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Businesses The Almighty Buck IT

What Do People in the IT Field Do for Side Jobs? 1405

Flagg0204 asks: "Growing up in a primarily white collar household I wasn't exposed to 'side-jobs' until I met my girlfriend whose family was mostly blue collar. This got me to thinking. What do people in the IT field do for side jobs? Electricians, plumbers, HVAC, mechanic, these fields have many opportunities for a little extra cash on the side. What are some IT/IS side jobs that Slashdot readers do for extra money?"
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What Do People in the IT Field Do for Side Jobs?

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  • by iclod ( 831412 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:59PM (#10946625) Homepage
    it depends what kind of IT skills you have.

    i am working for few online games like iclod [] and xmoo [], they generate a bit of incomes and open up opportunities for other jobs.

    the advantage is i don't need to be there physically to carry out works, but with that advantage, i also get the disadvantage of having thousand of similarly skilled people fighting for the same work.

    i believe hardware-IT may have more opportunities. just post an ads on local newspaper to "Fix Your Computer Problems At Home" and there bound to be some elderly people who would rather get a local service from a local person at home.
    • by pixel.jonah ( 182967 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#10946645)
      ...turn on a computer.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:04PM (#10946712)
        ...So make sure it's not turned off, then you're set!
      • by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:22PM (#10947055) Homepage Journal
        Maybe you shouldn't be in the IT industry then. When you have a passion for something you tend to enjoy doing it when ever the opportunity is available. I cannot imagine an artist saying I cannot wait to quit painting or drawing...

        Just my 2 cents.
        • Having a passion for something, and wanting to work on other people's broken shit is hardly the same thing. It's about moderation. All of the computer stuff I do at home is for myself, or for my cycling team (no charge). For example, setting up mailing lists for them, with mimedefang and spamassassin protection (helps them and myself, since it is my own server).

          But like the poster above, the last thing I want to do when I get home from working with computers all day is to touch another computer, even if it is something really cool. Every now and then I'll get hit with inspiration, and that is when I add cool new features to the cycling team database, or to my mail server, or my home jukebox, or whatever. The nice thing about it is that I can do it on MY TERMS. I refuse to do 'tech support' type work, however; even for family members. I didn't STOP using windows years ago just so that I could fix OTHER PEOPLE's problems with that PITA inflexible pile of crap.

        • by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:51PM (#10948140) Journal

          Maybe he should. When I get home, I know that I loathe opening up a programming environment. I've thought about some various side projects and stuff, but I never follow through on them. The reason is that I get paid to program. I think it's fun, but I don't find recreation in it.

          I also have quite a bit of IT knowledge: fixing up computers, abolishing ad-ware, fixing user accounts, training, getting things to "work..." I hate it when my aunt says to me, "Mike, I've got a problem with my computer. My scanner..." First off, I dislike the headache I get when trying to fix things, when I could be doing something fun (i.e. playing pool). Second, I hate that I feel an obligation to work because she's my aunt.

          A good side job is what I had a couple of years ago. I was a barista in a coffee shop. I could relax, talk to the customers, shoot the breeze with my co-workers, and generally not think about computers at all. I came home tired, but happy. I was refreshed in the morning as well.

        • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:56PM (#10948183) Homepage
          Renée Magritte (of "This in not a pipe" fame) went to his studio every morning after breakfast, then came home at the same time every day for dinner with the family, effectively treating the art as his dayjob.

          Just because someone really likes doing something - even if they are passionate about it - people may well want to not do it all the time. Most scientists do not actually spend all their waking hours thinking about their work, most mucisians aren't always playing or thinking about music.

          Most people, passionate or not, do want a life.

          • by Archimonde ( 668883 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @03:55AM (#10950734) Homepage
            In my Sociology 101 book I found some interesting facts.

            When they are at home, blue collar workers don't do anything. They usually watch TV and do small tasks. Thats because their work is so physically hard that they are exhausted when they arrive at home.

            White collar workers when at home usually do some hobby unrelated to their actual work. They do some sport or any other hobby.

            Managers (or the upper class) usually do the same job when they come home. In a way they do the same job the whole day. That is because their work is not physically demanding so they can work the whole day.
      • Why is this insightful? I doubt the last thing a plumber wants to do when he gets home is unclog his sister's toilet, nor does the mechanic want to talk to his neighbor about that tapping sound his car started making. People generally take side jobs because they need the money. I don't really want to clean megs of spyware off a family members' computer, but if they want to slip me some cash I'll be right over.
        • by Wansu ( 846 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:31PM (#10947182)

          I don't really want to clean megs of spyware off a family members' computer, but if they want to slip me some cash I'll be right over.

