While most young people still take the traditional route to make extra money — such as tutoring or working in a gas station — an increasing number of youngsters are trying a variety of methods to earn some cash.
Chao Chia-hsin (趙家欣), a college student soon to enter his junior year, said he was paid an hourly rate of NT$350 for a month last year by dressing up as a ghost for special events during “Ghost Month” — the seventh month of the lunar calendar in which Chinese tradition holds that the gates of the netherworld are opened and ghosts walk the earth freely for 30 days.
The downside was having to work in extremely hot weather, Chao said, adding that he was usually drenched in sweat after just two hours.
Chao also made NT$1,000 in an hour once by washing a bag of dirty and stinky laundry for someone who posted an ad on the Internet.
He also made some extra money by answering a netizen’s ad for disposing of a dead rat. That was a quick way to earn NT$500, as the entire process of bagging the rat and throwing it in the trash didn’t take more than three minutes, he said.
Lin Chia-yu (林珈羽), a sophomore at Taipei Medical University’s School of Healthcare Administration, said she had been doing part-time work since her last year in junior-high school.
Lin said she had worked in 10 different jobs, including as a human research subject, nuclear magnetic resonance test subject, hairstyle model, salesperson, celebrating birthdays for total strangers and a member of the audience for a TV show recording.
“I only got NT$500 for sitting through that recording, which took seven hours,” Lin said, adding that the production unit even made fun of the audience members by asking: “Are you really that short on money?”
Being a hairstyle model was interesting, she said, as she got a taste of the latest hairstyle creations and was paid for it.
The most interesting job she had was celebrating the birthday of a total stranger, she said.
“I bought chocolate and wrote a birthday card and was paid NT$250,” Lin said.
On her work as a human research subject, Lin said it was slightly riskier and although it paid NT$3,000 for two hours, she had to grit her teeth against the pain when she was jabbed with a needle.
Chi Hsin (季昕), a student at Tatung University’s mechanical engineering department, said the best-paying job he had was working as a costume character at an event.
“You earn NT$5,000 and work just one hour, but the downside is you sweat a lot in those costumes,” Chi said. However, he added that as the costume restricted his field of vision and prevented him from being able to see clearly, he had to be careful to avoid falling off the stage.
Chi said he had also participated in cellphone tests by mobile-phone companies and sleep tests by academic researchers.
“I made some money in those cases, although I didn’t have to do anything except carry a cellphone or lie down and sleep,” Chi said.