Posted by Sheryl on October 19, 2011
This is a guest post from Sheryl (a.k.a Cdn Gwen) in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
Just after I signed for my mortgage, I ran into a serious cash flow problem. Some of my expenses went up (such as car insurance) that I didn’t expect when I was figuring out if I could afford to buy my condo. I had already put in a request for a salary review and was waiting for the outcome of that. In the interim, my net pay covered my monthly bills not including food or any other “luxuries”. So I did the only thing I could think of to solve the problem, I took a second job.
In my day job, I rarely talk to the public, instead I deal with paper and numbers. In my “second” job, I’m on the front lines, customer service at a sod farm. The increase in hours that I worked and the money stress left me utterly exhausted. This 40 year old body cannot handle 65 hour weeks like it could when it was 20. Sunday was my day off. I slept, ate, rested, napped, any thing to recharge my batteries for another long week. I got through it by reminding myself that it was short term, and by watching my emergency fund get replenished.
Being a seasonal business, the hours they needed me to work decreased at the end of June. I worked for 6 hours on Saturdays, and no evenings during the week. I cannot say I was disappointed. My main job income had been increased (in my industry we are lucky if we get an increase once every 5 years). While I still have to watch every dollar, if I’m frugal with groceries, I can put extra payments on my debt, and not panic when I discover an unexpected expense (more on plumbing problems later).
At the end of September, the second job didn’t need me at all any more, and has asked if I’ll come back next year. This got me thinking about other times I’ve done the two job life, and the differences between then and now.
A plan needs to be in place. Previously when I picked up a second job, I found we would eat restaurant or store prepared food more, we would fight more about chores not getting done, and I always felt like I needed a holiday after I stopped (get rested, or rewarded for my efforts). But there was never any “more” money in the bank at the end to pay for that holiday, or for anything else.
This time, there was no “extras”. No eating out or “day-vacations”. The boyfriend helped wherever he could, whether it was making meals, doing my home chores for me, and generally making sure that I could put my full attention and energy to making that extra money, and keeping it. I feel that having a plan and support are crucial to the success of working extra to help get ahead.
Will I do the second job again next spring? I think I will (providing my support is there again), but I will definitely not work quite as many hours, maybe just Saturdays and 3 nights a week.
Have you worked a second job? Any tips to help make it successful?