How Many Part-time Jobs…
Does it take to replace one full time job? More than I have currently! This month I have the following jobs – eBay consultant, crafts-person, editor, data collection assistant and archaeologist (yes, my advertising blitz of October has paid off in a small survey job which I completely underbid). Each pays on a different scale (commission, per sale, per page, per hour…) and the money comes in fairly small amounts at irregular intervals. So far my income in December – based on known jobs – will be around $700. Hopefully there will be a few more sales and projects in the 2nd half of the month. I have sold one cat bed from my Etsy shop and have another special order and a couple more beds almost complete and ready to list before the Christmas shopping period ends. The eBay job looks like it will go away soon as my friend is going out of business (for real this time as the landlord has rented her warehouse to someone else in January). I will be listing like crazy until then so check out the link on the blog – we have some nice collectible porcelain figurines listed currently.
But enough about the minutia of the jobs. I want to tell you the ways in which doing 4 or 5 different small part-time jobs differs from the nice full-time jobs I’ve had in the past! Well, obviously there’s no health insurance or guaranteed paycheck to begin with. There are too many bosses. There’s no stability as the jobs are either one offs (British slang – either I remember it from my years doing fieldwork in England or it’s from the British TV shows I’m watching on Netflix while knitting) or sales waiting to happen. Either way there’s just no way to plan or, more importantly, budget. When I get a payment for a cat bed I don’t know if I should tuck it under my mattress to pay rent or go ahead and put gas in the car!
And because I’m doing so many different things to make money my jobs sometimes collide with one another or overlap in ways that require me to do a bit of this and then a bit of that – a true juggling act. I’m pretty sure you can’t do anything well (or at least not as well as if you just concentrated on one thing) when you have multiple demands for multiple people. I don’t dare say no to anything so I stay up late, very late, most nights as I don’t feel like I can take a break from eBay listings or cat bed knitting. My work doesn’t stay nicely constrained to an office and the hours of 8 to 5 which makes it hard to separate it from my family time. When my daughter wants to have a private chat at 7 pm and I’m busy writing eBay descriptions or editing an article she feels ignored and I feel pressured.
Although I’m very happy to be making some headway in my varied income schemes, and we are keeping our heads above water, it’s still a very tenuous way to live and it’s stressful! Possibly it would be easier if I felt one ‘career’ would pan out and I could just concentrate on it (archaeology, editing..) but so far there’s no clear winner in the group!
I had a brief period of euphoria when a local environmental firm to which I had applied phoned me last week to say they would like for me to come in for an interview. It was brief because the next day they called back and said they were ‘rethinking their hiring strategy’ and weren’t sure they were ready to fill the position after all. So in the meantime I soldier on saying yes to everyone (except the kids who mostly hear ‘not now, Mommy needs to work’), feeling a bit frazzled but glad that we are getting by.
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