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Why I Kept A Part-Time Side Job For 3 Years After Getting My “Real” Job (Besides The Extra Cash)

From high school through college, like many people I spent evenings and weekends in a variety of part-time roles. And I thought that when I finally got that ~adult~ job I would only work 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. Cross that checklist item off.

(You can probably imagine where this is going…) However, insecurity with my first job contract led me to work an extra part-time job, working evenings and weekends on a front-of-house team at an event venue. I was lucky to eventually be offered a salaried position at my ~adult~ job, but I held onto that part-time job for the next three years.

Yes, I worked an extra part-time job for financial reasons. When I picked up extra shifts, it was with my paycheck in mind. Yet, I am profoundly grateful for that extra job for many other reasons.

1. Skill & Knowledge Gained

It sounds cheesy, but a part-time job can be a great opportunity to gain some new skills. During the “traditional work week,” I spend most of my time on a computer, so a customer-facing role was a great way to mix it up and talk to people face-to-face. Some of my friends can credit their service jobs with teaching them food/drink pairing knowledge, and other people know refereeing sports lets them practice being assertive. It may not seem glorious, but at the start of my event venue job, I learned the proper etiquette for radio communication, and I learned a great deal about accessible seating policies in public venues. No matter what you do, a part-time job can add to your “life skills” toolbelt.

…And Responsibilities

Depending on your position, it is possible to gain responsibilities in an extra part-time position that aren’t available in your other work. With the full-time office job I was working, company size meant a lack of vertical growth, especially in my department. Meanwhile, working front-of-house, I was able to grow into a part-time team lead role. I got to practice talking in front of groups, making decisions for a team, managing event payroll, problem-solving, and more. I am really thankful to my part-time job for letting me handle responsibility on a faster growth track than was possible with my ~adult~ job.

2. Friends!!!

I really did like all of my coworkers at my full-time job, but we were in a “professional” setting and never going to be the kind of pals who hang out at each other’s homes. Sometimes the competitive atmosphere at your workplace discourages friendships, or perhaps your closest coworkers are becoming grandparents while you live with roommates.

I made some of my best not-from-college friends in my twenties at my part-time job. Some were young professionals who needed a second job, some were working multiple jobs together instead of a single full-time position, some were students, some were retired. Working together at a part-time job let us get to know each other and become friends without any of the pressure or restrictions of a more corporate position.

3. Bonus Perks

Free meals? Early access to the season’s flavors of ice cream? Product discounts? Part-time jobs are a great way to get your hands on extra employee perks. A former manager of mine picked up hours at J. Crew every Christmas specifically for the discounts. As event staff, I got to see countless concerts and shows for free and even got the occasional comp ticket. An all-time favorite moment was watching a Marina and the Diamonds concert. Not only was I seeing one of my favorite performers FOR FREE, but I was actually BEING PAID to be at the show.

*****

In conclusion, I may not have always planned on having an additional part-time job. And certainly not everyone has the lifestyle that requires, or permits an actual, out-of-house, part-time job. But when you do, you can embrace the learning opportunities, the people you meet, and the extra perks you can receive while you are there!

Cat is a bibliophile based in the Pacific Northwest. She strives to balance staying in and reading with going out and trying new things.

Image via Unsplash

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