There comes a time in life when, upon inspection of your finances, you have to admit that you need a second job. It might not be a long-term decision, but there’s a gap in your accounts and you’re going to need to find some way to cover your expenses.
If you are content in your day job, the idea of throwing yourself back into the workplace for a completely different company is… well, let’s just agree it’s less than welcome news. You might acknowledge the necessity of it, but you probably don’t have high hopes for enjoying it. You’re going to do what you have to do to get your financial situation back on track, but that’s about as far as your expectations go.
Don’t worry: we’re not going to try and convince you that a second job could be a dream come true, because that would be a rather false impression to give. For the most part, taking on a second job — and experiencing how it impacts your life in a number of different ways — is going to require sacrifice, and it’s probably something you’re going to find uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. However, the financial necessity is what matters; so keep these “dos” and “don’ts” in mind to ensure that your second job doesn’t take as much of a toll on you as it otherwise might.
DO: Make Sure You Have Enough Time To Work A Second Job
Before you even begin the application process, you have to be sure that you’re going to have the time to spare. How is your time management at the moment? Does your day job, or your studying, take up so much time you’d have to give over your only free time to a second job? Or do you have a few loose hours that you could fill with another employment opportunity?
If you’re already maxed out time-wise — for example, you come home and only have time to eat before you have to rush to bed, and your weekends are clogged full of appointments — then you have to think through the simple logistics of a second job. If you’re really pushed for time, you might be better off modifying your expenses to cover your financial chasm, rather than trying to work a job in time that you just don’t have available.
DON’T: Apply For Jobs Too Far From Your Home
The convenience of a second job is something you have to take seriously, far more seriously than you do for your main job. A half hour commute to your office for your main employment is fine; in fact, it’s pretty standard. However, for a second job, an hour’s traveling per shift just isn’t going to be feasible. You’re going to spend more in transport costs than you’re likely to make with just a few hours a week in a second job, so keep your search as local as possible.
DO: Look For Jobs With Relatively Short Recruitment Processes
It’s important to remember that you’re not looking to change career here. That means that you’re going to want to find roles where you can be hired relatively quickly. Jumping through hoops and going through a multi-stage interview process for your day job is fine, but for a secondary income, it’s way too much hassle for what it’s going to be worth.
The service industry is going to be your best bet when it comes to short recruitment processes. Look for retail stores like Family Dollar or chains like Walmart, who have to hire huge numbers of staff on a regular basis, and won’t expect you to go through a month-long process before you’re offered a job. It’s feasible that you could fill out a Family Dollar application one week, and be hired for a trial period the next. Opt for jobs that are low-skilled and entry-level, which not only makes doing the job easier on you, but also means you won’t have to wait weeks before you can actually get to work.
DON’T: Take On More Than You Can Handle
It should go without saying but, let’s be realistic: everyone has a tendency to take on more than they can feasibly handle. If you’re only looking to work a few extra hours per week, don’t be tempted into taking a job offer that wants you to work 12 hours. Have a very firm plan in mind of what you want to earn and the time you’re able to give over to achieving this aim. You don’t want to find yourself so exhausted by your second job that it impacts your ability to do your full-time job.
DO: Ensure You Know Where You Stand In Terms Of Taxes
A second job might be a complicating matter when it comes to your taxes. You need to be diligent about keeping all of your payslips, especially if you’re not intending to still be in the job when tax time rolls around. It also helps if you keep a diary of all the days and times you have worked, which will make filling out your taxes far easier when the time comes to do that.
DON’T: Think Of A Second Job As A Second Job
Here’s the kicker: if you get yourself into the habit of just thinking of your second job as a second job, then it’s unlikely to work out for you. Of course, we’ve just spent the last few hundred words pointing out how important it is to put your day job above your second job– but this new advice isn’t quite as hypocritical as it sounds. You should see your main job as more important than your second job, but your second job is still pretty important. Don’t treat it as a joke that you’re not invested in; if you want to make it work for you, then you’re going to have to put the effort in– just not to the extent that you compromise your day job.
Filling a gap in your finances with a second job is a great idea, provided you manage to keep the above in mind. Happy (second) job hunting.