How to Find Day Labor
Once you've fully adjusted to the vagabond lifestyle, you'll inevitably want to locate work during your travels. Since working a 40 hour week will tie you down, you'll resort to option #2: day labor gigs. These types of temporary jobs are paid daily after you've successfully completed your task, which may vary from moving furniture to picking corn or even digging holes. Sound good?
Locate social service organizations.Since drifters are seen as people that would prefer a quick meal and a nap before heading out, you'll impress the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and similar organizations simply by asking to work for the day. Much like any business to person interaction, be prepared to show your state issued identification or driver's license, along with social security card or proof of birth.
Visit loading docks at manufacturing facilities.Ask permission to approach truckers for 'lumping' gigs, which entail you unloading their semi (if their loads are 'full touch') for -0. If the manufacturing company is kind, they'll loan you a pallet jack or similar device just to assist.
Visit the co-op.Otherwise known as 'feed store' or 'grain store', you'll run into farmers early in the morning buying their hog feed at cooperatives, or co-ops. Perhaps offer your services for the day at a mutually agreeable rate. Some farmers will throw in dinner, prepared by skilled farmers' wives.
Head to your homeless shelter.Not only will you need to secure some sleep for the evening, you can learn about business owners that come by and hire help intermittently. Shelters will also post day labor gigs for the day, or preceding days, in plain view for those interested in making money. If these gigs aren't publicly viewable, make sure to ask the attendant whether the shelter frequently receives visits from individuals looking to hire able-bodied men.
Find a Labor Ready or similar day labor company.In bigger cities, Labor Readywill open their doors as early as 5:00AM for people to sign in to look for work. This company operates much like Manpower, Career Glideror any other local staffing agency, except they're contracting you by the day. Perks include an in-office ATM where you can withdraw money, the opportunity to work several consecutive days, and safety equipment rental. Those with cars tend to make more because they'll receive compensation for each person they transport to a job, on top of their own earned wage. State issued identificationand social security card are required to begin working here.
Search the "labor" listings under "gigs" for the local Craigslist page.You might find opportunities to help with construction or moving, or other odd jobs that could fit your skill set (like repairing a juke box or setting utility poles). It's not a bad idea to check the "barter" listings under "for sale/wanted" as sometimes people are willing to offer goods in exchange for labor. Ask for goods that will be useful through your travels, or ask for food.
If all else fails, head to either a diner or tavern.Town folk that know each other quite well will frequently visit these places. Strike up a conversation and let the other party know you're intending to look for work that day, and wish to be paid and gone from the city by dusk. You could end up washing dishes, taking out trash or performing similar duties for the owners just by showing tenacity.
- Always make sure you've groomed yourself before starting to look for work. Even if you can commandeer a sink to wash your face and hair, you'll increase your chances of finding day labor simply by spiffing yourself up. No soap or shampoo? Head to your local church or social service organization who'll make sure you've got a least a hygiene kit.
- Accumulate good references. After you've finished a job, politely ask the person who hired you if they thought you did well and if so, if they would be willing to act as a reference for future gigs.
- If you don't have skills or experience, volunteer on days when you can't find day labor. Volunteering will at least give you experience, skills, and hopefully, a good reference.
- Never watch the clock. You'll be fired and quite possibly relinquish any pay you've earned up to that point.
- Be prepared to show identification and pass a quick local / national criminal and employment background check. Some farmers or people that hire you may not want thieves or burglars near their homes or businesses.
- Day labor gigs are also perfect for those seeking extra work to supplement income or that are between jobs.
- Competition is fierce early in the morning; it's probably an excellent idea to arrive early at diners, co-ops and Labor pools to have a shot at working that day.
- Never apply for work you cannot meet the physical demands for.
- Never backtalk those willing to offer you work, or those in the same position as you.
- Avoid interaction with those who come across as shady, or are offering 'questionable' day labor gigs.
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