          Trouble is, many family members do not want to pay you to clean megs of spyware off their computer and straighten out lord knows what goofy symptoms it has. They want you to do it for free.
          • by dewke ( 44893 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:20PM (#10947802)
            Trouble is, many family members do not want to pay you to clean megs of spyware off their computer and straighten out lord knows what goofy symptoms it has. They want you to do it for free.

            Ahh the joys of family. Does your mom charge you for Thanksgiving dinner? No, of course not. So we all get to "fix" our families pc's for free because it's what we do.
          • by ghjm ( 8918 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:14PM (#10948333) Homepage
            Just like if your brother's a plumber and you have a clogged toilet.

            Why should your family pay you to do what you can do? They already did what they could for you, or you wouldn't be here.

            Friends and acquaintances are a different story. However, the story's not much different whether a plumber or a computer guy tells it.

            • Welll...would you expect your brother to charge you if you kept throwing, say, Depends down your toilet and expected him to keep fixing it for free, despite the fact that he has repeatedly told you not to throw your goddamn incontinent diapers down the toilet? Especially since after you flushed the Depends down the toilet, you decided to flush a box of tampons and a couple of rolls of toilet paper too to see if that would clear it up?

              That's what fixing my families' computers feels like anymore - they don't update their virus protection, they open anything that they get in their email, they don't plug their computers into surge protectors, and then they wonder why we dread their phone calls. Every time we make the drive to their house (nine hours away if the weather is good and my toddler is very cooperative, thirteen if the above conditions are not met), we end up working on their computers. We have friends down there that they could call that would gladly come work on their computers at the first sign of trouble for the price of a home-cooked meal, but they try to fix it themselves, hose it up even more (like doing a parallel install of an older version of Windows 98 just because someone gave them the disk, then not understanding why all their apps cease to work) and then wait until we travel home for a visit to tell us their computer isn't working, but fail to mention things like the parallel install or the lightning striking their house after they decided to put the surge protector on their washing machine instead of leaving it on the computer. They also fail to mention that it's not working before we start the drive down so that we can pack parts from the graveyard, so it ends up either costing us money to buy them parts or they complain about the cost of computer parts when we make them buy the replacements.

              My attitude toward the whole thing would probably be helped if my mother didn't keep telling me how much she hates the computer I gave her for Christmas last year. All the hardware was failing on her old computer, so I gave her and her partner both refurbished computers for Christmas. All I hear is how much she hates the damned thing.

              If I treated my plumber like that, he would never come to my house again, no matter how much I paid him.

              OK, I can end my rant now. I would probably be calmer about it except that we just got back from a trip there - we were working on their computers until a half hour before we left to drive back.
          • by bluGill ( 862 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @09:12PM (#10948783)

            Perhaps, but in return for fixing my Uncle's computer he gave me a $3000 iron filter for my water. (it was broke, but he had the parts to fix it)

            Its the family joke, Christmas at his house to fix the computer, Thanksgiving at ours to fix the water. Easter, birthday parties, graduation, and other family get togethers you count on either a water softener being rebuilt, or a computer being cleaned up.

          • What I do... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by phreakmonkey ( 548714 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:24AM (#10949894) Homepage
            ... when a friend or relative wants me to do some "above and beyond" computer repair:

            I require them to make a $25 donation to the Electronic Frontier Foundation []. They can use the receipt in email as proof.

            That way they don't feel like I'm just trying to make a buck off them, and I feel more inspired to actually do a decent job of solving their problem. Plus it help out a good cause.

            Mind you- I don't consider some basic stuff as "above and beyond".. Eg: configuring outlook for someones IMAP server &etc. Cleaning off adware / viruses definitely warrants a donation- and a short lesson in "what not do to on the Internet."

          • by mjweyland ( 741246 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:46AM (#10949990)
            I have my father convinced PEBKAC is a legitmate computer virus.

