I Made Money by Going to Church. Here’s How.

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I’ll admit I’ve done a lot of strange things for money at various points in my young adult life. Yet I don’t think anything has prompted a more polarizing response than when I tell people that I got paid to go to church.

How did this happen, you might ask? With a research company called Faith Perceptions. What this company does is work with churches that want to evaluate the experiences of first-time visitors.

They send contractors out to the churches on assignment who attend a Sunday morning service, observe specific things such as if they were greeted properly and if the parking lot was easily accessible, and then fill out questionnaires afterwords about their experience. Thus, it is very similar in concept to what mystery shoppers do with for-profit businesses.

Each assignment typically earns the mystery shopper… er … church evaluator (?) about $45, although at the time I did it they had assignments that would pay slightly more if you went to college group meetings and special events in addition to the Sunday service (paying somewhere near $75 total).

The churches with available assignments were primarily in the Midwestern United States and almost entirely United Methodist congregations, for some reason. It did feel a little odd essentially having to lie about why I was visiting the church I was assigned to when talking to the different church-goers.

It also felt odd having to look with a critical eye for things that I knew were on the questionnaire, such as “was the pastor’s sermon clear in its message and communication style?” and “was it easy to tell where the nursery was located?”

The people they typically look for are individuals that believe in God, but don’t have a church home. Essentially the demographic a would-be congregation would be trying to reach.

Despite the peculiarity of the job, it isn’t a bad experience overall. Keep in mind that you are helping churches do something they themselves hired Faith Perceptions to do. If you enjoy going to church and are also looking for money, I suppose I’d recommend it and wouldn’t judge you for it. But what if you are solely doing this to make money rather than attend a church service, you might ask?

I’ll leave that one for a Higher Power.

You can check out the Faith Perceptions website or apply to become a “mystery guest” here

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6 Things Job Ads Say That are Total Lies

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Not every job seems as appealing as others. Just as you pitch your skill set and work qualifications in a job interview, companies must pitch why you should apply for their positions so they attract the best talent.  There can be certain jobs that may ordinarily be a challenge for companies to get applicants for, so they’ll use codewords to make a position sound more enticing. Be wary when you see these terms, and make sure you understand what they could REALLY mean.

Here is a list of ten such terms to watch out for in job ads.

1. When they say: “Entry-Level Marketing” 

   What they could mean is: Sales Representative

There are many young, impressionable people looking to have their big break in the marketing field. Whether you went to college to get a marketing degree or are just looking to change careers, the promise of an entry-level job to break into the marketing world can seem enticing. Be warned, though, because many commission-based sales representative jobs, perhaps even door-to-door sales jobs, are masked behind this “entry-level marketing” label.

Sales jobs aren’t for everyone- the pay is inconsistent and the workload is stressful. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t actually break into a marketing career with such jobs, but do your background research on the company and job position before applying so you know what you’re getting into.  

2. When they say: “Accounts Receivable Specialist”

     What they could mean is: Collections Agent

When people think of accounting jobs, they might assume it means sitting quietly at a computer, posting journal entries into Quickbooks and preparing financial reports. However, when it comes to Accounts Receivable jobs this could be a clever way of wording something that’s really a call center-based Collections Agent instead of a gateway into a finance career. 

If you have ever been on the receiving end of a collections call, you know it isn’t usually a pleasurable experience. So consider if you really want to be the person calling cranky people to remind them to pay their bills. 

3. When they say: “Choose your own hours.”

     What they could mean is: You’ll be a contract worker.

With the rise of rideshare apps and the “sharing economy,” there are many side gigs that offer the ability to work whenever you want. Take note, though, that if you don’t have set hours it could be an independent contractor position instead of a job where you are an employee. This means that you don’t have the same rights as a worker if you get injured on the job, for instance. And you won’t necessarily have health insurance or other benefits associated with full-time employment. 

If you are unsure don’t be afraid to reach out to the company and ask whether or not it is a contract job!

4. When they say: “Fast-paced environment.”

     What they could mean is: This job is STRESSFUL!

A “fast-paced environment” could mean they want someone who is going to be able to juggle a large amount of tasks that are thrown at them with little time to complete such tasks. You may see this term used for jobs related to customer service or the restaurant industry. Some people enjoy the excitement of a job where you remain active throughout your shift, but for others a quiet environment is better suited for their needs. 

Consider whether you are ready for a work environment that is noisy and frantic when you see these words in a job ad.

5. When they say: “Preferred Qualifications”

     What they could mean is: If you don’t have these, you ain’t getting it.

Oftentimes if you don’t have their preferred qualifications, such as a college degree in a specific job field or a certain type of certification, your chances at getting an interview are slim to none. Your best bet will be if you have an alternative qualification such as years of related experience. Thus proves a bit of a conundrum: you need experience to get a job and you need a job to get experience.

If you can’t come up with an alternative qualification or a good angle for pitching yourself in the cover letter and interview process, it might be better to channel your energy towards applying for a different job.

6. When they say: “Flexibility and adaptability are preferred skills.”

     What they could mean is: Our office is dysfunctional.

Offices can struggle when there are inconsistent or contradictory expectations from different supervisors and employees, or a lack of communication between departments. This results in a work environment where one manager gives you a set of instructions and another gives you a different one. Thus proves a need for “adaptability.”

These contradictions can put a strain on productivity and result in an office that is somewhat disorganized. Think of how “adaptable” you really want to be.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow this blog for more updates on frugal living, as well as stay updated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

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