Monday, February 22, 2010

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

When did I become stupid?

Most of the women I know with children did not start having them until after 30. This means, that after college, we had almost a full decade in the work force. Give or take a few bum jobs, we probably had at least five years in a career. We earned paychecks, benefits, bonuses, vacation and sick days. So why do people seem to think our brains leaked out of our bodies along with our breast milk?

Case in point – a friend of mine directed me to a news article entitled, Six Ways to Work from Home. They all featured women. They all were directed at stay-at-home mothers, not say, any of the million men or women who are also out of work and may be in need of some income. The smiling news anchor led off by saying, “If you need to make some extra money." Um, excuse me? what is "extra" money? Is there such a thing as too much money? Oh right, I’m a SAHM, I must need money for shoes and purses and pedicures. Not, say, cable or food or bedding.

Option 1 – Virtual Assistant. “All you need is a telephone, a headset, and a computer” – oh, and a mute button for your children. Most children go Pavlovian when the phone rings and instantly turn from quiet angels into rabid, screaming monsters. Sure, they say you can set your own hours, but how much demand is there for the graveyard shift in infomercial marketing? Well, ok, that question answered itself, but can you imagine the type of people you’d get to talk to at 3am? “A great agent can earn between $20 and $30 an hour.” Hmm. Really? It seems both suspicious and full of hidden clauses.

Option 2 – eJuror. And no, I am not making this up. “eJurors review cases and give their judgments.” This process supposedly helps trial lawyers prepare for court. Is this the depth to which our justice department has sunk? Wouldn’t it be easier to just find as similar case on any of the thousands of Law & Order episodes and see how the defendant made out? And how much does getting the completely unbiased viewpoint of the average web surfer cost? $5 to $20 per case. That’s a lot of jurisprudence to wade through just for one pair of Manolos.

Option 3 – Product Tester. You can be “hired for taste tests and local focus groups at taste test facilities, and yes, even in your own home.” A certain consumer marketing company has been calling my house for years – looking for my husband. I am not the key demographic. For anything. Ever. So while my husband has the option of leaving his salaried position for a leisurely afternoon taste-testing flavors of Cheetos, I’m SOL. And how much can you earn for your efforts - $30 to “a few hundred dollars” per survey. What cracks me up is up the shot of envelopes filled with crisp $50 bills. I think I’ll pass on tasting things that fell out of the back of the truck, thanks.

Option 4 – Online Tutor. This gives you the opportunity to “channel your inner teacher.” According to the story, you can set your own hours and earn hundreds of dollars per month. Ok, this one seems relatively legit and appears to require actual, you know, brain power. However, the timing issue comes back into play as most students aren’t productive learners at say 8pm, which is when I would finally be available to work with someone one-on-one without heavy bribery or Goldfish-induced carbohydrate comas.

Option 5 – Direct Marketer. Take your pick of Tastefully Simple, Avon, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, etc., ad nauseum. This news article showed us a “chocolatier” from Dove Chocolates. You too can annoy your friends and empty the wallets of your family by trying to get them to buy mass quantities of stuff no one needs. Do I mock? No, I do not. My mom was an Avon lady. I have been to plenty of these parties, respect all of the women who hosted them, and happily bought stuff to support them. However. The amount of time and effort you have to put in to actually earn real money (as opposed to free stuff) is astronomical. In fact, if you have that much time, energy, and marketing ability, then mayhap you could find a different use for your skills? You know, one that comes with a 401(k) and a benefits package. (Caveat – I would totally host ONE adult toy party.) So, how much does it pay? “A few hundred dollars a week.” What they don’t mention is that you are busting your ass over every penny, and once, again, hiding your children in the closet in order to earn it.

Option 6 – NetWork. Labeled as the “jackpot” of all work at home opportunities, it is, wait for it, a job fair. For the grand entrance fee of $5, you too can hobnob with “hundreds of . . . companies” to reach gainful employment. You too can become a life coach. Or a travel consultant. So, if I tell you to go to hell, am I a travel consultant? Or a life coach? Hard to tell really. You can “find creative ways to . . . find income.” Oh good grief. Pull the other one, it has milk in it.

Where are the CAREER options? I am highly educated. I am smart. I read. I write. I think. I even occasionally speak without pausing between words to try to remember what I was saying. I am not stupid. And one day, a company will come along that will harness the brain power of the stay-at-home mom and it will make a fortune. Until then, I’ll just have to continue earning my pay as a freelance editor. And my friends will continue to work as nurses, physical therapists, photographers, payroll advisors, doctors, pharmaceutical reps, retail managers – all of the things you do when you earn a degree and want a career, but also want time at home. Strangely, none of those things were mentioned in the article.


  1. Shannon-
    You made me laugh in another stressful, long SAHM day. The first job really is legit. At least the co mentioned is. Remind me to tell you what my dream SAHM job is when I see you at school.

  2. LOVE that you found a place to perfectly fit "Manolos" into your blog. For that I read it again...