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Learn to Earn

Ayn Ruwart

Like most people my age, I'm trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. I've seen my parents sweat over their careers--layoffs and mergers and downsizing--and I know the corporate grind isn't where I want to be. Right now I'm leaning toward medical work--like maybe nursing, maybe a doctor (but I don't know about that--from what I've been reading, there's way too much government interference with docs for someone like me), or maybe a physician's assistant. But whatever I decide to do, I'm planning to have backup work that I can do and make money at.

I'm going to do that mostly by choosing my hobbies and use of spare time now so that I learn skills that I can use in the future. Like, for me, being interested in medicine, it makes sense to learn about herbs, and maybe some other alternative medicine stuff. The way I see it, that will make me a better nurse or doctor or whatever, but if I ever decide the feds are coming down too hard on my major job, I can fall back on the other and earn some money. Knowing herbs and other stuff like that will also help me if I ever decide to drop out or live in a free community, like Galt's Gulch.

Other things that I want to learn will help me be more self-sufficient, and will help me earn money in the future too. Like how to cut hair and do nails and things. People pay lots of money to go to salons, but I'll be able to do it for less. I like to mess around with makeup and stuff, so it makes sense for me to get into that stuff.

I disagree with Mr. Eulenspiegl about not being able to earn money with hobbies. Yeah, some won't work well, like macramé, but a lot of the other things he talks about could be hobbies for people, and could be good fallback work. Welding, sheet metal work, gunsmithing, car repairs, gambling, and even something like macramé, if you have an unusual angle on it, could get you by if your day job doesn't work out. If you're a good cook like my mom is, you could earn money doing that, which is something just about everybody does anyway. What she does is mostly birthday cakes and stuff for other people's bake sales. A really good bet for money-making hobbies is to do stuff that people will want or need in a free market or in a Gulch-type setup. Health-related stuff, gun stuff, and other specialized things that people will need to help them fix things--like being a handyman--are good starters. Doing stuff like that also makes it easy to pocket your cash for the job and go to the next one--no IRS goonies wanting to see your paperwork and reaching into your pocket, no throwing money into the Social Security toilet.

Try different stuff now that you think would be fun, to see if it's something you're good at. Or think about the things you're already interested in--maybe there's a way to turn that into a money-maker for you. Like I said, my plans are to study herbs and medicine, but there's no reason why you can't start to make money with the stuff that you like now. What have you got to lose? Just because it hasn't been done yet doesn't mean it can't be done.

(c) 2001


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