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Are you so desperate for work that you would risk your life for a paycheck? Well do I have a job for you!

No, it’s not a stint in the military or a job at Chuck E Cheese, but it’s just as dangerous.

You’ll have to get up at 3am, drive to work in the dark and risk life and limb climbing over shoppers – who are dressed in sweats and slippers, wearing dirty NFL blankets over their shoulders, and sitting in beach chairs sipping oversized Mountain Dews and eating pork rinds – just to get to work.

You will then be thrown into a job for which you’ve had little training and the doors will open to people who haven’t slept since the day before Thanksgiving each bearing a coupon for an HD wide-screen TV. There will be exactly one for sale.

But here’s the good news: stores are already looking for employees to help man the seasonal sales. For those searching for jobs, both part-time and full-time, the holiday season marks the ideal time to land a retail gig.

As seasonal hiring begins, many stores expect to hire the same number of employees as last year. Best Buy plans to hire 29,000 holiday employees again. JCPenney stores will take on about 30,000 seasonal staff members, and Target also hopes to hire as many temps as they did last year. Starting in October, Limited Brands plans to add just over 50,000 for the second year in a row at its stores, which include names such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works. Walmart is looking to hire the same number as in recent years, but each store will hire locally.

John A. Challenger, chief executive of outplacement for Challenger, Gray & Christmas, expects to see a continued rise, but he doesn’t think the numbers will reach the 746,800 seasonal jobs held in 2006.

“There is still a lot of doubt about the sustainability of this economy,” Challenger recently told the Los Angeles Times.” Retailers do not want to be caught with too many workers at a time when many of the fundamentals needed for strong consumer spending remain a little shaky.”

If you’re a little worried about using a cash register or you’re worried you can’t outrun those Black Friday shoppers, check out this kick-back gig.

If you’re all about the kiddies this Christmas and you have become, well, a little hefty from all that couch surfing, then here’s the job for you!

Not only will you earn some extra holiday cash, but you’ll be a star!

You’ll have your own dressing room and be able to work from a throne-like chair to an appreciative audience. You’ll have a staff of photographers and helpers to do all the work, while you sit in splendor and welcome the little children as they approach you with awe. That’s right, you will be the Brad Pitt of the holiday season, Santa Claus!

The department store Santa has been a retail Christmas tradition for the last two centuries. Every year thousands of men are hired to dress up in the red suit, flowing white beard, black boots and spectacles and then sit and listen to children first recite how good they have been during the year and then describe the toys they want for Christmas. (And Mrs. Claus is often hired as well.)

This, of course, is a seasonal, temporary job which usually pays minimum wage and comes without benefits. However, considering that the only other positions open on Santa’s staff are in the toy-making division, which only employs elves and which is located at the North Pole, a local job paying minimum wage and no benefits isn’t that bad. From what I’ve read, the elves receive no pay or benefits and work long hours.

So consider yourself lucky this holiday season when you’re passing out free samples of a cheese log. A paying gig during the holidays is a gift that you’ll never return.

Looking to apply? Check out these links:

Best Buy – 29,000 jobs: bestbuy-jobs.com

JCPenney–30,000 jobs: jcpenney.net/careers

Target: target.com/site/en/company

Limited Brands – 50,000 jobs: limitedbrands.jobs

Walmart: walmartstores.com/careers

Macy’s – 65,000 jobs: macysjobs.com

Toys R Us – 45,000 jobs: toysrusinc.com/careers

Santa Claus Jobs: info@santaforhire.com

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