Thursday, January 28, 2010
I've been having countless conversations with friends these past few weeks about the pros and cons of getting a second job. Now that I've taken a financial class and am signed up to help facilitate a group for next term, my friends think I am now the expert. False. But I do have some opinions about this subject from both personal experience and from that of the results of my friends.
So, if you're considering a second job as a means of getting ahead financially, saving more, having more disposable income, or paying off your debt - lets chat. When I moved to Tampa I became obsessed with the idea of being debt free and financially responsibility. I was 2 days out of college and already feeling overwhelmed with all that was ahead of me. My solution? I got a second job.
Now, for me this was a great experience. I was making an extra 500 bucks per month in cash that I was chucking straight towards paying off my car. I was able to pay it off in less than a year, at which point I got rid of my second job. Because the goal was not to get rich by never having time or energy. The idea was to work hard for a period of time to get myself out of the hole. Once that was achieved I was ok to let go of my second income and live simply.
Here are my cautions about second jobs:
They will zap you of time and energy. This often times results in counter productivity. When you're tired and busy you are more likely to spend money eating our or doing takeout (bad for the wallet AND the waistline). You are more likely to impulse buy due to higher level of stress. It is easy to let your 'real job' suffer because you don't have as much left to give. This can really be a trap that keeps you from promotions or advancement. You do not want this to happen. Lastly,you are more likely to hate your life because you don't really get to have one...
But if you're going too...
Second jobs can be a great way to meet short term goals! Taking a 'seasonal job' to help fund Christmas shopping or a summer job to offset the cost of books for school are great examples. For me it was paying off my car because I hated the idea that really someone else owned my car because of debt. For quick fixes you can bear down, be serious, and really put 100% of your extra income towards your goal. But be willing to let it go when it's over...life is too short to work around the clock.
Oh last word of caution...if you're trying to get a second job to get ahead do not choose somewhere in which you will spend as much as you make! Example: I once got a 'for fun' job at Coach (handbags). I loved that job. Everything about it. But I loved the discount the most...so much so, that I'm pretty sure they MADE money off my working there. So friends, be smarter than the 18-year-old version of me.