Survival Jobs You Never Thought You'd Be Thankful For

"Most explain that they have exhausted all other options and sound a bit sheepish -- even apologetic -- for inquiring about this kind of work," Durst said.

Jeremy Redleaf has also seen many an eager survival job seeker since founding the site earlier this year.

"We've definitely made some strides in lifting the odd job stigma," said Redleaf, whose site features a cornucopia of original listings and feeds from Craigslist. "I think a lot of people have had to consider things they would have never considered before."

But the ability to pay one's bills is not the only silver lining in cleaning someone's bathroom or pressure washing their sidewalk.

"You never know who you're going to meet on an odd job," Redleaf said. "You could go babysit for someone who happens to a run a company that you want to work for."

We're All in the 'Same Leaky Boat'

The fact that everyone and their grandmother has had to make lemons into lemon meringue pie this past year also has done wonders to help lift the survival job stigma.

"I know there are many people out there struggling with the pride issue," said Lara Vander Ploeg, a life coach in Chicago who took a job at a chi-chi pet boutique when her ex-husband was laid off at the start of the year and she was faced with losing child support.

"I would be lying if I said it doesn't cross my mind what people are saying," offered Vander Ploeg, who's bumped into coaching colleagues during her shifts at the store. But, she added, "The alternative is more frightening to me. I would rather hawk dog food than lose my house and put us through that kind of stress."

Besides, she said, "So many people are in the same leaky boat. If there was ever a time to get out of debt or make ends meet by working those extra jobs, it's now."

'I May Have Missed My Calling'

For some, a job taken out of necessity turns into a career revelation.

Such was the case for Jonas Bull of Jackson, Miss., who grudgingly accepted a full-time sales position this fall after getting laid off from his job as an IT administrator.

"The impression that I had of sales was that it was a very money-driven, used-car, greed-oriented occupation," said Bull, whose new job came with a significant pay cut.

"But I've found that sales is a relationship-oriented occupation, and that's resonated with me very well. I may have missed my calling."

As for Telmanowski, the fearless poop scooper, he's as happy as a dog who stole a drumstick off the Thanksgiving dinner table.

"At the end of the day, I am content," he said. "There's certainly a lot less stress doing this. It's better than sitting in a chair and taking a loss of a reduced pension because I retired too early."

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michelle Goodman is a freelance journalist and former cubicle dweller. She is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube". For more information, see

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