Contract work may be the wave of the future. It basically means that an employer "contracts" with an individual who provides services for either a set duration of time, or for the life of a specific project.
I've worked my share of temporary secretarial jobs back in the day. It was a real bummer to know that I was getting $6 an hour with no benefits, and the company which acted as broker for my services to the company which needed a worker was charging $20.
Apparently, things have changed according to this Harvard Business Review (HBR) article. Some people want to work as contract labor.
One really interesting link in the HBR article: http://www.innocentive.com/. I've only checked it out quickly... but it sounds interesting. Anyone can post (for a fee) a "challenge." There is incredible range--from "Design of Novel Scaffolds for Selective Ligands/Binders of Hyper-Phosphorylated Tau Protien" (huh?), to "Science Fiction Stories Wanted: Predicting the Future of Healthcare" (yes, actually soliciting fiction), to "Mom's Medical Mystery" (parents seeking crowd-sourced help for stuff doctors haven't figured out).
Some offer large rewards (5 figures); others are more modest.
If you're interested in problem solving, perhaps winning some cash, getting lines on your resume, or just interested in looking into this site further -- it appears to be worth a look-see!