These can be difficult times for people looking for work, especially if you work in a particular industry hard hit by layoffs and restructurings. And if you've been out of work for a long time, your unemployment eligibility may have run out and you need money to survive.

There are jobs that appear to be in demand no matter how poorly the economy is doing. And depending on the extent of your education and your skill set, these just may help you get through the lean periods until a more permanent job comes along.

Here are few occupations that need people now and will probably need people for sometime to come. They don't pay great, but you can earn enough to survive.

As a freelance writer, I decided to investigate the need for writers and what I found was that there is more than enough writing to go around and not nearly enough writers to do it all. You can thank the hungry beasts known as the Internet for creating a nearly insatiable need for content, but it text, or audio or video. No matter what the content is, some writing is required.


So the first survival job is that of writer. Writing for the internet pays a lot less than writing for print publications, but there is a need for constant written content whether it is answer to search engine questions, or articles about new restaurants. The demand is huge. Your only qualification is to be a half-way decent writer.

Clear and simple is the name of the game here. No fancy words. No creative sentence structure, just straight talk using clear and simple language and grammar. Some websites looking for writers include and, just to name a couple. Google websites for freelance writers and hundreds will pop up.

If the Internet isn't your cup of tea, you may want to try your hand at greeting card companies. According to the Greeting Card Association, writers may be paid between $25 and $150 for a submission that's accepted. Humor or punch line writing pays the most.  To find out which companies accept submissions, look for guidelines on their websites or call them directly. You can also check out the latest edition of Writer's Market to find freelance opportunities at everything from websites to national and regional magazines and trade publications.

Elder Care

The next job where people will always be needed is in elder care. We're all getting older and sooner or later if we're lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, you may need someone to take care of you. Your kids would seem like the most logical choice but they're going to be too busy taking care of themselves. So they're going to want to hire somebody else to watch over mom and dad, in the capacity of a professional companion. Sort of an escort for the elderly.

You might end up reading to them, or pushing their wheelchairs outside so they get some sun. This job doesn't even require any special skills. It helps to know how to read, but that's about it.

Pet Care

If caring for old people isn't your thing, how about a dog or a cat. Deborah Jacobson is the author of Survival Jobs: 154 Ways to Make Money While Pursuing Your Dream. She says that regardless of what's happening in the economy, pet owners will continue to need help caring for their animals.

Put an ad on Craigslist or flyers at your church or local coffee shop that promote pet-sitting services. This will appeal to pet-owners who are out of town or working, or for elderly people who may need someone to walk their dog.


Chances are you wouldn't think of catering as a survival job, but I have friends who have fallen into the catering business by accident because word got around that they could cook a mean vegetarian spread for several people. Now that's what they do. And no matter how bad the economy seems to get, there are some people who still want to throw parties and get married. So you have children's birthday parties, and weddings and even some businesses who still have lunch meetings.

They difference here is that catering will require a certain amount of experience. You will have to know how to cook.  

Substitute teacher

A fellow I used to work with at in the UBS marketing department was laid off a few months before I was and couldn't find similar work. So he became a substitute teacher. He didn't have his teacher's license or any advance degree in education but that didn't matter. Education and certification requirements for substitutes vary by state and school district, and usually they're not as strict as for full-time teachers. For some reason substitute teaching jobs seem to be easier to find at private schools where experience and certification are often not required.

The downside is that the average pay for a substitute teacher $105 a day. I know cleaning ladies who make more than that and we wonder why our education system is so miserable.

Teach a skill

Let's say you don't have your Bachelors. You can still be a teacher, just not a school teacher. You could teach a skill. Do you play the guitar or some other musical instrument? There are a lot of folks who'd like to learn. Nearly everybody can teach something. Do you speak and write Spanish? There's a huge demand for Spanish language teachers. What about gardening, carpentry, do-it-yourself skills of all kinds are in demand.

Offer to teach a class at a local community college, or community center. Offer a course for an adult continuing education program.  

Hotel Worker

I'm told that the hospitality industry has a high employee turnover rate and an abundance of seasonal positions. Call hotels in your area and see if there are any openings for bellhops, concierges, or desk clerks. Many of these positions require no experience.