DEAR HARRIETTE: Every year around this time, I get sad and broke. I am a freelancer, and work dries up for me in the summer. No matter how hard I hustle to get work all year long, I feel like there’s nothing right now. That’s not true for my friends, by the way. Somehow, they figure out how to have a side hustle or something to keep them going. Me, I’m just stuck. I’m not stupid. I think of myself as a smart person, but you would never know by how I am right about now. I don’t have enough money to pay my bills or to eat. What can you recommend I do so that I don’t get in this situation again? Making excuses for why I can’t pay my bills is getting old. -- All Dried Up, Dallas
DEAR ALL DRIED UP: This won’t help you much for this year, but moving forward, think of yourself like a squirrel. They work overtime during periods of plenty to harvest food and store it safely so that they have enough during the off-season. This is what you need to do with your resources. Save money, even if you receive only small amounts. The going wisdom is to save 10 percent of whatever you earn so that you have that extra cash as a cushion. If you start doing that now, next year you should have some money set aside for this difficult season.
For now, look around with fresh eyes to see what you can do to make extra cash. Can you offer to mow lawns, do yard work for your neighbors, baby-sit? Is there a local small business that might need extra help during off hours? Get creative and put yourself out there to see what projects you can do for extra money.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am finishing an internship, and I want it to turn into a full-time job. I was told that there are no positions available now, but I still want to ask the company to consider me. I got along well with my boss and the rest of the team, and I think I did a great job. How can I lobby for a position if there doesn’t seem to be one? -- Want That Job, Washington, D.C.
DEAR WANT THAT JOB: Put together a proposal that states what you have learned and what you think the company needs from you to be even better than it is today. Come up with a position that you imagine will be valuable to the company, and pitch your boss on it. Explain that you know they don’t have this position right now, but you believe it’s worth investing in to get the company to the next level. Offer to volunteer in that role at first while they consider your proposal. Many volunteer positions have turned into real jobs. If you can afford to extend your internship for a while, you may just end up being that lucky one.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)