Thursday, March 22, 2007

Working at Dip 'n Dots for Debt & Other Part-Time Job Tips

A neighbor (in her 20s) was wearing a Dip'n Dots uniform while walking her dog. I was puzzled by the ice cream store uniform.

"I thought you worked in a doctor's office," I asked her.

"Still there. Dip 'n Dots is my part-time job," she explained.

She works a second job in order to pay off a student loan and auto debt. Her part-time work experience reminded me of the recent post from Tired of Being Broke , a 20-something writer who has recently posted about a second job that is used to pay off student loans. I've also held a long series of part-time jobs to pay my bills. Indeed, finding a second job to pay off debt or to make ends meet is one of the moves recommended in the book Help! I Can't Pay My Bills by Sally Herigstad, a contributing writer on MSN Money.

When I lived in Manhattan during my 20s, I worked for Editor & Publisher magazine during the day and I worked at a restaurant at night. During my New York years, I also worked part-time as a book store clerk and shoe model. I found my various jobs through contacts, roommates and luck.

  • waitress: I found this job based on a tip from a roommate
  • shoe model: Tip from a waitress
  • book store clerk: I saw the sign while reading in an upscale bookstore.

My parents, especially my Dad, worked in the Public School System by day and worked different part-time jobs at night. My Dad worked in restaurants, a night club and even on a ship dock, where he unloaded cargo. (My parents even worked second and third jobs while attending graduate school). The extra money helped pay for our new house in the suburbs, family vacations, education and other costs associated with raising four children.

Next Thursday, I will provide tips from my dad and my neighbor about how they managed money, time and family while working two jobs. Here are coping strategies that worked for me:

  • Pick a second job that is either near your home or near your first job. A short commute reduces transportation costs and gives you extra time to chill. In New York, I was able to walk to the restaurant where I worked in the evenings.
  • Work for a flexible company: I always made sure the managers of my part-time jobs knew that I also had a full-time job. Sometimes -- but not always --their awareness provided me with a little more slack. They looked the other way if I showed up a few minutes late or if I needed extra time during a break. I didn't abuse their kindness.
  • Get to know your co-workers. I often swapped shifts with other co-workers and we also covered for each other in different situations. Fellow workers were also a good source of job leads, workplace tips and other insights. For instance, during one of my blue-funks, a middle-aged woman who worked the cash register told me: "When it begins to haunt you like that, you have to let it go." And now, about 20 years later, whenever I start to obsess about some problem or scenario, I think of my co-worker's advice.

This article has information and links about finding a part-time job.


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Clever Dude said...

Even though I make quite a decent salary (in non-DC standards, and sort of even DC standards), I applied for a part-time job at CarMax late last year.

I was declined. They probably wondered why a professional guy was applying to work where there's mostly high school and college kids.

Honestly, I think I'd be very good at selling cars (in an honest way). It would be more of a hobby to me that a job, and the perk would be the paycheck. Oh well, I can always try again another time. But now I got my blog.

Tired of being broke said...

Great post, I like....LOL

The tips you provided are great for someone looking. A part-time job has to be flexible and the benefits must out weigh the costs.

One thing I must add is that a part-time gig should not be at an establishment that will tempt you to spend the part-time pay check. My gig has worked out great so far, I have received a 10% raise and promotion so far.