“A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do,” especially when it comes to a single mom going through tough financial times. There is practically nothing a mother wouldn’t do to feed her family, and I’ve certainly done my fair share of wacky jobs.
Shortly after I divorced, I found myself struggling to make ends meet. So there I was, 40 years old, with a bachelor’s degree, living in a foreign country (I am a Spaniard living in Argentina), without a full-time job and with two kids in tow.
I worked as an editor for a Canadian company, but that was not enough to cover the bills. So I started to look for a part-time job to supplement my income, and eventually found myself doing the strangest things.
I found an ad online seeking a Spaniard living in Argentina. They required a well-educated person who knew the ins and outs of Latino culture. I jumped at it, since there were no other promising leads. I called the number in Spain and spoke to the director of a company that sold alibis. In other words, they provided cheaters and liars with a strong enough alibi so that they could cover their flings or whatever their client wanted to lie about. So let’s say, he missed a family reunion because of “a sudden mandatory business trip.” For that purpose, the alibi company provided all the documents, air tickets, hotel receipts, and whatever else was needed to fake a business trip, an accident or whatever. And for these alibis, clients were willing to pay a lot of money.
I was hired to be an intermediary between Latino clients in South America and the office in Spain. I secured two clients in two months. But when the third client came around and I tried to reach my boss, the company had vanished. I never heard from them again.
TRAINING JUMPING HORSES
I’ve always loved horseback riding. I had an Arab mare I couldn’t afford to maintain after my divorce, so I had to sell her. But in doing so, I found a new job. I became friends with a riding instructor. He knew I needed the money, so he hired me to train colts that were to become jumping horses. There I was, rain or shine, sweating in the summer and freezing in the winter, standing in the middle of the arena while young horses learned to trot and smooth gallop, all guided by me. It didn’t last long, as the instructor resigned from his position a few months later, but it was a cool job!
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A LIBERAL WORKING FOR THE MILITARY
I am not not exactly a fan of anything related to the military. However, my boss at an advertising agency put me in charge of a military website. There I was, uploading military news and corresponding online with generals and ill-tempered colonels. They always thought I was a military man myself. My boss had created an undercover profile for me to them to interact with them. Apparently they may not have been so eager to deal with a single mom working from home!
PR ON A SHOESTRING
A chic fashion and entertainment magazine hired me as a PR, so I was delighted. They asked me to visit every embassy and cultural institution in the city to promote our upscale publication. Exciting, right? Except they only gave me some flyers, money for a sandwich, and no transportation. There I was, all dressed up as if I was headed to a cocktail party, walking miles and miles on high heels all across Buenos Aires, where public transportation is a nightmare. I resigned after a few weeks. After all, they only paid me $110 a month. That didn’t even cover the cost of my stilettos.
All those wacky jobs are now behind me, as I’m again making a living as a writer. I’m not embarrassed that I did them, because they helped me put food on the table for my kids. I also know I’m not alone. Some of my single mom friends are selling sex toys at home parties; another is a nude model for artists… Even my own mother was the secretary of a German scientist. Now, she couldn’t read or speak German, but the man was delighted with her skills; she could copy secret formulas for him without understanding a single word.
It’s an odd world with plenty of wacky jobs for the taking. And while I’m glad it’s all a thing of the past, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.