            Him: "Uh, you wanna come over and take a look at my PC."
            Me: "Why? Whats Up?"
            Him: "I think I have another PEBKAC on my PC again."
            Me: "Were you looking at email from people you didnt know and opening attachments?"
            Him: "I can't remember. Just come over and take a look"
            Me: "Sounds like a PEBKAC issue."
            Him: "That is what I'm thinking too."
        • So, a few weeks ago my wife asked me if I could clean up the computer of one of the other Girl Scout den-mothers. After listening to the job description, I said, "Let me get this right. You're asking me to go to the home of a 27-year-old divorcee who wants me to look at a computer full of porn while her kids aren't home. No problem!"
          • by buysse ( 5473 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:32PM (#10947959) Homepage
            After that reply, did you still get to go?
          • Porn cleaner ... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by crimethinker ( 721591 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:07PM (#10948286)
            From a different angle:

            My daughter's sunday school teacher is a single mom with teenage boys. She doesn't have a lot of money, but a family member gave her a new computer last Christmas, and the phone company is selling DSL for only a few bucks more than AOHell. Knowing she can't afford to pay anyone to set it up, I agree to help her set it up, no charge.

            A few months later, she's having trouble - can't log in to some site to sign up for a credit-card processing account so she can accept CC for her Mary Kay side business, and she asks for help. I go over one night after work, and one of her boys is doing his homework at the kitchen table, PC in the living room.

            She shows me the error, and I immediately point out that CyberSitter or some similar censorware is blocking the site. "Yes, I installed that to help keep the porn off the computer." I pull up the logs, and it's FULL of porn sites being blocked at times when she was at work. He tried to blame it on spam and spyware, and I was non-committal, just wanted to get the thing working for her, but I think she had a little talk with him after I left.

            Can you say "uncomfortable?"

            P.S. Still can't figure out why cybershitter blocks a credit card merchant site, but I just told her to disable the software when she logged in to do CC stuff.


            • by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:20PM (#10948375) Homepage
              P.S. Still can't figure out why cybershitter blocks a credit card merchant site, but I just told her to disable the software when she logged in to do CC stuff.

              If the particular CC company is used by porn sites to process payments, that might just be the reason!

            • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:22AM (#10950427) Homepage Journal
              I try to make sure the family is as bored as possible watching me clean up with Spybot. Hopefully, they lose interest and wander off before it starts listing the deleted cookies like C:\Documents and settings\14-year-old-kids-name\cookies\xxx.sexxxtr

              I don't want to be in a position to have to "pass judgement" on them, nor do I want to narc on the kids. I figure that if they're having me clean up porn popups, then they've already figured out that "someone" has been visiting naughty sites. It's their job to deal with their kids, not mine.

              As for me, I don't care for blocking software, and I don't have it in my house. I think parents need to be parental, rather than hope for some automated solution. Besides, I think most kids are smart enough that they view blocking software as a sign that "dad doesn't trust them." If you're running blocking software, then guess what? They're right.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:10PM (#10948309) Homepage
          I don't really want to clean megs of spyware off a family members' computer, but if they want to slip me some cash I'll be right over.

          take a tip from Billy Gates.

          nobody get's something for free. bill charged his family and that is how he started microsoft.

          Aunt Meggie can either give you $50 bucks or she can give the computer super center $120.00 to fix her computer.

          It works great, and the first time they get real prices to have a computer repaired and it returned to them with everything erased they will gladly feed you, give you a beer and 50 bones in cash.

          I stopped giving away my weekends and weeknights to relatives and friends years ago. give them a deep discount like my example, but do NOT give it away free.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:11PM (#10946855)
      On the side, I volunteer my time to the human-rights movement []. I do not earn cash, but I earn "good feelings" because I know that what I am doing is right. Recently, during a seminar about Taiwan, I fought for the Tibetans by demanding that the speaker (who is an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan) explain why Taiwan continues to insist that Tibet is part of "One China".

      The speaker was, for the first time in his pathetic life, speechless. No one had ever challenged him on the issue of Tibet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:59PM (#10946627)
    read slashdot.
  • by physicsphairy ( 720718 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @05:59PM (#10946629) Homepage
    Punch the monkey!
  • Gameses! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#10946632) Homepage
    I write games. []

    I learn fun new stuff, I get to take things at my own pace, I get fun email from other people, and I make enough to cover my car payment. Best of all, it feeds my megalomania.

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#10946635)
    Isn't it obvious?

    The moment they know you're in I.T. everyone in your family, and all your mother's friends, want you to fix their PCs.

    • by 2MuchC0ffeeMan ( 201987 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:04PM (#10946706) Homepage
      If we could only charge our grandmothers for every time we fixed their cord not being plugged in...
    • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:06PM (#10946747)
      Well, I do fix PCs for friends and family, of course, but they have to feed me.

      One evening, after fixing a computer, my friends were taking me to restaurant and we passed a homeless man with a "Will work for food" sign . . .

