Career Planning Links

Weigh Pros and Cons before Taking a Second Job

If you want an extra job, consider trying your hand at another profession, one that enables you to garner new skills. By diversifying your professional skills you make yourself more attractive to employers and you also build personal confidence.You may also wish to find a job that offers secondary benefits, like the opportunity to make new friends or network.

Be realistic about the time involved in a second job, and consider the impact it might have on family. Pets, too, are a consideration. Think about any hobbies that you may have to forgo, and what else you may have to reshuffle in order to meet all of your obligations.

If you think you need a second job, but have reservations about moonlighting, be sure to consider all options before making your decision. If you’re trying to pay off credit card debt, think about how you might accomplish this with the income you have now.To do this you’ve got to have a good understanding of where your money goes each month. Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns. Note your monthly income at the top. Write down your basic monthly expenses in the left column. These should include rent or mortgage, student loan, utility and household bills, credit card bills, your car payment, gas, and any work related expenditures. You should also note in this column the money you put in savings each month. If you have a separate emergency fund, include the amount you deposit into that account as well. Total it up and subtract that amount from your income. What's left over is your disposable income—the money you can use to pay down that credit card debt.

Next, track your spending for a few weeks to get a good idea of how much you spend on things other than your basic expenses and what you deposit into savings. Write everything down, even if it's as insignificant as a pack of gum. Note those items in the right column of your page and add them up.

Now, think about how to reduce your expenses. Review your list and decide what you can live without until you’ve paid down your debt.

You might also consider transferring your credit card debt to a low-interest credit card, but beware. Some offers look great on paper—“a fixed low-rate for 12 months”—but, if you make one late payment, your interest rate shoots up to 15 percent. Be sure and read the card’s terms carefully. Also, look for card with no balance transfer fees and no annual fees. Consider applying for a credit card from a credit union. The interest rate can be several percentage points lower than bank-issued cards.

If you assess your financial status and determine that you must take a second job, try to approximate the wage or salary you’ll earn—and then figure out how long you’ll have to work to meet your goal.

Always keep your goal at the front of your mind. And who knows, a second job you may lead you to another, more fulfilling career.