Debt Management

Moms: Finding part-time work tough, but possible


A mother’s schedule makes it harder to find a part-time job, but not impossible, if you just stop thinking like a job-seeker. Instead, think like a needs-filler

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Question for the expert

Dear New Frugal You,
Can you help me find a part-time job? I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last four years. I have a college degree in English. We thought that I could work a few evenings a week or on the weekends while my husband watches Kaitlin. It doesn’t have to be related to my degree. Anything would be fine. Is there any hope for me? — Kelly


Answer for the expert

Dear Kelly,
You have plenty of company. As of February, 2013, there were more than 1.8 million people who were looking for part-time work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So finding that perfect part-time job might be difficult and take a little more effort, but it’s not impossible. Let’s see if we can’t help you find a job that works for your family.

I’m going to suggest a number of different types of jobs. But please don’t limit yourself to them. Rather, use these ideas to get your own creative juices flowing.

One way to find a good job is to change the way you think. Instead of thinking like a job applicant, try to think like an employer. If you can help an employer solve a problem, you’re more likely to find work.

For example, many businesses depend on teenagers for part-time work. They quickly find out that it’s hard to get teens to work on Saturday night. So some employers (think fast food, pizza restaurants, etc.) might be happy to have someone reliable for weekend duty. Another problem fast-food owners face is closing time. They can’t be there every night and finding responsible people to close up can be difficult — especially if most of their employees are teens. You could be just the reliable adult they’re looking for.

Businesses that are open around the clock are another good place to look. Pharmacies especially need coverage for off hours, plus they’re more likely to appreciate someone who’s a little more responsible and mature.

Next, consider other jobs that aren’t as visible. One possibility would be finding a job serving at banquets. Hotels and convention centers have many events held in the evening or on weekends which would work well with your schedule. The pay is generally pretty good, too. Apply with the catering manager.

Something decidedly unglamorous, but profitable, would be to find work cleaning offices. Many businesses need someone to come in and clean after hours. The work is dependable and the pay can be good — especially if you don’t go through an agency. You may need to be licensed and bonded, but you can do that.

Technology has created new work-at-home opportunities. Many call centers aren’t really centers at all. They’re just a computer routing calls to people working at home. Typically, you can select your hours. Earnings in the $15 to $20 an hour range are not uncommon. It’s ideal if you like people and enjoy talking on the phone.

Given your English degree, you might consider tutoring. You’re qualified to help kids from grade school all the way up to college. Probably the best way to start would be to contact local schools to see if they have lists of approved tutors.

In a similar field, if Kaitlin is in school, you might consider finding work in after-school care. Many will allow you to keep your child with you while you work.

There are other jobs in which you could involve your daughter. For instance, she could join you as you walk neighborhood dogs or provide day care for another child.

Finally, consider becoming a reseller. Some moms buy clothes at garage sales and resell them on eBay or in consignment shops. Kaitlin could accompany you and might even learn the basics of frugal shopping. Don’t limit yourself to clothes; many people enjoy finding unique books, records or collectibles for resale.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find something immediately. There are lots of good people looking for part-time work. But, if you try I’m sure you’ll find something that works well for you and your family!

See related: Who needs you? A list of plentiful part-time job prospects, If your job’s uncertain, avoid new debt

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