      He shoulda been an underemployed software guy.
    • Re:Isn't it obvious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nolife ( 233813 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:17PM (#10946960) Homepage Journal
      The moment they know you're in I.T. everyone in your family, and all your mother's friends, want you to fix their PCs

      I had to give up my family and friend side job of building them computers. I now reference them to the small business section of (much better deals then the regular home section) and for references to Dell SB deals. I've had enough of giving out lifetime free tech support. I traveled to my home town for Thanksgiving and spent about 10 hours of my long weekend fixing computers for friends and family. Sure, I will still help them with spyware and such but I am now the second phone call after Dell for those I've pointed in that direction and not the first. Sorry for the diehard white box builders but I had to get out. Not worth it to me.
    • by DrCode ( 95839 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:29PM (#10947929)
      Easy solution: "Fix" their problems by wiping off Windows and installing Linux.

      Then they'll either be happy with the stability, or so annoyed that they'll never bother you again.
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#10946636) Homepage
    In my experience, the nature of IT work tends to rule out being able to hold down a side job. The biggest obstacle is the fact that almost all IT work (or salaried work in general, really) tends to have at least one or two "crunch times" per year where you have to work weird hours.

    Aside from that, I've noticed that the lion's share of part-time skilled labor still takes place between 9 and 5. There are plenty of 10-15 hour a week IT jobs, but very few where you're not on regular work hours. Even if you find one, any bit of success tends to pull the work towards business hours -- I briefly had a side gig as a trainer at night, but that quickly devolved into "can you do this during the day?" once companies started demanding our services.

    As a consequence, you are forced to look for jobs which are both off-hours and feature very flexible schedules. This tends to translate into low skill and thus low paying. I don't mean to sound elitist here, but when you're making good money at a regular job I think you'll find that it's just not worth surrendering your free time for what you can bring in working at Starbucks. Remember: just because you're not paid when you're not at work doesn't mean that time is worthless.

    If you're not making enough money, it might be a better use of your time to continue your education. Many universities cater to people who work a 9-5, and a lot of employers will help pay for you to go. The payoff isn't as immediate, but in many situations it's a far better plan overall.

    • by RealAlaskan ( 576404 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:07PM (#10946755) Homepage Journal
      ... you are forced to look for jobs which are both off-hours and feature very flexible schedules.

      Many universities cater to people who work a 9-5 ...

      I hope that you see the obvious side job for the white collar worker: teach an evening course at the local community college. Of course, you'll be making less per hour than the janitor, but it is white collar.

    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:15PM (#10946923) Homepage Journal
      n my experience, the nature of IT work tends to rule out being able to hold down a side job. The biggest obstacle is the fact that almost all IT work (or salaried work in general, really) tends to have at least one or two "crunch times" per year where you have to work weird hours.

      I think this is spot on. A lot of IT jobs are salaried, and there is a huge difference between hourly wages and salary. Waged employment usually has a very fixed set of hours you are expected to work, and any work outside of that is overtime and more expensive for the employer, so it's discouraged. You are being paid for a fixed set of hours, so time outside that is your own, allowing for work on the side. On the other hand salaried work is essentially paying you to "get the job done" regardless of hours. They're paying you up front for as much of your time as it takes. Side jobs just don't come into it.

      Having worked both waged (as a baker) and salaried (as a research mathematician) jobs, that's exactly how it generally worked for me. Both have their advantages, and side jobs is simply one of the advantages of waged employment.

    • writing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rsilverman ( 266807 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:34PM (#10947223)
      One side job that doesn't have the problem of clashing with office hours is writing. Over the past few years, I have co-authored two O'Reilly books: "SSH, The Secure Shell (The Definitive Guide)" and "The Linux Security Cookbook." In addition to a substantial second income, I have had several follow-on writing and consulting opportunities (white papers, articles, etc.). Of course, there's the question of whether you want to spend even more time sitting in front of a computer in your off hours...
  • by skrysakj ( 32108 ) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#10946643) Homepage Journal
    I sometimes to photography or video work, which as time goes on, has a lot more to do with technology than ever before.

    I got into engineering because I liked building things. (Additional joy comes from seeing people use what I build). So, you're not so far off when you guess that HVAC, electrical, and plumbing work may be a good side job option. I've known some guys that do car stereo installations, or home alarm system installations as side jobs.

