Are you one of the many Americans despairing that the trillions in taxpayer dollars spent stabilizing the economy still hasn't translated into job creation? Be patient, grasshopper, jobs will come.
Granted, a lot of the jobs as we knew them won't be coming back. But once you take a realistic look at the current economic, demographic and political trends you'll see there's a promising new crop of opportunities emerging that will put Main Street America back to work again.
Personal service, maintenance and security
Clearly the TARP money went towards executive bonuses rather than loans and job creation. But that doesn't mean those bonuses won't prove equally productive on the employment front.
As long as rich people keep acquiring homes and material possessions that need maintenance, care and protection, there will be jobs available for gardeners, maids, chefs, nannies, chauffeurs, valets, European car mechanics, concubines, silver polishers, organ harvesters, groomsmen, personal shoppers, bodyguards, security guards, food tasters, dog walkers, gatekeepers, astrologists, psychics, grape peelers, servers and attendants, to name a few.
Obviously, these are coveted positions for college graduates with Liberal Arts degrees. They'll face tough competition from illegal aliens who are favored by the wealthy because they work below minimum wage.
Security positions should grow exponentially as those with money will become increasingly fearful of losing their lives and possessions to angry hordes.
Luxury travel and hospitality
It may seem counter-intuitive that luxury travel and hospitality sectors would grow during a recession. But when you consider that the monied class will be traveling to exotic offshore locations more than ever to spend quality time with their money, it starts to make sense.
Add to that the increase in congressional delegations, summits, symposiums, corporate retreats, boondoggles and junkets and you'll begin to grasp the opportunities in this growing sector.
Think of the limos, Lear jets, five-star accommodations and gourmet dining necessary for the multitude of climate conferences, job summits and poverty symposiums our political and business leaders will convene to form committees to plan future conferences and symposiums where they will discuss solutions to these pressing geopolitical problems.
Conversely, practically all jobs serving economy travelers will eventually disappear. Even pilots will be eliminated on economy class flights in favor of a cheaper version of the technology used in unmanned drones. Delta plans to charge a $1,000 surcharge to economy passengers who opt for a human pilot. Steer clear of this sector.
With all the money being poured into political campaigns and lobbying these days, anyone with an ounce of charisma would be a fool not to get in on the action. The recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance provides further incentive to enter this lucrative field now.
If you're attractive, consider running for office. There will be hundreds of openings for non-incumbents in the upcoming 2012 elections. Heaven knows your country needs you.
No skills or experience is necessary. The only requirement is you should be willing to stand for prolonged periods in public places, shake people's hands, kiss babies and beg, plead and cajole for change (it's not all that different than begging pleading and cajoling for spare change, but the income potential is much higher).
These days, voters demand full transparency, so you should also look good in a swim or birthday suit. Ability to drive a truck is a plus, but not mandatory.
Once the corporate donations start pouring in and you can afford a decent haircut and designer wardrobe, you're golden. If you lose, whatever funds you have remaining from the campaign can be rolled into your next campaign (which can be anything from becoming a talk show host to eating regularly). That's what I call win/win.
If you're not good-looking, you can always become a political strategist.
Shovel ready jobs
Before the stimulus money can reach people who are ready to repair and build necessary infrastructure, some of the money will have to go to research firms and experts and holding high level meetings to determine where the money should go (see Government jobs).
Some will go to pay the salary of bureaucrats hired to facilitate and oversee the stimulus program (see Government jobs).
A large portion will go to agencies and experts to promote how well the stimulus is working These are great jobs if you can snag one. It helps to know someone and have a large twitter and facebook following. Be prepared to do some heavy shoveling (figuratively speaking).
Then some of the money will have to go to China for raw materials.
If there's anything left after that, laborers will finally be hired to begin the actual building of infrastructure. If you're actually interested in a job that requires physical labor, you might want to find something else to tide you over until then.
The business of war
As one of our only remaining exports, and our most highly funded industry (even more than banks, believe it or not), war is just a smart career choice.
The military is recruiting. They pay you while you learn the job. They're an equal opportunity employer. They'll take you regardless of race, religion, education or prison record (just don't tell them you're gay).
Granted, entry level salaries aren't great, but if you survive, opportunities for advancement and high paying jobs as independent contractors and arms dealers are possible. Blackwater executives say there's no better training for their 100K a year special op jobs (with the possible exception of the Al Qaeda training camp in Yemen or 10 years with the Cosa Nostra).
Even while there are cutbacks in virtually every other sector, the government is growing as they create new departments and hire more people to oversee, compensate and investigate the failures of existing ones.
The government pays top dollar with benefits. They paid 18 million to build the Recovery.org website (the going rate for a similar website in the private sector is usually under $100,000 -- I would have done it for a piece of chicken.) Who wouldn't want to get in on that gravy train?
Unlike other businesses (aside from banks and insurance companies) if the government runs short on funds, they can just print up some money to pay you. You can also pick up extra money hiring yourself as an independent contractor, or in kickbacks. If you're inept enough, opportunities for advancement abound.
The only catch is, the application process can be time-consuming and frustrating (the TSA lost my application six times and the decision has been delayed indefinitely). But that negative becomes a positive once you've landed the job. Imagine the luxury of having unlimited funds, unlimited time and incredibly low standards. Here's a tip: the Department of Homeland Security is looking for people with experience connecting dots.
When in Rome...
Any student of history can take one look at the current economy, factor in consumption trends and deduce that the time is right to bring back the vomitorium.
What Lobbyist, Senate committee member or Wall Street executive wouldn't love to cap off a rough day fleecing the masses, over-consumption, and revelry with some stylish purging?
The beauty of this business is it requires little capital outlay (no bank loans necessary). You can just squat in a recently shuttered retail establishments, add a large trough or two and you're good to go.
Once you start making a profit you can add amenities like rare Cuban cigars rolled by trained albino monkeys, and Swarovski studded buckets and troughs. Best locations are Washington DC, Wall Street, Miami and parts of Southern California. This could be the next Starbucks among the one-percenters. Get in on the ground floor if you can.
Economic indicators suggest that this might be a good time to read my blog about being broke in France.