Have to pay the bills until you sell that script? Taking classes for your next career move and need some extra money? Or have you been laid off and are still looking, but your cash is low and the mortgage is due. You need a survival job.
In Los Angeles survival jobs are common for many people, especially those in the entertainment industry, where they are more affectionately called ‘day jobs.’ The industry joke is that every restaurant waitperson has a script or a headshot in his or her back pocket ready for that big break when a Steven Spielberg is seated at their table.

But survival doesn't only have to mean food service. What is the secret to a good survival job? Here are five tips to help you thrive as you survive.

1. Make as much as possible from doing as little as possible.

Harness your expertise to become a consultant. Work as a waiter, but do so in a high-end restaurant with big tips.

2. Look for a job with flexible hours.

You need flex time to pursue your art, go on interviews or write school papers. 9-to-5 jobs are not good for that. Evening temp jobs such as word processing for legal firms, or working weekends at a call center provide you flexibility.
3. Balance experience with dollars.

Working as an assistant can give you great experience, fabulous contacts and amazing access to decision makers. But it can also be a trap. It’s comfortable; your boss likes you so you stay there two years, five or ten years. But you are not learning anything new, you are not reaching your original goals and you are probably still making peanuts. Cut the tie and go for it!

4. Don't get sucked in.

You have fun at work. Your boss loves you. They offer you a promotion and more hours. Suddenly your survival job is your life. Great as long as that is what you really want. It's sad to give up your dream for a dental plan and set of coworkers you like to drink with after work.

5. Look at both sides of the equation.

Are you working three survival jobs you hate so you can live in a great neighborhood, drive a cool car or eat at fancy restaurants? Take a quiet weekend to re-assess your values – and your budget. Can you cut back your spending so you can cut back your work? Get back to basics!

Author's Bio: 

David Couper is a career coach and writer who for the last twenty years has worked in Europe, Asia, and the USA with thousands of individuals and groups. He has successfully coached men and women wanting to change career or develop new opportunities at all levels - including CEOs of major companies wanting a creative challenge, frustrated souls longing to make their dream come true and front-line employees laid off and desperate to get a job. He specializes in helping people find their unique potential. He loves to transform misfits at work into successful misfits with their dream careers. David has a degree in Communication, a postgraduate qualification in education, is certified in a number of training technologies, and has a Masters in Spiritual Psychology. He is a member of the American Society of Training and Development, Society of Human Resources Professional, Writers Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television. David has published seven books. His works on interpersonal skills, counseling in the workplace, and management issues (published by Connaught, Gower, HRD Press, Longman, Macmillan/Pearson Publishing, Oxford University Press) have been translated into Swedish, Polish, and Danish, and published in the UK and the USA. He has dual US/UK citizenship.

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