    Another side job related to IT work is typing. Sometimes you can find a simple temp job that requires you to type in data. Because programmers are generally fast at typing, it's an easy fit.
  • Nothing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fraize ( 44301 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#10946648) Homepage Journal
    Because the company I work for owns everything I think and do, according to my employment agreement. Nothing is considered "side-work."
    • Re:Nothing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:05PM (#10947627) Homepage Journal
      Because the company I work for owns everything I think and do, according to my employment agreement. Nothing is considered "side-work."

      I've had similar contracts presented to me as conditions of employment. My first name begins with a "W", as does the word "Won't". On the signature line I write "Won't Agree", When people see that big cursive "W", they don't check to see what the rest of the line says.

      I've never needed to take advantage of this practice, but I like having the option.

  • Removing spyware (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrentRJones ( 68067 ) <slashdotme&brentjones,org> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#10946653) Homepage Journal
    and spam from people in the neighborhood.
  • IT Consulting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ckulpa ( 611178 ) <craig.kulpa@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#10946661) Journal
    I have started my own IT consulting business for home PC users. I advertise locally in the neighbor hood and work nights and weekends.
  • Gigalo (Score:5, Funny)

    by samuel4242 ( 630369 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#10946662)
    Women swoon when I talk to them about high-speed computing, VOIP, and the inherent tension between creator and consumer in the post-copyright world. It's a tough gig, but I'm happy if I can fall asleep knowing that I brought a smile to just one face.
  • by csoto ( 220540 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#10946666)
    Cybersquatting and phishing scams? Not much!
  • What do I do? POKER! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Azzaron ( 562255 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:02PM (#10946682)
    I find that the logical thought process needed for my IT job was exactly the kind of skill that a poker player needs as a base. I've been playing poker online for a year now and have done fairly well.

    I find that it's a very fun, and profitable, hobby to have on the side. I'm playing enough now that I do consider it a side job... in fact, I make a better hourly wage than at my real job! The best part about it is, I can play whenever I have a spare hour or two... I don't have to schedule it in.

    I've started getting all of my other friends in IT hooked on it as well :)

    • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:11PM (#10946852) Homepage
      There are only so many suckers, don't go telling people who are likely to be good at poker where our suckers are! You're giving away our money man!

      Erm, I mean, this is a horrible idea, all of the IT people I know lose lots and lots of money playing poker online.
  • Personally.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chipster ( 661352 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:03PM (#10946693)
    ...I do IT-related side work :-)

    However, I have some friends in the IT field that do general contracting (home additions, decks, drywalling, home improvements, etc.). It's apparently lucrative. One friend mentioned he loves it since he's not stuck behind a desk, and he can keep his craftsmanship skills honed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:03PM (#10946694)
    If you're already doing contract work its not really a stretch from your existing skill set.
  • Blacksmith (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kennric ( 22093 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:03PM (#10946697) Homepage

    Throughout my years as a Unix admin, I have been a working blacksmith and woodworker in exotic woods. Recently I have branched into selling BDSM gear and sex toys, but that's beside the point.

    I suspect many IT workers have a more artistic/creative outlet, whether it earns them any money or not. Its amazing how theraputic hammering hot metal is after a day dealing with computers and their users.

  • Production (Score:3, Interesting)

    by claudius0425 ( 679268 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:04PM (#10946708)
    Well, I am not sure it counts as a side job, as I don't have a job in the first place, but when I am not toiling at either school or theatre, I do lighting work for a local production company (owned and operated by some old friends). Being production work, it is very gig-oriented, but by the same token it is well suited to side work, as there are no long term commitments involved.

    So, yeah, sound and lighting design and operation for small/medium productions.
  • by syntap ( 242090 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:04PM (#10946714)
    I spend my spare time writing open source software.
  • Reading Is Life (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sehlat ( 180760 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:06PM (#10946744)
    I proofread books, both treeware and e-books for three different publishers, including doing scan-and-proof of old books for electronic republication. It's a great way to relax and put my computer skills to use without having to dive into the details of the bits-and-bytes after hours.
    • Re:Reading Is Life (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mellerbeck ( 695715 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:25PM (#10947086)
      How do you get hired to proofread? I love to read and am pretty sure that I can catch a lot of errors. Do they send you a test manuscript to see how many errors you can detect? Thanks for indulging my curiosity.
      • Re:Reading Is Life (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SamHill ( 9044 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:52PM (#10948633)

        How do you get hired to proofread? I love to read and am pretty sure that I can catch a lot of errors.

        Ooh, careful.... I offered to proofread a book and actually got hired to edit it (and another book by the same author). I am now hypersensitive to errors in books and magazines, not to mention all the other printer matter you run into on a day to day basis.

