Odd Jobs

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Published on: July 18, 2011

Welcome to Odd Jobs. Every week, I’ll do something new to try to pay the bills or make ends meet, then blog about it. If I give plasma to earn a few bucks, you’ll read about it here. If I become an insane couponer to save money, you’ll read about it here. And even when I fail miserably, like if I bet $200 on the Cubs to win the World Series, you’ll read about it here.

 

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The Next Odd Job: Writing a Book

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Published on: August 12, 2014

“Hey Jonathan,” you say. “It’s been awhile since your last post.”

“Well, hypothetical person, that’s because I’m done. Week 52 was my final entry. I figure 52 weeks is a full year, so that’s a pretty good place to call it quits.”

“So that’s it?! You’re just leaving Odd Jobs behind? What about all your loyal, loving fans? Both of them will be very disappointed.”

“You mean my mom and dad, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Well I’m not quite done. Now I’m working on Odd Jobs, the book. I’m compiling my favorite entries– all of which I’ve gone back and punched up/rewritten to make as good as possible– along with new entries for gigs I’ve worked but never written about online. The book will also be about my life story over the last few years. It may sound stupid, but Odd Jobs has really changed my life, and I wanted to share that experience. Finally, I’ll have several sections of more practical advice. Things I’ve learned about financial management, saving money, making money and getting work. I truly believe that even if you just read the book for those practical sections, you will make back far more than the book will cost you.”

“Woah, woah, what is this a sales pitch?”

“Actually, yeah it is. I’m keeping up eight of the last twelve entries I wrote for this site, but if you want to see way way more, you should totally buy my book. It will include entries like the time I dressed up in a bikini to deliver a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the time I panhandled as a homeless man, and the time I played in the World Series of Poker Main Event.”

“I feel like we’re not even having a conversation anymore. You’re just in total sales mode.”

“If you wanna be notified when the book finally comes out, sign up for the mailing list below. My goal is to finish by the end of 2014, which realistically probably means it’ll be done in early 2015. Thank you so much to everyone who has read and supported this blog over the years, it really means a lot to me, and I hope you enjoy the book.”

“Okay, now you’re not even talking to me.”

“Wait, who are you?”

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Week 50: Why You Should Never Discount The Aphrodisiac That Is One Direction

Categories: Making Money
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Published on: February 28, 2014

Let me tell you about Denise.

You got your girlfriend flowers for Valentine’s Day? Ha.

You got your boyfriend tickets to a basketball game? Psh.[1]

Denise hired someone to come to her boyfriend’s place at 8:00 AM and serenade him with a rendition of “Kiss You” by the band One Direction.

Now let me tell you about me.

You think it’s bad when you sing? Ha.

You think your high notes crack and your low notes grumble like Jabba the Hutt? Psh.

I am the guy at karaoke who clears the floor. The guy who gets to the mic in front of a room full of people– people who had been dancing and singing along to the act that preceded me– and sings with a voice that sends them flocking to the restrooms, that reminds them to return that text from their friend, that encourages them to just sit silently and wait for the horror to be over.

This is the story about the day Denise hired me to sing to her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.

——

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  1. [1] Or you got flowers for your boyfriend and sports tickets for your girlfriend. I’m open to non-hetero-normative views of relationships! Don’t hate me internet!

Week 48: Why You Should Never Skimp On Dentists

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Published on: December 18, 2013

Denny The Dentist’s office was about what you’d expect from a company with such a classy name. Their door was adorned by a cartoon tooth triumphantly holding a toothbrush and giving a sparkling white smile. It was the kind of picture that was cute and charming until you started thinking about the idea of a tooth with teeth. The poster in the window advertised X-rays, cleaning and a checkup all for the low low price of $57, because apparently they didn’t think anyone would find it disconcerting to get oral care from a dentist who advertises specials like a mattress store run by Crazy Larry.

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Week 47: Why You Should Never Believe Conjoined Twins

Categories: Making Money
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Published on: November 22, 2013

My friend and I stand in the middle of a convention center, the two of us squeezed into one jumbo-sized T-shirt, playing the role of conjoined twins for the amusement of the passersby.

At this point I don’t even find these gigs strange. They are just normal. This is my Friday.

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Week 46: Why You Should Never Settle For Their First Offer

Categories: Living On The Cheap
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Published on: November 15, 2013

How often do we really haggle with someone? Maybe when we buy a car. Or a house. Maybe once every couple years. We’re always told not to settle for the first offer, but man do we do a lot of settling. But this week I decided to start asking. Asking if I could have things for less. Here’s what happened.

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Week 45: Why You Should Never Make Balloon Animals Professionally

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Published on: September 20, 2013

The real victims of the time I learned how to make balloon animals were my roommates. Our apartment overflowed with deformed flowers and guitars that looked like strap-on dildos.[1] The constant nails-on-chalkboard sound of balloons rubbing against each other was only interrupted by the gunshot sound of balloons bursting. The place stank of rubber. But perhaps most annoying was my newfound habit of giving away my practice creations as gifts. Not just to my roommates, but to everyone I could find.
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  1. [1] No, Seriously. Click here.

Week 43: Why You Should Never Be Famous

Categories: Making Money
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Published on: July 19, 2013

You may not believe this, but I’m not famous. I know what you’re thinking: A 27-year-old who spends a rather inordinate amount of his time in pajamas, cranking out blog entries that are primarily read by his friends and family, how is this guy not famous? I know. It’s crazy.

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Week 42: Why You Should Never Discount the Value Of Placebos

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Published on: July 10, 2013

“So what is this?” A mousy woman asks as she peers into our display at a local Whole Foods.

“It’s called Origins,” says Pete, the man training me for my latest odd job. “We sell cold-pressed, organic, non-pasteurized juices.” Cold-pressed means the beverages are formed by applying an extreme amount of pressure to produce, then bottling whatever juice comes out. Organic means we can sample the product at Whole Foods without fear of being stoned by their clientele. And non-pasteurized is another way of saying incredibly expensive. Like $10-a-bottle expensive.

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Week 41: Why You Should Never Go All Out in a Student-Faculty Basketball Game

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Published on: July 3, 2013

Odd Job: Participating in the student-faculty basketball game

Pay: When you consider my hourly rate and how long we were on the court, probably about $12

It was one minute to game time and my heart was racing. My hands shook and my stomach turned. I hadn’t felt this nervous in years. I was moments away from a showdown with the eighth-grade girls basketball team.
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