I often dream that I can wake up at eleven for brunch, glide my feet into the fuzzy warmth of slippers, embraced by the softest of robes, then head to the kitchen where I pour a Bloody Mary before sitting down at my laptop. This is the start of my work day. Is it not glorious? Is it even real?
Whether it be browsing Craigslist in desperation for a job, or rummaging through the spam folder at work for that important email that shouldn’t have been flagged as junk, we have all seen these advertisements—the promise of gainful employment from the comfort of your abode, making x-amount of dollars working right at your laptop. Whether you are fresh off graduation with that diploma in hand, or having your life sucked away at your desk, the prospect remains equally attractive to all. But can it be done? Could I actually live without actually working? Well, technically speaking yes. Could I sit at home all day and still afford pint night on Tuesday? Maybe. In my years of travel and squandered misfortune, I made a laughable attempt…
I first turned to online surveys. “Make $24.50 per survey!” they said. “It will be easy!” they said. And it was. The website would send me a survey; I clicked a bunch of boxes and typed in some two-word sentences occasionally, and made $0.10. What did it cost me? Nothing really, except the questions were asking about my tastes as a consumer and products I used, potentially sabotaging my future as Jack Bauer while the NSA was undoubtedly building a comprehensive personality profile to predict my every move. Three weeks and two dozen surveys later I had enough money to buy a pint at the bar…except the service wouldn’t let me cash out until I reached a much larger sum. Nobody’s got time for that, and thus concluded my foray into the world of surveys. Can you make a living from this? Survey says: no.
Online Data Entry
Ah, another common work-from-home staple. When they aren’t fraudulent scams, online data entry positions are mind-numbingly boring work. If North Korea believed in computers, data entry jobs would be their new tool of oppression. The pay is also abysmal, and often times you have to compete with other sofa-based employees to even get an assignment. That’s correct: it’s the Hunger Games of couch potatoes, except everyone is wielding a keyboard and a bag of Frito’s. I could only press F5 so fast and frequently before I capitulated to superior opponents. Thus I quickly retired from data entry. On the plus side, I am an excellent EBay sniper now.
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Contrary to the other listed methods, I actually earned some money using the Mechanical Turk system. By money I mean approximately $18.50 for 20+ hours of “work.” Yes, I was making roughly a dollar an hour using this system. What did this work entail? Mostly surveys, psychology students finding subjects for online behavior questionnaires, and the occasional translation job. My mental fortitude lasted about a week before I realized I would rather be actually employed.
Okay, I’m cheating, as you actually have to leave your house for this one. But the money was good, as long as I sustained myself on a diet of saltine crackers. Rent was partially feasible, and I only had to conquer a deathly fear of needles, pass a few medical checks and weigh enough. Yes, having imbibed too many Keystones worked to my advantage. Unfortunately it doesn’t last forever. My arms started looking like I acquired a bad heroin addiction, I experienced accelerated intoxication (alcohol does not replace plasma), and after a few months, a friend described my skin as “fifty shades of pale.” Plus, I actually had to leave the house. My days here were numbered.
Web Design/App Development
In the mean time, I turned to the internet, where it seems apps make a new millionaire every day. I have coded one decent app in my lifetime so far. One. It is horrendously buggy; a blatant clone of Super Mario game mechanics, and looks like it was made for the Commodore 64. I could release this game for free and might get my grandma to download it by telling her it’s the next Flappy Bird. I have also coded a few websites in my day. Those were actually serviceable, if made in 1998. Was I making the next Snapchat? Would I Twitter my way into being lathered in riches? No. I did acquire enough programming savvy to actually make myself employable, which I found ironic and opposite of the point of my endeavor.
Ha. Ha. Ha. Wait…
(Checks to see if actually getting paid to write this)
Yes. Laughter is appropriate. I tried my hand at writing free of charge for a small, online football website. I saw some success and even managed to get a small article published in an even smaller newspaper. However the term ‘starving-artist’ quickly became applicable and I found my writing habits better served as a pastime than a living. So four months after an attempt at self-employment, I surrendered to a job doing IT web development work for a university.
I miss my slippers..
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