Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finding a Sweet Spot for Part-Time Jobs

In 2010, I worked at seven part time jobs, six of which are seasonal. Based on this experience, I am discovering my sweet spot for characteristics of retirement part-time jobs. Here are some elements of the sweet spot:
  • Low time commitment. For me, fewer than 10 hours per week and fewer than 4 hours per day is the best match. More hours would meaningfully reduce personal time. Three of the part time jobs meet this criteria and four don't.

  • High personal development. Jobs that enable personal growth and learning are a great match. Four of the jobs meet this criteria and three don't.

  • Good perks. Jobs that have non compensation benefits such as free or signficantly discounted products and services are desirable. Four of the jobs meet this criteria and three don't.

  • Good wage. Initially, it didn't matter that some of my jobs were paying slightly above minimum wage. However, in the future, jobs that pay at least two times minimum wage will be a good match. Three of jobs meet this criteria and four don't.
  • My two teaching jobs meet all four criteria. My technical advisor job meets three of the four criteria, missing only in the perks category. My financial services job meets two criteria, missing in the hourly commitment and wage categories. Of the remaining three jobs, two meet non of the criteria and one satisfies one criterion.

    For now, I plan to continue the two teaching and the technical advisor jobs. The time commitment is reasonable. One teaching job requires two hours a week, 12 times a year. The other teaching job varies from four to eight hours every two weeks. The technical advisor role averages about five hours a week. The teaching jobs pay two to three times minimum wage and the technical advisor job pays significantly above minimum wage . I am learning a lot from these jobs. Also, the teaching jobs have free or significantly discounted service for children of employees.

    I also plan to keep the seasonal financial services job one to two more years. The access to virtually free, unlimited educational training makes this job worth it. However, if I can't reduce the hours or increase the pay, I probably will drop this job in two years.

    Finally, I plan to drop the other three jobs that meet one or zero criteria. Also, in the future, I will only apply to part time jobs that satisfy at least two, preferably three, of the criteria.

    For more on New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2010 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


    TR said...

    It would be nice to see more details about these jobs, like what you do and how you got the jobs. This is my first time here so maybe I missed some previous posts. Also, is the commute to these jobs significant enough to take into account?

    Super Saver said...

    @ TR,

    For reference, I have been purposely vague about job details to maintain my anonymity. However, I can answer your other questions.

    Here's how I found the jobs. I got two of the jobs through contacts. The other five I got by inquiring directly or submitting an application to a job posting.

    Here are the details of commuting distance. One job is mostly work from home. Three jobs have a 3 mile round trip commute. Three jobs have a 20 mile round trip commute, about 15 minutes of driving time each way. I won't be doing two of the longer commute jobs next year.