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I need temp work that pays around $50/hr. Where should I look?


Nicolas Lingenfelter Temecula, CA

I’m in southern California and my employment contract expired while waiting for an official offer and start date from the Army. It’s been months of waiting and now I’m out of work and running out of money, despite taking pretty much any odd jobs I can get (washing windows, moving furniture, etc). I feel guilty applying for something full-time knowing that I’m going to quit as soon as the Army gives me a start date. I have an MBA from a top 25 Business School and well over 20 years of work and leadership experience. Should I be knocking on businesses’ doors offering to consult? Or something else?

22 March 2019 14 replies Career Exploration



Scott Gagnon Winthrop, MA

My employer - Navisite - runs and manages a Veterans services job board assisting veterans like you. Many resources available across all US states. Take a look here:

Good luck and thank you for your service.


Anqi Zhao Hakalau, HI

Aloha Nicolas,

I totally understand your situation. Don't panic, and I encourage you to not settle for jobs that don't value your experience and skill, or help you to grow. There are plenty of ways to make (good) money now a days for those who are creative. It's been 2 years since I had full time job. To cut my spending I went overseas. A dollar lasts a long in places like Thailand than it does in California. I found the highest paying part time jobs are: contracted linguist, software engineer contractor. It does take a while to establish yourself as a credible freelance contractor. If money is hurting and you are willing, bartenders in touristy area make very good money. It's not as glamorous as having a full time manager job, but in my opinion you do learn and grow even as a bartender (NY representative Cortez as an example).

Good luck to you.



Joyce Stein Santa Clarita, CA

You can be an online instructor with your background. Check online schools and Tech schools like Devry.
Also check large consulting firms like PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC); Anderson Consulting; Ernst & Young (E&Y) or TEKSystems


William (Liam) Hickey Chicago, IL

I like Jennifer's idea of tutoring. I recommend marketing to successful business people and graduate students, basically those with money and motivation to pay a private tutor's rates. I have found that $40-$50 per hour is quite low for tutoring. You can go much higher. (A lot of people think a tutor with low rates isn't any good.) The difficult part is actually getting the clients, so go for a specialty niche. What can you teach or do that is most in demand? What are you do or know better than most other people? Ships? Asian languages? Electronics? Engine repair?

The second thing, and more important, is that you're waiting. If you're waiting for something to happen in life, it won't. That's just life. If you pursue more opportunities, then the one you're waiting for will respond. The bottom line is that you don't seem to have an official offer, which means you don't have anything to wait for. Keep going on other fronts. Get something full-time, and if you leave it after a day or a week for this other opportunity, that happens in the business world. In pursuing other things, you may even find something you decide to accept instead of this Army opportunity.

The other part about this is that months of waiting is a BAD sign. This Army opportunity could end up cancelled. Restart your job search. Keep going!


Sotir Koev Washington, DC

Do you have experience in HVAC / AgTech? If so let me know, an Army Veteran is hiring in Southern and Northern Cali.


Shahriar Chowdhury Gaithersburg, MD

$50/hour is basically a $100k/year income, which is asking for a lot, in my opinion, as a temp job.

I have buddies that have been driving Lyft and Uber, making decent cash in between roles.


Dean Bottomley

Chris, I am not certain what you did in the Navy, however there are companies in the San Diego area looking for Inst with Surface / Navigation / Operations experience. Additionally, and not knowing your transportation situation there is always ways to raise funds while in a down period. If you pick a charity and one, Red Cross, Leukemia or something else, trade labor for donations. It will instill a purpose, and help the community at the same time. Another sure thing right now is UBER, they are even providing the vehicles. All food for thought. Best of luck while you wait for your call down.


Bryce Englin Prattville, AL

Nicholas, congrats on your forthcoming job working with the Army. Unfortunately, I can agree that the process of getting into these positions can take a little bit of time. Like many folks out here, I would recommend part time consulting as a win-win. However in addition to tutoring you might want to look at applying to teach business courses at a local or on-line community college. In the last almost 3 years that I’ve been working as a contractor I’ve seen some people pick-up adjunct duties on the side and they enjoy doing it, because they want to share knowledge with people. While teaching might provide a little stability until you get going, it also provide an opportunity to share knowledge and ideals from areas that some students might not typically have an opportunity to hear about.


Morris Driver Jackson, MS
I pickup jobs at the sites below.

The newest one that i just learned about:


Vivek Vadakkuppattu Seattle, WA

The experience, value you bring might still make you a good hire for a company even if it means you can't make a long term commitment - given the long lead times to fill roles, companies might be open to getting someone onboard and contributing right away. Many companies use non-permanent positions as a way to get work done without the headcount on their books. Many big companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Apple etc. have career tracks for veterans, so there might be some precedence here too.

As someone pointed out, tutoring is a good option. Upwork is another option - one of my previous companies hired a consultant for $2500 for a contained, 40 hour project.
Good luck!


Chad Eaves Lake Zurich, IL

Hello Nicolas,

Have you identified what you are an expert at? That skill set is what you can get paid for the most. Cold calling (knocking and calling businesses blind) is generally ineffective and can drag down your morale. Consider talking to a staffing company. Some staff professional positions and that would probably be the fastest way to income.

Good luck!



J J Nemitz Traverse City, MI

Hi Nicolas,
The trades! They cannot fill positions and are looking for people. The work is physical, but many skilled trades people are making 6 figures in my area. My brother is an architect and said they cannot find good people willing to learn or fill these jobs. Many community colleges offer classes in the trades as well.
Just a thought, but may or may not fit you.
Have a good day and best to you.


Jennifer Polhemus Santa Monica, CA

One idea -- Since you have an MBA, do you have tutoring skills, in finance, accounting, and such? You could promote yourself as a tutor to college students, starting at roughly $40 per hour (until you get some positive reviews & then $50).


Jeremy Serwer Woodstock, CT

Hello Nicolas --

Having been a corporate division President, Vice President, etc., running various businesses, my advice revolves around straightforward honesty in your situation: with much talent and experience, you can offer on a contract or consulting basis an open-ended arrangement. Your host company will appreciate the honesty, and knowing they don't have to commit to you long term with benefits may actually fit for certain corporate cultures.

Seems like a potential win-win to me.

Good luck!

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