        ObTopic: I actually volunteered after the author asked on a TeX-related mailing list I was on. I have no idea how else you'd get hired -- maybe try your local college or university, where there's lots of writing going on.

        Once it's on, it might be hard to shut off, and it's amazing how many mistakes there are out there... seeing them all can really suck.

  • by slpalmer ( 6337 ) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <remlapls>> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:06PM (#10946746)
    I deliver pizza as a side job. Only a couple nights per week, and a few hours per night. Get $$$, and find loads of WiFi hotspots.
  • work in a bike shop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kaan ( 88626 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:07PM (#10946760)
    I have a full-time software development job during normal working hours, but I work part-time in a bike shop (usually only on the weekends or holidays).

    Most of the time, I do minor repairs and assembly on new bikes, also safety checks for test rides. Sometimes I help customers on the sales floor. Either way, it's totally rewarding, and gives me a huge sense of satisfaction (unlike spending time at the office writing email, sitting in meetings, writing reports, etc.). Also, it's really nice to be around people who are relaxed and not on some big fscking power-trip while trying to climb the corporate ladder.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:07PM (#10946765)
    I'm a wh0re.

    opps, no, wait a minute. Thats my IT job :|
  • side jobs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by burnunit0 ( 630935 ) <> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:07PM (#10946766) Homepage
    I preach for money. (many churches look to seminary students or former seminary student to do fill in preaching - they call it pulpit supply - when a pastor is on vacation) I've been tempted to put together a business card with that side job on it, "Serving God and mammon since 1997." Also, I work in a children's home. The overnight shift at the home allows me to work online during downtime. And then sometimes I do the freelance gig too. Who doesn't?
  • Gray Market (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jaden42 ( 466735 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:07PM (#10946768)
    The gray market for services has grown consistently since I moved out to the bay area. Since the dot-com flame-out and the massive spending binges have ended, it's easier to hire someone for some quick "consulting" work than to employee people full time. A lot of people I know do on-the-side consulting for a few dollars here and there. Mostly IT stuff: companies small enough to not be able to pay someone full time but big enough to need someone to call on when they are in trouble. Lots of "checking the CEO's laptop" type jobs.

    You have to be careful with this kind of work, though. As the name implies, the gray market is somewhere between the black market (totally illegal) and the normal market (regulated by industry and government). Some companies will 1099 you and report what they paid you, some companies won't. It is illegal, AFAIK, to receive money for work and not report it as income.

    The money can be good, but if you are unlucky enough to be caught, the back taxes can be quite expensive.

  • by robbo ( 4388 ) <> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:08PM (#10946785)
    I hire blue-collars for odd-jobs, pay them cash and then call the IRS. ;-)

  • Private Investigator (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krbuck ( 6961 ) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:08PM (#10946787)
    By day I work for IBM as an engineer. By night, I'm an investigator for my wife's private investigations company [] . I get to help spy on cheating wives and husbands, catch people in insurance fraud and other such things. Probably the part I enjoy the most is when I get to make use of new electronic tools like covert GPS tracking devices etc... What I dislike are the long nights surveiling some cheating spouse or watching someone to see if they are poor parents in custody cases. Of course I also take care of the company computers (mostly Macs believe it or not).
  • Moonshine (Score:5, Funny)

    by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:10PM (#10946822) Journal
    Just do what schoool board members in Tennessee do... make moonshine []. Remember to avoid the tax-man, though...
  • Off-Hours Plumbing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gseidman ( 97 ) <> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:10PM (#10946828)
    I wouldn't normally think of this, but I was just at my parents' house for Thanksgiving and one of their pipes sprung a leak, resulting in a puddle in the basement. (It's lucky I was there, actually, since my parents don't go to the basement with any regularity. The guest room is in the basement, however, and I noticed the puddle before it became a flood.) They tried to find a plumber the day after Thanksgiving, and all they could find was someone who wanted $240/hour for emergency service. Fortunately, I was able to patch it temporarily with some rubber and a hose clamp.

    It got me thinking, though, that I could do cut-rate (only $150/hour!) emergency plumbing and significantly improve my income. I wouldn't even have to be that good, just good enough to patch things until a real plumber was available for reasonable rates. Mostly idle thinking, but...
  • by Shant3030 ( 414048 ) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:12PM (#10946871)
    Is by not spending any...

    A penny saved, is a penny earned!
  • Free Software (Score:4, Informative)

    by GrouchoMarx ( 153170 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:21PM (#10947021) Homepage
    That's how a lot of Free Software gets written. Go home, code up something useful, stick it on SourceForge, put it on your resume. You get a line on your resume, the world gets (hopefully) good code. Or help out on some existing project as a bug fixer, documentation person, fringe features (or mainline features if you're that good), etc.

