8 Side Jobs You Need To Avoid

The side job.

It gives you that extra bit of money to make ends meet. It buys your books and binders at the beginning of the semester. It funds that exotic vacation to Tahiti. Whatever your reasons for getting a side job, there are a plethora of money-makers to choose from.

There are popular sides jobs, like the fast food worker or the coffee house barista. These are usually highly sought after and thus sometimes hard to get hired for, depending on the demand. You also have the lesser known jobs, like the ticket checker at stadiums or the organist at churches, that you hear about through whispers and hook-ups from family and friends.

You also have the work-at-home and entrepreneurial opportunities, many of which can be risky and require discipline, enthusiasm, and determination to be successful in. They can be advertised as the key to quick cash, but turn out to be a drain on funds or a waste of time. There are a lot of great opportunities too, however, if you look in the right places or create an opportunity for yourself.

Unfortunately, the wide variety of great jobs makes it very easy to fall prey to a job that never should have pursued in the first place. You should never settle for a stressful, useless side job if you already have a stressful day job, especially when there are so many good ones to choose from.

The jobs in this list aren’t all horrible and impossible ways to make money. Some are truly terrible, some are actually fake, and some have so many successful people that it makes it improbable that anyone just coming into the job will be as well. Here are some side jobs that you should skip over while searching for supplementary pocket change:

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8 8: Scams

Obviously, even the most desperate job hunters believe they are taking care to avoid being scammed while digging through hundreds of listings. Unfortunately, most people don’t really understand what an employment scam is or what it can look like.

Merriam-Webster defines a scam as “a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation.” Which means no, while you may not like the premise of an extremely competitive sales job, it is not a scam. Neither are many MLM (multi-level marketing) companies, but we‘ll get to that in a moment.

Here are some key indicators of when you have a scam on your hands:

  • The pay is too good to be true.
  • Little information is given about the company or individual.
  • The contact information includes a phone number with area codes outside the country.
  • You are asked to pay money,
  • deposit or cash a check,
  • or give samples of unpublished work before you are hired.
  • The job listing includes “Are you tired of not having the time and money needed to have a great life?”
  • It is a package shipping, envelope stuffing, or secret shopper job. Legitimate positions exists, but these are almost always scams.

Now that we know how to avoid falling for malicious job listings, let’s check out some non-scamming jobs that are still a huge waste of time.

7 7: MLM/Direct Sales

Despite the debate on the difference between multi-level marketing and direct sales, they are opportunities to earn commission on items you sell and people you recruit. They are usually available for anyone to sign up, instead of being hired, and there’s usually someone with an excellent success story.

They are often labelled as scams, when in reality many of the well-known companies like Amway and Avon are not necessarily out to hurt you. If a company is upfront with all of its information, policies, and possible earnings, it cannot be labelled a scam or pyramid scheme.

But will you actually make money? Probably not.

Most of the legitimate companies are well known because of their countless employees. Some of these companies have been around over 50 years with continuing success. Notice I said companies, not salespeople.

These companies work in a pyramid; the people at the top make the most money, as is normal for most corporations. A normal corporation will stop hiring sales people when they know they have enough, however. For the right fee, anyone can join an MLM company. What the people at the bottom fail to realize is that there are often times thousands of other bottom feeders trying to make it to the top alongside them, selling the same products in the same cities, and failing in the same way.

You can have unlimited passion and still not reach any of your direct sales goals. The only way to succeed in a legitimate MLM position is if you live in an untapped market, full of potential sales for that special thing that no one in the area has yet. Good luck figuring out what that thing is.

6 6: Fast Food

Times have changed. High schoolers aren’t the only ones flipping burgers for minimum wage anymore. There are masses of people working in fast food and loving it. Restaurants like Chipotle boast of higher average wages and happier employees.

The majority of fast food positions are not glamorous, however. Restaurants with the lowest pay tend to have the most locations and jobs available, unlike more sought-after restaurants like Panera Bread. Taco Bell and Wendy’s have some of the lowest average hourly wages and are not known for their satisfied workers.

You rarely get tips for your work and have to deal with the extremely stressful environment created by the “I want it now!” American culture. Upset customers and immature coworkers are typically a daily occurrence. All of this, combined with readily available unhealthy food, creates a job better off avoided.

