The last thing any of us need right now is another job, but some of us don’t have a choice. Since the price of everything has gone up—and the likelihood of a raise has gone down—many need to supplement their incomes just to get by.
But what to do? What are the best part-time jobs out there? Can you really get another job if you already work a 9-to-5? Will you have the time? The flexibility in schedule? Are there any jobs that just require a few hours a week? Will it pay enough to make it worth it?
There are actually many options out there for people looking to make some quick extra cash. Some part-time work requires specialized skills, but not all. With some research and some specific goals, you can find the perfect side work for you.
This area is actually booming right now. Even with massive layoffs, work still needs to be done and companies are finding it cheaper to hire part-time contractors. Most of these jobs require certain skills or education—accounting, computer programming, editing, and marketing are examples. With contract work, you will often make a higher hourly rate because they don’t have to pay for your benefits or wasted hours surfing the net. Plus, many have flexible hours and telecommuting options. Look under the “Gigs” section on Craigslist for opportunities. Also, think about places that specialize in what you can do—maybe you can write software documentation for Oracle or do graphic design work for a local non-profit. Just remember that most companies don’t pay payroll tax on independent contractors, so make sure to do the math or talk with an accountant about what you should be setting aside.
Food/service industry work has very flexible scheduling and little responsibility. Plus, with many of these jobs, you leave with cash at the end of each shift. At Starbucks, half-time employees are eligible for health insurance, stock options, and retirement savings. Local restaurants may need part-time servers, hosts or bartenders. Check out catering companies—they always need people and it’s quick money. Also, many of these jobs feed you—a free meal is always welcome!
Luckily (well, if you can really call this mess “lucky”), our economic nosedive is happening at a time where seasonal work is aplenty. Retailers (e.g. Macy’s, Walmart) always need help during the holiday season. And, since students often go home during the holidays, many local businesses in college towns might need help. Go to that Christmas tree lot and see if they need help, or the local mall to find a job as an elf or Santa himself. Delivery services like UPS and FedEx hire additional drivers during the holiday season. Where do you buy Christmas presents? Toys“R”Us? The Gap? On top of that extra money, you could also get an employee discount.
Turn Your Hobbies into Cash
Think about what you’re good at and enjoy doing, whether you get paid for it or not. Maybe it’s making jewelry, clothes, potholders, or cupcakes. You can try to sell your stuff on eBay or etsy, but you can also work in your own backyard. In San Francisco, the “tamale lady” is a local hero—she rolls her cart around the bars at late hours and sells tamales to the partiers. You can get permits to enter office buildings—imagine how much money you could make selling brownies and cookies to workers during the 3 p.m. slump. When you think about it, you can do whatever you want, especially in bigger cities. I’ve seen everything from a guy selling umbrellas to water and soft drinks on the city streets.
Follow Your Passions
Do you spend way too much money on wine? Work for a wine shop to get that discount. Do you go to the museum every weekend? Be a guide. Maybe you love fine cheeses—check out the local specialty markets. Love expensive makeup? Work part-time for Sephora. If you spend $60/month on coffee, work for a coffee shop. (All Starbucks employees get a pound of coffee a week.) Think about places that have to throw away their products at the end of the day/week (e.g. grocery stores, bakeries) and take home some extra produce or donuts. You’ve heard of a friend with benefits, why not a job with benefits? If you have to work, why not make it something you’re interested in?
Still don’t know what to do? Consider these ideas:
- Tutor people in areas like GREs and SATs, foreign languages, and computers
- Teach a class at a community center; they have courses on many topics, including knitting, cooking, software, and dance
- Check out a temp service (e.g. Kelly, Manpower) to find work doing data entry, transcribing, filing, or answering phones
- Coach a local sports team or give piano lessons
Desperate times call for desperate measures—instead of feeling broke and despondent, get out there and earn some extra cash. Just remember, it’s not forever. Be proud that you can adapt with the changing times and who knows, maybe you’ll have a little fun, too.