Time for a blunt, honest post, hooray!
I just applied for a part-time job. I feel defeated.
I shouldn’t. I know that lots of people work more than one job. And I also know that D and I are going to need some additional income if we want to afford a wedding in NYC (even a bargain-savvy, partly DIY, nothing fancy one) in the next three years. While we both have full-time jobs, the cost of living in NYC, student loan payments, and (in my case) almost negligible pay increases after four years and a Masters, are all forcing our hand. D does some freelance work for extra income, but my job doesn’t have any natural transitions into freelancing*. So here I am.
When I was in high school, I went to a high-performing public school. I lived in a good school district, and was in the most challenging programs. For that reason, applying to community college was scoffed at. It shouldn’t have been, but it was. Going to college was seen as a right, not a privilege, and “college” meant a four-year college. It didn’t have to be a small, private one with resort-like amenities, you just had to be able to get your Bachelors without transferring. That was dumb and small-minded of us as teenagers, so why is my mind drawing that comparison once again? How I should be judged for having to take on another job when I already have a nine-to-five?
Applying for a part-time job to supplement the income of my full-time job seems like a failure. I get by just fine normally with the income I’m making (and should be thankful to have that job, to boot), but my take-home pay doesn’t give me enough wiggle-room to throw a bunch of money into a wedding savings account. Some, but not a lot.
More honesty time: I put a decent amount of money into retirement each month, in terms of the percentage of my paycheck. In fact, without contributing to my 401k, I probably wouldn’t have to get another job. But to me, putting money away for later comes first. I can’t imagine putting my retirement savings on hold for one, two, three years as I try to accelerate my wedding fund. Since I got my first job in retail as a 16-year-old, my family has always emphasized the importance of saving for later on (and that was before the recession, remember back in the day when people had job security and could afford mortgage payments?).
So, okay. I probably don’t need a part-time job. I’m not scrimping and saving and living paycheck-to-paycheck, and I don’t want it to sound like I am. I just didn’t expect to need to make the decision between drastically changing my lifestyle (not going out with friends on weekends or buying books) and getting another job to help me pay for a party I want all of my friends and family to enjoy. And I’m not going to cut corners on that, because you only get married once and I’d rather work a few extra hours to invite more friends than not.
I sort of liked working in retail. It won’t be so bad. I’m being pickier than I should be in applying for positions, so who knows if I’ll even find something. If not, there are other options: creating a super-successful niche blog and monetizing. Winning the lottery. Removing my credit card from Amazon.com so I don’t buy books for Kindle every two days.
I can do this. Even writing it down I feel better. So thanks for reading.
*A friend of mine suggested helping families fill out their FAFSA (financial aid) forms. While I am unfortunately an expert at that, I would feel terrible charging people for advice/assistance they should be able to get for free. Those that need the most help with their FAFSA are the ones least likely to have extra money around to pay a consultant. So I suppose I do have some work skills that lend themselves to consulting or freelancing, but none that I wouldn’t feel guilty charging for.