Jobs Are Created, Not Found

If you are a recent college grad, you’ve probably discovered that the various humanities degrees you’ve been working on for the past 6 years aren’t amounting to much when it comes to finding a job in a depressed job market.

Throughout most of history, the purpose of higher education was to prepare people for academically demanding private sector work where on the job training was hard to come by.  People who wanted to have a career in engineering, finance, and medicine obtained degrees, as well as those who wanted to teach professionally.  For previous generations of workers, the vast majority of jobs provided on the job training with no need for a college degree.  This idea that a college degree leads to a good paying job is very very new in historical terms.

State financing of higher education basically amounts to a business subsidy.  By creating a situation where everyone is expected to pay for their own training, the state took the burden of educating people off the backs of the businesses who previously had to train up their own employees.

I would argue that the present higher education system is unsustainable and will collapse when state financing falters from the massive debt burden the nation is incurring.  Further, since a huge number of the high paying “college required” jobs are government jobs, the market for people with humanities degrees is going to be even slimmer than it is now.

That said, I want to go over some possible jobs that don’t require a college degree, nor do they require any kind of job hunting.  Here are my top 5 picks for out of work college grads who are having trouble finding a job.

5.  Hot Dog Vendor (or other cart vended products)

The out of pocket costs range from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the type of cart you buy.  As long as you live in a state that hasn’t regulated cart vendors out of existence, you can make a decent living by simply operating a vending cart.  This business also has the ancillary benefit of being an all cash operation for tax purposes.

4.  Vending Machine Operator

The out of pocket costs for establishing a vending operation are based on the number of machines and various products you are vending.  A single machine ranges from $500 to $5,000 dollars.  The vending industry is a $42 billion dollar a year operation with $115 million flowing through machines each day.  This business also has the ancillary benefit of being an all cash operation.

3.  Game or Novelty Design and Sales

If you are a creative type, coming up with a fun and innovative game or novelty is one way to make some money.  For example, you could create a “Battleshots” game that turns the classic board game Battleship into a drinking game.  Then contract the production of the game out to a facility in China to have them produce the game pieces and shot glasses.  From there, you could either sell the games on a website and drop ship them to customers or try and broker deals with brick and mortar retailers.  Obviously this same method can be used for any physical good.  Timothy Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week, made his millions by selling vitamin supplements targeted specifically to body builders.  He contracted a lab to come up with vitamin formulas and then had a producer create the pills while he managed the sales and shipping of his creation.  He placed small ads in body building magazines, and his products took off from there.  The start up costs for this kind of operation are variable, but you will probably be surprised just how little money it takes to get started.  Small business loans are also an option to finance this kind of operation.

2.  Animal Grooming

As of this writing, individual states have not yet regulated the animal grooming business out of existence.  You are free to groom pets with only a pair of sheers and a business license.  However, California has recently proposed a bill that would force people to obtain licenses and incur massive overhead expenses in order to start up a grooming business.  You don’t even need a business establishment to run this kind of business.  You can simply get a car and load it up with grooming supplies, then drive to your clients’ houses.

1.  Indoor Grower

If you happen to live in a state where marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes, growing is a good way to make some easy money.  The downsides for this are that it will require a physical place to produce the goods and you run the risk of incurring the wrath of Obama’s rather brutal DEA.

Alternatively, one could also grow high value herbs and flowers that have a niche market.  Cilantro, arugula, chives, dill and tomatoes have a very high value per square foot of growing space.  If you can produce a consistently high quality product, you’ll be able to sell out of season herbs/vegetables at farmers markets or to local fine dining restaurants.  Assuming a return of $15 per square foot for legal herbs and an operating cost of $10 per square foot for growing space, 1,600 square feet of usable growing space will generate $4,000  in profits per month if you crop out every 8 weeks.  Finding cheap warehouse space is key to a large profit margin.  Vertical growing systems will increase yields per square foot.

While the start up costs for an indoor grow operation aren’t very high, the opportunity costs can be.  It can take many months for a crop to grow, during which time you will have no income cash flow.  Farming in the U.S. is rather inefficient due to the massive state subsidies that prop up corporate food producers.  Small local farms will stand to profit handsomely from a currency crisis.

The purpose of this list isn’t to be definitive, but rather to provide some ideas that demonstrate how easy it is to create a job rather than find one.  Job creation is not something governments do; it’s something people who want to serve others do.

  • Exemplary column as usual Mr. Suede. Your right on so many things. I would be wary of No. one; indoor grow of ‘legal’ marijuana. On that subject a great Indie film produced by Rick Ray and available for rent on iTunes is ‘Lynching Charlie Lynch’. 
    In 2006, Charlie got all his ducks in a row and still got shot by the Feds in Morro Bay, California. Mr. Lynch is another victim of the war of the American government on her own citizens and Mr. Rays documentary is a gut punch to all the intellectual ivory tower zombies with their fingers in their ears.

  • So true. Once certain jobs become part of the landscape, some people can come to see them as “natural resources” without thinking of what goes into their creation and maintenance.