Wanted: Fake Employees
CNBC.com News Editor
As the layoffs keep piling up — another 467,000 jobs were lost in June — it may be a while before a lot of people get back to full-time work.
For many professionals, there’s a stigma around doing odd jobs like mowing the lawn or cleaning houses: What if someone saw me? I would be mortified!
Enter filmmaker Jeremy Redleaf, who has done the impossible of making odd jobs seem cool with job-listing site Odd JobNation.com, which launched in February. Their motto is: “Turn that Pink Slip Into a Golden Ticket.”
“We’re sort of celebrating this moment in time for anyone who’s been laid off or looking for extra money,” Redleaf says. “But we’re making it cooler — we’re getting rid of the stigma.”
The site collects its own listings from word-of-mouth but it also mines Craig’s Listin various cities for listings.
The site has opportunities for everyone, from actors to investment bankers. In fact, Redleaf started the site after helping five i-banker friends get jobs after they were laid off.
Sure, it has your typical odd jobs, but also some listings you might not expect:
Arm Candy for a Celebrity. A celebrity once posted a listing looking for an attractive young lady to be his arm candy for Fashion Week. Pay: $50 for the afternoon.
Fake Employee. An ad agency laid off a bunch of its employees, but wanted to keep up appearances when a big client came to the office. So, they posted a listing for “fake employees” to just sit at the desks and look busy. Pay: $15 an hour.
All-Star Foosball Player. Have a Migayi-like command of the Foosball table? Well today’s your lucky day because one Chelsea office is sick of their cocky foosball champion and is looking for someone to take him down. Pay: $40 and beer.
Michael Jackson Impersonator. If you recently lost your job, you’re bad and you know it, this job is for you. A woman in California is looking for a Michael Jackson impersonator for her wedding in Lake Tahoe on August 1. If you’re not free that day, don’t worry: I’m sure there will be more moonwalking opps to come!
Mermaid for a Birthday Party. Perhaps fulfilling a long-harbored “Splash!” fantasy, one poster is looking for a couple of women to pose as mermaids and swim around the pool at a birthday party in July. The pay is $150 for three hours, and they will provide the costume if necessary, but there is one teensy caveat: You have to do it topless.
Actor in a Zombie Movie. A zombie movie starts filming in a couple months in South Florida and they’re looking for everything from actors to special-effects make-up artists and set designers. You won’t get paid — except for getting a copy of the movie — but how cool would it be if, at your next interview, when they asked you about that gap in your resume, you said nonchalantly, “Oh, I was acting in a zombie movie.”
The site isn’t just about job listings, though. It also has the pilot of a show RedLeaf is developing, called “Odd Jobs,” with two more episodes coming next week, as well as a “Recession Channel,” where you can submit your own recession-inspired videos or watch other people’s videos like the R&B rap “Laid Off” by C.H.A.Z.Z.
Redleaf says they’re going add features on unemployed people who are inspiring and add message boards to allow people to vent, network — whatever they need.
“We’re sort of a one-stop-shop for all things unemployment,” Redleaf says.
At the moment, the site only has one sponsor, ResumeDeli.com, but he’s currently in talks with other sponsors.
How he pays for it all is through a sister site called, ResumeShirts.com, where, for $19.99, they’ll print your resume on your T-shirt! The front says, “Resume Attached,” and the resume is on the back. Or, they’ll do your cover letter, with “Dear Sir or Madam” on the front and your cover letter on the back.
Those shirts have been so successful, Redleaf says they’re going to expand the online store to include other sites that sell T-shirts, bags, mugs, etc.
He’s also got plans for a “Worst Resume Contest” in the works, where the winner wins a full resume makeover. Kind of like “What Not to Wear” for your resume. Like a “What Not to Write.”
This is all great but what happens if the recession ends?
“If my business starts to go down — that’s actually a good sign!” Redleaf quips. “But there are always going to be people who need jobs, who want odd jobs,” he says. “For those people, we’ll always be there.”
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