Getting Paid to Read

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canoe
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Getting Paid to Read

Post by canoe »

It seems to me that there are some jobs out there where one can effectively get paid to read. (Or do math problems, or browse the web, you get it.)

I can think of two categories of jobs that meet this criteria:
  1. Jobs that mostly involve sitting in a certain place and responding if things come up (e.g. I'm assuming some security jobs, some IT support jobs at laid-back orgs)
  2. Jobs that one can do way more efficiently than expected (e.g. low-level admin work that could mostly be automated by a decent coder, or where you could complete a shift's work in less than half a shift with enough effort and optimization)
Of course the job would also have to be at a place where supervisors don't expect you to look busy.

I'm not looking for options that involve trying to get away with slacking and avoiding work, but ones where you can add value just by sitting there or where you can deliver value vastly more efficiently than expected. To be relevant, at least 50% of time on the job should be able to be spent reading, ideally over 75%.

I'm wondering if anybody knows of any examples of this kind of job. Or maybe someone can inform me that these jobs don't exist anymore.

Anyway, an example.

Scott 2
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Scott 2 »

The article you linked - the hourly rate is $12/hr, for 3rd shift. What's the obligation on your sleep schedule worth? It's also in a caretaking environment. Yeah, you get to do whatever until they need you. But when they do. What does that look like?

If you don't care what you are reading, you could look for proofreader jobs. If you can find something that also requires your professional expertise, especially if credentialed, it can pay more than $12/hr.

Which gets me to - why not use the higher value skill set to do some part time work at a high hourly rate, then use free time to read?

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canoe
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by canoe »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:52 pm
Thanks for the proofreader suggestion. I'd be looking to read whatever I want, though.

It's hard to accurately value the sleep schedule question, but if that guy's job is about 7/8 hours free, the real hourly rate is $96/hour of actual work. I'd have a hard time beating that with "proper" work. Furthermore, better jobs may exist. (Another example, although this guy may just be a huge outlier.)

You make a good point about the part-time work. The way I see it is that a "paid to read" job lets me get paid for my free time. I could still do a higher-earning part-time job in addition. There are even some part-time jobs (e.g. freelance programming) that could be done while on the job at a "paid to read" type job.

From my perspective, it's starting to feel like every hour I spend reading or browsing the Internet where I'm not being paid to sit in a particular chair while doing so is inefficient.

Scott 2
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Scott 2 »

I took a quick glance through your post history - early 20's, in tech.

The reward for work at that age isn't money. It is development of your latent potential into human capital. You want a job that builds you into someone who _is_ worth $96/hr. Don't waste your time on some "can I get paid to surf the internet" distraction. Those are economic scraps.

Learning comes through high fidelity channels - experience, mentoring, discussing failures with your peers, etc. Hiding on 3rd shift and paging e-books sells yourself short, before adult life even starts. You can't grow sitting alone at a desk.

I'd take your discovery as a reason to stop wasting time online, rather than incentive to get paid for it. What happens when the money stops? Your skill is sitting on your ass, watching other people live. You can do better.

And yes, I appreciate the irony of this post! With the ebb and flow of my tech career, I've had plenty of days paid to surf my life away. I never look back on them fondly. There was always some other complicating factor in life, leading me to hide on the internet. Inevitably, it was better to identify the cause and address it.

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canoe
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by canoe »

@Scott 2 I appreciate the advice, and I understand your concern. To be clear, I do not see this as a long-term solution. I originally didn't want to tailor this thread to my specific situation, as I think it may be useful to other people as well, but here it is: right now, I see a lot of value in building my general cognitive toolkit, trying to figure out where I'd like to focus on next in my career, and learning more about paths that interest me (e.g. economics, entrepreneurship). I have no intention of merely surfing the internet, more like reading useful books, working through math and economics textbooks, adding some data science skills to my technical skill set, and working on some coding projects. This could be along with working my current full-time tech job or searching for new jobs after my current contract ends. I think these are some of the most valuable uses of my time right now which I'm doing in my free time anyway, so why not hack the system and get paid to do them? Heck, since my job is remote I could probably even do it during a "paid to read" job as long as I could get away with video meetings.

I'm entirely open to the possibility that the best way to build life and career capital for me right now would involve doing things that can't be done in a "paid to read" job, but I can't think of anything that such a job would preclude me from other than learning physical skills like carpentry and such. These days one can network and discuss failures with one's peers over the internet. Am I missing something?

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Alphaville
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Alphaville »

i used to know a guy who worked as a security guard in college and did his reading on the job.

i also used to know an actual security guard who kept a chill office but his life was at times dangerous/hectic.

paid to read career would be more like something in academia if you find an interesting field for you. comes with a big side of institutional politics which might use up some energy, plus many unpleasant chores.

also roughly 75% of academics are underemployed these days, which makes it a bad scene in itself.

suomalainen
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by suomalainen »

Lawyering

Investing

Scott 2
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Scott 2 »

@canoe - you are missing experience with an employer that views you as nothing but a warm body. When your qualifications are showing up on time and keeping a chair warm, you are treated accordingly. It feels terrible.

In that sense - you would develop human capital. If this is an idea you will wonder about until living through it, give it a try. I'd probably go for 3rd shift support at a data center. At least there, the value of technical expertise might force some level of decency from management.

Salathor
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Salathor »

Brandon Sanderson (the famous fantasy author) wrote several of his early novels at his job (night clerking for a hotel). He was single and just lived nocturnally, and he was able to cover all of his young man's expenses by living on minimum wage.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Kriegsspiel »

I'd imagine working in a non-busy library would afford you plenty of opportunities to read.

mathiverse
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by mathiverse »

Earlier thread for more ideas: viewtopic.php?t=2029

ertyu
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by ertyu »

Salathor wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 7:15 pm
Brandon Sanderson (the famous fantasy author) wrote several of his early novels at his job (night clerking for a hotel). He was single and just lived nocturnally, and he was able to cover all of his young man's expenses by living on minimum wage.
I'm told this doesn't happen anymore. Hotel chains became aware of this loophole and closed it.

Salathor
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Salathor »

ertyu wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:08 am
I'm told this doesn't happen anymore. Hotel chains became aware of this loophole and closed it.
Admittedly, if I ran a hotel I'd be concerned if my employees had time to write several novels on shift. You might be overstaffed.

elkend
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by elkend »

I got offered a great paying job recently, like what I make now, where you mainly just sit there and read four days a week because the volume of work passing through is so low.

I considered taking it, sounds like a dream job. But I wasn't big on the area. I'd feel a bit depressed if I just sat around reading all day. I need to be doing something that creates value for others. Had to re-evaluate my goals a bit after that. I considered doing it and pretending I'm a full time author, but I'm not sure if that's really the path that satisfies me.

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canoe
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by canoe »

mathiverse wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 11:53 pm
Earlier thread for more ideas: viewtopic.php?t=2029
Thanks! Turns out that thread has a post from the guy who wrote the blog articles I mentioned. I never knew he was on here. Nice surprise.

theanimal
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by theanimal »

mike_bos is an ERE OG

Salathor
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Re: Getting Paid to Read

Post by Salathor »

theanimal wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:35 pm
mike_bos is an ERE OG
Anybody have any idea what happened to him after he quit blogging in 2014? Is he still EREd or has he gone back to work?

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