    Just because you don't get an immediate paycheck for it doesn't mean it's not worthwhile.
  • One word: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kissing Crimson ( 197314 ) <jonesy&crimsonshade,com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:22PM (#10947050) Homepage


    (in case my boss is watching, I'm j/k)
    (if he's not, contact me for more info.)
  • Teaching (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eric76 ( 679787 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:25PM (#10947087)
    I've taught math and computer science part time at two different universities.
  • Room Service (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trickster5378 ( 835600 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:39PM (#10947300)
    While it's obvious the original poster seemed more interested in IT-only side jobs, I think non-IT side jobs are worth a mention. I worked in room service in Las Vegas for a few years after college to help pay off my IT schooling. I finished paying it off just this last September so I promptly gave my two weeks notice.

    Though honestly I do really miss it at times. My job is computers, my hobby is computers, it was nice to make some cash and spend my time on something other than sitting in front of a computer.

    And up until my most recent IT job, I was making far more money doing room service.
  • by Draoi ( 99421 ) * <> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:40PM (#10947305)
    ... I teach reading and writing to adults in my spare time. Of course, I don't get paid for it but some things can't be bought. It's my thanks for having had the chance at an education where my own parents didn't.

    For money - well, I'm involved in web hosting. Building sites doesn't pay any more - not for me anyway - so I just do the hosting side. The money isn't great, but it's fun.

    I also buy and sell stuff at garage sales. Hey, don't laugh! There's money to be made there if you know what you're doing ...

  • Rock Star (Score:4, Interesting)

    by saddino ( 183491 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:42PM (#10947321)
    Or more accurately, guitar player in a local band [] selling CDs on the web and online stores like iTunes []. And of course not for money, but certainly for the potential of "making it" (and thus making money). But given how long we've been at it such a reality is looking increasingly unrealistic. Though we did make some decent $ a couple of years ago when we were touring.

    Like most indie bands of our ilk and time period we just wanted to be as "famous" as Pavement [] and as long-lived as Superchunk [].
  • Bartender (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grioghar ( 228683 ) <> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:47PM (#10947383) Homepage
    IT Sales and Apple Certified 10AM-7PM, 9PM-2to3AM - Bartender at the major music venue here in town. Best of both worlds.
  • Habitat for Humanity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sergeant Beavis ( 558225 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:56PM (#10947517) Homepage
    I don't really have a side job. Instead, I go out and help build houses for Habitat for Humanity. I'm a computer nerd by trade but I'm a carpenter by heart. I love to build things and building for those who otherwise would never own a home is very rewarding. I also do the occasional church raising out in the rural areas.

  • by ellem ( 147712 ) * <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:14PM (#10948332) Homepage Journal

    Neighbor: I want to buy a new computer!
    Me: Buy a Mac.
    Neighbor: But...
    Me: If you buy a Windows based PC you get one FREE call then I charge you 125USD/hr like I do all my clients. But if you buy a Mac you can call me anytime.
    Neighbor: Well I saw this Dell.
    Me: CHING! You owe me 125USD starting... now.
  • by neowinx ( 156973 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:35PM (#10948506)
    Alright alright, I fess up. As a side job I subscribe to various pr0n and spam lists.
  • IT _is_ blue collar (Score:4, Informative)

    by kahei ( 466208 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @09:06PM (#10948734) Homepage

    Get used to it.

  • by danwiz ( 538108 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @09:28PM (#10948895)

    I'm a contract Java programmer and work is spotty right now. I occasionally do volunteer work for non-profits, but they usually call me at odd hours and expect me to perform miracles on a shoe-string budget. Right now I'm helping my senior neighbors install and use their new PC. I'm moving at the end of the month and they bought a new machine and a store service contract (at my recommendation). They're paying me in free meals and beer.

    I fixed a (non geek) friend's girlfriend's PC and she's asked me to help a few of her friends. I make it a point when I install things like Firefox to emphasize that I "customize it" with special features, so she when she bragged to her friends about her experience there was only one place to go to - ME. Another advantage is that if you're dating someone and she doesn't work out, either she won't bother you for tech support any more or she'll go out of her way to ensure that you remain good friends.

    The best "side-job" I've found ... learning. Keeping my skills current and playing with the parts of my skillset that I like. It may not directly bring in a paycheck, but it can enhance your marketability and make you more effective/efficient at your current position.

