional strategies. See if any of their ideas could also work for you.

Teach What You Know

While working as a technical director for a small theater company in New York City, Matt Klan has generated “a good amount” of income by teaching small classes in different stage techniques.

So far, Klan has taught two-day classes in Wisconsin, Maine and North Carolina. Most of the classes focus on stage combat (i.e., stunt fighting). Klan, 33, advertises the workshops on Facebook, Craigslist and other Web sites and gets deals on rehearsal spaces for about $10 to $25 per hour.

“The classes don’t generate a ton of money, but it’s enough to travel a couple times a year,” says Klan, who has another side job working in the engineering and construction management field. “I also get the chance to hone my craft [and] introduce people to new things.”

Klan also benefits from the networking involved. In the last few months, he has been asked to teach the classes at a number of universities as well.

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