Reader Question: Post-Corona Work?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Chris asks: Since my job at a call center was eliminated “because Corona” at the end of March, I’m looking an income opportunity that doesn’t involve going back to “corporate America.”

As you’ve mentioned before, it seems like more and more jobs will be funneled toward the large companies, where we’ll be subject to the “corporate rules” (drug testing, political correctness, etc.) plus I see restrictions being ramped up even more (Masks Mandatory, proof of “up-to-date” vaccines being required to even be considered for jobs, all sorts of petty “social distancing” rules, and so on. During my last job, I received a lecture from a manager about not addressing people as “sir” or “ma’am” after a caller complained to management that I called them by the “wrong gender” — don’t want to go back to that nonsense if I can at all help it!

From your experience, what do you (and perhaps your readers also) see as industries that will be good income sources in a “Corona world”?  Are driving-based gigs (such as Uber, UberEats, delivery drivers, etc.)  a promising field, and worth the time? I am 50 and not looking to “climb the corporate ladder” but not quite able to retire either. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

My reply: Any gig that makes you independent of corporate America or at least, less dependent on it, is the ticket. And the corollary of this is to live as much below your means as possible. The less money you have to earn, the more free you are.

In re the first, jot down a list of the things you are good at and know more than the average bear about. Then think about ways to leverage your skills/knowledge into work people are willing to pay you for. It may be handyman plumbing/electrical/mechanical work; it might be teaching (not in government schools – seek out homeschoolers). Anything that earns a sufficiency of honest dollars without having to become a drone in a cube farm, bending knee (and extending arm, for vaccinations) to the man.

In re the second: To the extent you can, scale down and divest yourself of money-hogging liabilities such as a car payment. If you haven’t got a paid-for car, get one. Even if it’s an old one. Find a good one – and then take good care of it and it will take good care of you. By not costing you a regular monthly payment and by costing you very little, comparatively, to insure and so on.

Most of all, try to reduce your housing costs. The most saving thing you can do – the most liberating thing there is in this country, at this moment – is the paid-for home. Yes, you’ll still have to deal with property taxes and upkeep. But if you haven’t got a mortgage – and don’t have to pay rent – you all of a sudden need 50-plus percent less income than the average American to live a reasonably comfortable middle-class existence.

Another option, which amounts to the same thing, is to buy and live in an RV. This is even more doable financially for most people and it’s not a miserable existence. Many RVs are nicer than a small house and have the advantage of being mobile – so you can easily flee the golden horde and follow the work, too.

The main thing is to get away from the McCube and McCorporation ASAP given what they have in store for anyone unfortunate enough to be working there.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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3 COMMENTS

  1. If you must have a corporate job, stay far away from places that employ a lot of women and minorities. Anything related to construction, energy, and logistics is fairly decent around here. The only downside is they work you like a mule.

  2. Eric,

    I would only amplify your two main points, Eric. One, in addition to getting a paid for car, it would be best if it’s an economical and reliable car, something like a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. Not only will his maintenance be less; his insurance and fuel costs will be less too. if he needs a truck or SUV occasionally, he can rent it; the key is to find something that’ll meet his needs 95% of the time. Secondly, in addition to having a paid for home (i.e. one that’s mortgage free), he should go as SMALL as he can. This will reduce heating and cooling costs, which add up over time.

    I live in a small, 700 sq. foot home. Yes, it’s small, but so are my bills. I’ve always paid less than $100 a month during the peak of winter, and I’ve always paid less than $100 a month during the dog days of July and August. I’ve gotten CLOSE to $100 a month at times, but I’ve never gone over it. My taxes are more manageable too.

    When I bought my house, I could’ve gotten something bigger and nicer. There was a 2,100 sq. foot house near downtown; it had a nice big room where one could’ve put in a gym, pool table, arcade games, or a big slot car track. My first thought when I looked at it was: this thing will cost a FORTUNE to heat and cool-ouch! I could’ve gotten a bigger, nicer house by the river, and I could’ve gotten it for $10k less than what I paid for my present house. I didn’t, because I was concerned about flooding; though the house never has (it’s on a bit of a hill), the road it’s on has flooded numerous times. I bought a smaller, more expensive place on high ground. Let me put it this way: if where I am floods out, we’re ALL in deep shit!

    To recap, our 50 something refugee of Corporate America should get a small, reliable, and economical car; that’ll reduce his maintenance, fuel, and insurance costs. He should get a small house, since there are fewer cubic feet to warm and cool. Not only does it reduce heating and cooling bills; it reduces taxes and clutter. As you said Eric, if he can reduce his monthly costs, the less he needs to live on. That could mean an earlier retirement, which would lead to a higher QoL for our Corporate America refugee… 🙂

    • Amen, Mark!

      I also chose to live uphill – and far from any stream, river or (worse) ocean. I also bought a house in the country, where it’s cool enough to not need AC 98 percent of the time and where I can heat with free wood I cut on my own land. Phase 2 – to use the Coonman’s language – is to get a garden going, along with chickens (again) and (first time) some goats and a couple of cows.

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