A reader recently gave me some food for thought. She knows that I often share online-based methods of bringing in extra cash like doing online surveys or participating in Swagbucks, and she was wondering if the time spent on these activities was really worth it based on an article she had read.
The article, entitled “The internet’s destroying work” – argues that technology is changing the workforce by “enabling employers to pay the least amount possible to get a job done by tapping an unlimited pool of labor willing to work for almost nothing.”
The article likens this movement to the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries, only this time, the workers are right here in the U.S..
I can definitely see the article’s point. As a work-at-home mom, I’ve had to tell public relation firms that “No, I will not post about your company in exchange for chewing gum.” (Yes, really.) I’ve spent too much time attempting to get a free sample on Facebook than I care to admit.
But, I also see the need for these types of odd jobs, these little scraps of supplemental income. Yes, there are better ways to make income, ways that are immensely more efficient. But unfortunately, not everyone has access to those ways because of where they live, their childcare situation (i.e. stay-at-home-parents), their physical health, their education, etc.. Many of these people are already spending large amounts of time online. So why not make a little bit of money instead of just playing video games or surfing the web? It beats making nothing.
When I had three boys in diapers and was up to my eyeballs in financial stress, those little online surveys and Swagbucks helped me buy Christmas presents and pay the bills. Sites like Mechanical Turk and MyPoints allowed me to earn a little extra cash for much-needed date nights with my husband.
So while some may think those jobs are menial and limiting, for me and my family, they were a lifeline during tight times. They were something that fit within my weird, kid-driven schedule.
Ultimately, it is up to each and everyone of you to decide what your time is really worth. Some of you will grab the lifelines that I share here and find that they are worth the time. Others will find different (and perhaps even better) ways to bring in extra income.
It doesn’t matter which path you choose, as long as you find the time spent is worth it.