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I am one of those people whose parents insisted that I go to college. So, when I graduated, I went to an expensive university for a year, then went to a community college closer to home, got my associate’s degree, and then became too broke to go anywhere else. I tried applying for financial aid, but couldn’t get even close to enough to cover the tuition, and then I wasn’t eligible for a lot of loans because of some debt I’m working hard to pay off.
I’ve been trying to run business after business since then, but I always get really stressed out by the workloads caused by taking on more than I can handle.
When my husband and I were forced to move back into my mother’s house, I knew that I needed something steadier to get some of this debt taken care of, such as a car payment of $300 a month, not including our nearly $200 monthly insurance payment caused by a lapse in our previous coverage from being too broke to pay it.
We considered the usual jobs – retail, restaurant work, etc. The problem for Jacob was that most of these don’t see very steady hours, and we owe a lot of money. The problem for me is that I get extremely anxious when dealing with customers, to the point where I get physically ill and can’t work.
Not to mention that minimum wage in Missouri is $7.70, while a living wage is closer to $14 in our state but $15 across the nation.
Then, we applied for a job at a chicken plant in a tiny town in the farthest corner of Southwest Missouri. It isn’t a glamorous job, mostly packaging chicken and making sure that it looks good in the packaging, but our starting pay was $13 per hour, nearly double Missouri’s minimum, as well as health insurance benefits.
We needed zero experience to get this job, and they had so many positions needing filled that we didn’t even interview. It’s a job that truly doesn’t require skill apart from following instructions and basic motor functions, so we knew that our useless Graphic Design degrees would be acceptable. The days are long and cold and boring, but we get paid weekly, and often have opportunities for overtime.
Some high paying jobs that don’t require a degree:
1. Food production facilities.
There are at least five food factories within an hour drive of our home, and all of them pay at least $13 starting out. Some even start at $14-16! A good way to find these are to look for Tyson, General Mills, or Butterball facilities near you. They almost always have openings, as a lot of people that work there decide that they can’t stand the work. A great thing about this high turnover is that it’s REALLY EASY to get a promotion! After a year of working for Tyson’s, one is qualified to work for the USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture, which starts at $14 per hour with regular raises and lots of opportunities for promotions. My mother works for the USDA at a different plant, and she makes close to $30 per hour and almost always has overtime. This job is what allowed her to get excellent treatment for her breast cancer, as she has the health insurance coverage provided. Every food production facility has USDA inspectors, as they have to ensure that the food made is safe for the general public, so there are plenty of jobs in this field once you’re qualified. It isn’t fun work, but it pays well for unskilled labor and has amazing benefits.
Jacob’s older brother used to work overnight security at a facility in Southwest Missouri, and he was paid over $20 per hour to do it! This was a full-time job, and the basic policy was that, if they saw something on the monitors, they had to go check it out. In his four months at that job, he never once had to check anything out, and he and the three other guards were allowed to do pretty much whatever they wanted so long as they paid attention to the monitor. This would be a great job for someone who wants to make good money without a degree, and it would be a great way to work your way through college, especially an online degree. You could do your homework or read a book while waiting on anything to happen, but something happening could be extremely unlikely, as it was with this facility.
3. Delivering Chinese food
This one is more hit or miss. Jacob’s brother currently works for a Chinese restaurant in town, and he works under twenty hours a week delivering food. To get hired, you’d need a reliable vehicle, and you’d have to know your delivery zone like the back of your hand, but he’s making upwards of $2,000 per month delivering Chinese food! This might be because of the higher cost of his restaurant, causing people to tip more, or it may be the lack of access to Chinese delivery in our area, but he’s making a solid living, and he’s able to spend more time at home with his wife and their two daughters.
There are a lot of jobs that aren’t highly advertised that pay a good amount of money. You can check this out by figuring out what’s in your area, especially those food production plants, and go to their websites to apply. Within two weeks of submitting his application, my husband had a $450 paycheck in his hand for one week of work. I highly encourage you to find something that pays more, especially if, like me, you have anxiety in retail environments.
Do you have suggestions on other unskilled jobs that pay more? What’s the worst job you ever worked? Let us know in the comments!