This is a bit off topic, but times are tough and money is money. There's an opportunity to earn between US$10 and $20 an hour working for the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2010 population count. And after seeing number of hits that "Craigslist: Developer's Jobs and Other Jobs" generated, I thought this might also strike a chord.

Several hundred thousand temporary jobs are up for grabs all over the country, with flexible hours, paid training and job-related travel reimbursement. I looked into the pay where I live, and it's $18 an hour. Find out how much they pay in your area using this interactive map.

There are several qualifications. Since you're reading this, you've already met one of them. You must also be able to speak and write English. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal and documented resident, at least 18 years of age, have a valid social security number and driver's license, and pass a background check (would you want an inked up ex-con knocking on your door?). They'll spend four days training you, for which you'll be paid. And you also have to pass a test. But don't worry, they pretty much give you the answers by providing you with this Practice Test for Field Employees (pdf). They also say that your chances of landing one of these jobs are probably better if you're bilingual. Read more about it on the Website.

Hey, once your foot's in the door, you never know where it might lead.

About the Author

I am Technical Editor of the [url=]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=][/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

I took the test, and passed with a high score. Work is January thru February here (NM), and you get paid for your training as well as field work. If you're out of work, it might be an option for some of you.