Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Adding Up the Numbers

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Total Black: $74.09
Total Red: $230,600.32

While talking on the telephone with a friend the other day, I ran some calculations and realized that even if I obtained steady contract attorney work I wouldn’t come close to reaching my goal.  Assuming a sixty hour work-week at forty dollars an hour, that nets me $124,800 after fifty-two weeks—before taxes and expenses.  I’ve only got thirty-six weeks left until 8/9/10.  Those calculations do not make me doubt achieving my goal of being out of debt in a year, but they do get me thinking that I need to step things up a bit on the supplemental front.

Brainstorming a bit, it seems that there are only a few ways to procure money.  Labor, loans/gift, luck and sales.  First, you can get paid in exchange for your labor, which includes both legal and illegal means.  Second, you can get money from another person, either being given the money by loan or gift or, technically speaking, by taking it.  Third, you can get money through luck, i.e., gambling or winning the lottery.  Lastly, you can make money by selling something, either something you have or something you make.  Those seem to be only means of getting money.  I can’t think of any other avenues.  Luck seems to defy control.  As for labor, there’s only so many hours in a day.  And in the Great Recession, if people aren’t hiring, you can’t make money that way.  As for selling, I noted in Out of the Box the different supplemental ways to make money.  One of those is by selling electronics that you no longer use.  I’ve pretty much run out of things to sell, except my body; I suppose that keeps on giving.  I don’t make anything that I can sell.  As for the other category, there’s only so many ways to ask for people’s money.  Buy Me A Beer? and Change to Spare? both spell out the different means that viewers can use to give to me, some through actual donations and some via a percentage of something one planned to purchase anyway.  Short of panhandling on the street, that’s a finite source, I suppose.  As for loans, I panicked again about the tax lien and asked my mother for help.  The money owed to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is now paid off.  I got worried that the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners might not be willing to admit me if I have a tax lien on my credit report.  I am indebted to my mother once again.  And now I owe that money to her instead.  So, I’ve just about tapped that source dry with loans.  Without collateral, banks won’t extend me any—even though that’s one approach that would surely solve many of my problems.  It would solve the problems of many people with high debt: debt consolidation loans.  Banks aren’t willing, however, to trade one unsecured debt, a credit card for example, for another unsecured debt, a personal loan for debt consolidation purposes.  Instead, they want you to swap your unsecured debt for a secured one, backed, for example, by your automobile or your home.  Looks like three out of four are out.

In I Need A New Gig, I mentioned a few odd jobs I found.  I haven’t heard back from the Christmas Tree lot people, but I just sent a follow-up email today.  As for other gigs, I haven’t really found anything suitable.  Of course I’m not referring to McDonald’s or other similar businesses.  Although I’ve spoken about Starbucks as an option, being back on unemployment means I’m back to avoiding low-wage positions because I make more no working, as ludicrous as that is.  Besides that, I’m reluctant to get involved with something part-time without already having a steady position because I don’t want to get trained for a new position only to have to quit when a doc review job materializes.  Some out there might think only of themselves and opt for the “screw ’em” attitude and take a job and then quit a few days later—if that’s how things played out.  But that’s just not how I operate.

Despite living in the (alleged) city that never sleeps (I’ve found many services “asleep” at times when I needed them), I’ve not come across many opportunities for evening / weekend / part-time work.  I’ve given thought quite a few times about adult-themed opportunities.  Nothing that would put my licenses to practice law in jeopardy, but definitely gigs I wouldn’t write home to momma about.  Unfortunately, most of the ads out there want men with six-pack abs or muscular bodies.  That’s not me.  (At least not yet.)  And any others that I’d give a second thought to tend to involve video recording.  Not good for someone with aspirations to become a judge one day.  I did see a gig today to be an extra for a TV show.  I applied for that one.  I also saw a data entry position for a gay porn website.  Presumably they’re up all hours.  (Sorry, couldn’t pass up the pun.)  So I could fit them in anytime.   I also spotted a job as recruiter for CHEST, an HIV educational center, part of CUNY’s Hunter College.  I’d be going around town asking gay / bi men questions.  It’d earn me $13 an hour and I’d only have to go out once a week at a minimum.  Great way to get out of the house, meet new people, and make money for doing it.

For the moment I’m pretty much focused on labor as my means of getting income.  Well, of course, there’s always luck.  Although you may not be able to control it, you can at least count on it.  Anything else that comes through, I’ll be sure to post.

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