5 5: McDonald’s

Yes, this is also fast food. McDonald’s has won a special spot in this list for being quite possibly the worse fast food restaurant to work for right now.

People are more excited about eating fresher ingredients, and the latest profit reports show McDonald’s is losing ground to fast-casual dining restaurants like Chipotle. New breakfast offerings from other establishments are steering people away from the McGriddle. Sales have only fallen in 2014.

To make matters worse, they recently took down a website engineered to give helpful advice to employees that encouraged them not to eat the very food they are selling to customers, among other hypocritical features.

They have some of the unhealthiest food in the industry, with meats that feature more ingredients than should be allowed and incentives meant to attract young children to the products served by the restaurant.

In the last year, McDonald’s has been in the news a number of times for the outrage their employees have over their low wages.

Despite their sustainability projections for 2020, they are losing money. They need to make a lot of changes before working for them is worth it again.

4 4: Selling Jewelry And Makeup

Know someone who sells jewelry or makeup?

Know of a place where you can get quality makeup for a great price?

Been overwhelmed by the number of choices for jewelry and makeup deals online?

If you have said yes to any of these questions, you already have amazing reasons not to sell jewelry or makeup.

Chances are that you will discover someone trying to sell cheap jewelry at all of your flea markets, online, and to your family and friends. This is such a popular side job that the market is no longer there. Everyone is in constant competition with others, even with people overseas, making it incredibly hard to make any substantial money.

Of course there are exceptions: just like with direct selling, you may live in some obscure town where hardly anyone is doing this and find yourself striking gold. You may have even more success if the jewelry is homemade or the makeup is extremely high quality. These opportunities are unfortunately exceedingly rare; you are better off avoiding the initial start-up costs and finding something else.

3 3: Jobs You Hate

Should be a given, right? Having a job you love means less stressful days, a happier, more productive disposition, and the ability to actually mean it when you say good morning. However, in the case of part-time or side jobs, many people sacrifice something enjoyable for the pleasure of quick cash.

If at all possible, avoid these types of jobs. Statistics show that people who hate their jobs are more likely to smoke, suffer heart attacks, call in sick, or typically have poor performance, causing them to lose their jobs or get paid less.

Why take on a side job you hate, especially with the likelihood that you have a regular job you hate? Do something you know you would enjoy, like selling scarves or working at Costco, voted #1 retail company to work for in 2013 in Forbes and on Glassdoor.

2 2: Dangerous Jobs

When you need some extra cash, the inclination to sacrifice your safety might seep into your brain. In fact, most of the jobs below are not jobs that many people avoid; there are millions of people working these positions.

Unfortunately, many of those people have been exposed to some extremely unsavory experiences. With the wide variety of ways to make money on the side, use your best judgment for your city to figure out which of these jobs to stay away from.

  • Cab Driver – risk of getting mugged or assaulted, depending on the city. Pay may or may not be that great.
  • Gas Station Attendant – risk of being held at gun point or assaulted, depending on the city. Pay is usually terrible.
  • Pizza Delivery Person – risk of getting mugged or assaulted. A walking target for guaranteed cash.
  • Drug Dealer or Prostitute – should there be any explanation?
  • Egg Donating – risk of painful ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, menopause, and infertility, despite the high pay out and noble cause.

1 1: Blogging And Vlogging

There is nothing wrong with blogging or vlogging (video blogging). They can be fun and are great ways to reach out to the world. But are they effective side jobs? In most cases, absolutely not.

By the end of 2011 there were 181 million blogs, according to the Nielson Company. Probably only a handful of those blogs were successful in comparison. What was the difference between that handful of blogs and all the other hopefuls? Uniqueness, opportunity, and long-term commitment.

You will never instantly start making money with a blog or a vlog, and you may find it painful to have to put in so much work before you do. It may take several months, or even years before you build an audience large enough to gain any money from advertisements and product reviews, and that’s when you know what you’re doing.

Love what you're blogging/vlogging about, because you probably won’t get paid for it. If you do, there’s a good chance that you won’t see it coming. If you’re just in it for the money, don’t waste your time.

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