Choosing a Second Job, or W2rking

As all three of you who read this blog know, I differentiate my two different jobs by the designations w1rk and w2rk. Because I can. W1rk is a 40 hr a week desk long-term temp gig. W2rk is a variable schedule retail permanent gig.

This is not my first time doing the Multiple-Gig Mambo. I’ve had several side gigs in my life, everything from being an Independent Sales Rep for two different cosmetics companies (more on that in a minute), to handscoring standardized tests, to baby sitting, telephone fundraising, and janitorial work. Some of these gigs have been rather excellent, and some of them have been utter, abject failures I’m still trying to recover from.

So, here’s some things I’ve learned to ask myself when considering a second job:

1) Can I really do this? TWICE I’ve signed up as an independent sales rep for two seperate cosmetics companies. TWICE. Why? Because someone told me I’d be really, really good at it. Which just proves those two folks were excellent salespeople, since I have a deep aversion to make-up, born of sensitive skin and 8 years as a competitive dancer. I don’t wear the stuff. I’m also really, really, REALLY horrible at sales. REALLY TRULY. Customer service? Oh, I’m a whiz at that. You tell me what you want, and I’ll bend over backwards to get it done for you.

You know your own strengths and weaknesses. Make sure this second job is something that exercises your A Number 1 skills and has support in place to aid you in strengthening your weaker skill sets.

2) Am I physically capable of handling this job AND my main job? – I know if w1rk involved any kind of standing or lifting, I would not be able to handle all the standing and lifting at w2rk. My stamina is good, but it’s not that good. W2rk also allows me to do longer shifts on the weekends, so while I’m averaging a total of 58.25 hours worked between both gigs, I’m tending towards 6 days of 8 hour shifts and one day with an 8hours-4hours schedule. I can both sleep and cook nutritious meals.

One summer when I was in college, I was doing about 75 hours of work a week at two very physically demanding jobs. I also decided I was lacto-ovo vegetarian and ate mostly ice cream and Oreo cookies, while dealing with the stress of my mother battling cancer. I almost landed in the hospital due to iron-resistant anemia. I had to quit both my jobs and rely on cash from Mom and Dad. Moral of the story? Don’t be me!

3) What’s it going to cost? – This includes actual cash in gas, bus passes, uniforms, and inventory. I have a personal rule: initial cash layout for a gig must be less than one day’s worth of net income. W2rk has uniform standards, and while shirts are provided, I had to purchase all-black shoes and a belt before I started. Right now a friend’s bugging me to get back into doing some contract web graphic design for him. It’d cost about $500 for the software I  need, and he’s only got one guaranteed gig, my cut of which will be $50. Yeah, hi? No.

If you’re going to be doing something that involves you keeping an inventory on hand, WORK IT, BABY! SELL SELL SELL! That inventory ain’t money in the bank until you cash your customer’s checks. If you have doubts about your ability to work it, baby, please go ahead and take a look at number 1 up there. We’ll wait.

4) What are the benefits for me working my tail off? – For a lot of people, this answer is going to be spelled with an $$$$. For me, though, it’s spelled ‘W2rk gives me health insurance’. Yes, you read it right, my part-time gig covers my health insurance while my full-time gig, being temp, doesn’t. So, in my case, the benefits of w2rking is… benefits!

Once you’ve weighed all these options, go ahead and put them aside for about a while and come back to them later. See them with a fresh eye and get a feel for how this will play out in your life. Then, make your decision.

I also found it’s helpful to reevaluate after 30, 90, and 180 days. Life changes quickly, and while last month’s obligations may have been finished, next month might serve up a doozy of a curve ball that will make w2rking impossible.

 If you have to quit your w2rk, it is NOT a failure. It’s a transition.


The Experiment

What happens when I put as much time and energy into keeping track of my finances as I do in keeping track of my fandoms? Let's find out!

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