    I know some a creative mechanic who drives a "tweaked" car, an electrician with a fantastic christmas display, a chef who likes to throw dinner parties to show off, and a few carpenters with some really nice home interiors. If you're not happy using your skills outside of work, then you're probably not totally happy with your career. To me, that's difference between a career and a job.
  • by Michael Snoswell ( 3461 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @10:03PM (#10949105) Journal
    I trade shares for hobby and at the current rate that hobby will pay enough for me to quit by high paying day job (senior computer systems engineer in a defense company) in 3-5 years (I've been doing it for 2 years). This takes aabout an hour a week (value investing, not day trading).

    I also went back to study phsychology and ended up as a qualified counsellor where a see a couple of clients a week to help keep me in touch with real humans. I also do some tutoring work for counselling students (which is all weekend and evenings). This takes a few hours a week plus 8-16 hours when I'm tutoring.

    I write written scripts (have done two cartoon episodes for The Toons: Where are they now?) and am working on a self help book and a novel. Not to make money but because I like writing. This is usually only a 1-2 hrs a week (averaged over a year)

    Because my day job in IT is so senior I don't get to do interesting technical/creative stuff I do little PC setup jobs for friends and write php/mysql apps for friends businesses (currently doing a 1.5TB image management and workflow system). This is about 10hrs a week at the moment.

    I'm also developing some self help workshops which I hope to start running early next year. This takes 2-3 hrs a week (at the moment).

    This is on top of my 50hr a week job, a wife and 4 children. I do as much extra stuff as I can after everyone else is in bed (eg 10pm onwards) and sleep about 5 hrs a night (with the occassional 10hr night to catch up).

    The idea is to develop paying work that has a very high hourly rate so I can work less hours. The share trading is best, earning several hundred dollars an hour and in future for the same effort this will increase as profits are simpy reinvested and not consumed. Secondly the counselling is experience towards doing the workshops, where you can charge 30 ppl $200 for a weekend workshop (16hrs) to give a similar hourly rate (minus overheads and prep time).

    Currently all this augments my income by about 30% (up from 10% last year) so I'm on track to retire within 5 years.

    I also used to play in a band (did 3 albums) which was an aweful lot of fun but an aweful waste of time. Once kids came along that something had to give!

    The best way to relax is playing with the kids, programming and writing (for me at least).

    I still toss around ideas of high tech startups (I had one in the late 90s with angel funding but we never got to the big venture capital stage) but nothing is as assured as 1) value investing with shares, and 2) a 9-5 job.

    If money and creating spare time weren't a concern I would probably just counsel people and write, but I wouldn't make a good living out of it (well, I might but it's unlikely - I'm not abuot to plan on an improbably income stream when I have a mortgage and kids!).
  • well, I fight fires. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CFD339 ( 795926 ) <andrewp AT thenorth DOT com> on Monday November 29, 2004 @10:29PM (#10949223) Homepage Journal
    With the small town I'm in, they need all the help they can get.

    So, by day(and night) I'm a not so mild mannered computer geek; while by night (and day) I run into burning buildings.
  • by jintian ( 816847 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:17AM (#10949846)
    I'm a western man living in Beijing. Westerners are often used here as foreign experts in TV commercials to lend some additional semblance of credibility to the product pitch. I have played a doctor, an Australian scientist, and suit & tie businessmen. Products have included breast enlargement kits, hi-tech underwear, and chinese herbal medicine (the Strong Bones Particles of Six Flavors). Usually I just have to mouth some words because they'll do a voiceover in Chinese later, but occasionally I have to speak - and translate very bad English into something a real person might actually say. Its not very lucrative but it is diverting.
  • Consulting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <snook@guanotroni[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:10AM (#10950373)
    I used to work tech support at one of the rare well-managed, worker-respecting tech support places, and fairly frequently we'd get calls about things we don't support. Standard procedure was to refer them to the consulting companies we had deals with. Because of these contracts, our users got good deals from them, but only for major projects, since they'd typically have minimum fees that would be rather exorbitant for the small odd jobs they often needed. We'd often get calls back asking if anyone wanted to drop by for a half hour after work and do whatever the odd job in question was for $30 or so. Our manager actually encouraged this practice, since we were still supporting everything we were supposed to and honoring our contracts, and our users were getting the unsupported odd jobs done that were too small for formal consulting. This required our manager paying attention to make sure we were really doing our jobs properly and not trying to screw our customers, but I believe I already mentioned we had good management.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.