Serving two masters...
February 23, 2010 7:49 PM   Subscribe

I work two jobs...should I drop the part-time and focus on certifications/ self development? Or put off certs for the stability of additional income?

Short version: I work in IT. I still work my first "retail" job (2+ years) as a part time gig. The hours are unreliable; I work anywhere from 6-20 hours in any given week. My full-time job, that I have had for 1.3 years, pays better (I am salaried) and seems to care about me quite a bit more. My question is, should I quit my second job so I can focus on building my skill set and getting certifications for raises? Or would it be better to keep the second job and wait, given the state of the economy?

More details: My supervisor's supervisor at my full-time position says I will get a substantial raise once I get an MCITP certification. This will require a significant investment of time on my part, probably 20 hours a week for 1-3 months. I'd love to get the cert while keeping my part-time position, but it is a significant drain on me physically and mentally (there are many reasons for this, such as a new boss and a particularly bad commute during rush hour.) So it's pretty much one or the other.

I can't assert any more control over my hours at the part-time position than I already have. If I lowered my availability any further, I'd have to quit. Part of me thinks the position is more trouble than it's worth, but at the same time, running out of money with bills still due would be very troublesome indeed.

Reasons for Quitting:
--Cleaner schedule.
--More time to focus on full-time position.
--Ability to pursue certifications.
--More sleep/mental health.
--Competition at full-time job could theoretically move ahead of me and throw off my advancement plans, hurting me long-term, if I don't build credentials.
--Ultimately, I am expendable in the retail environment; my coworkers like me but the business is pretty cutthroat.
--New boss could cause drama/conflict in department, if history is any indication.

Reasons for Staying
--Additional income; money is still tight sometimes.
--Employee discount. Got my own place a few months ago and this has definitely helped me get decent house-stuff.
--Good friendships at part-time position.
--Don't want resume to show too much job-shuffling.
--Still enjoy part-time position, despite many complications.
posted by Phyltre to Work & Money (8 answers total)
How much is the raise? How much do you make an hour at the part-time job? Figure out how much you'd forgo in wages at the part-time job while studying for the cert, then consider the raise you'd get and how long it'd take to make up the forgone wages.

My guess is that the better long-term investment is the cert.
posted by downing street memo at 7:53 PM on February 23, 2010

Something to note: Your list of Reasons for Quitting are revolve personal and career growth and stability. Your Reasons for Staying revolve around convenience.

I say scale back on expenditures (there's always something), build up a little nest egg so that you'll have a safety net and won't run out of money for bills and quit the retail job.

And unless you're trying to make a career of it, leaving a retail job is pretty much status quo.
posted by griphus at 7:57 PM on February 23, 2010

(Uh, just to be clear, that last part was re: your resume and job-shuffling.)
posted by griphus at 7:58 PM on February 23, 2010

I used to be you.
is there any way to work 1 night or weekend shift per week, consistently. (Play it to the manager that this is the only way to keep a good longtime employee) and be the go-to guy for subbing?
posted by k8t at 8:16 PM on February 23, 2010

It doesn't sound like you're saying that the income from the part time job would necessarily impact you right away, just that (and this is how I'm reading it) if you quit the part time job and only have your full time job, should something happen there you may regret quitting the part time job?

I've worked in retail also and I also made good/fun friends there and it was a grand old time but the reality is that if you lose your full time job then the part time job's income will probably not be enough anyway. Sounds like you're saying that since you're making a little extra income from it you should just hold on to the job which is not a bad choice but you seem more ambitious in wanting to get certification and getting ahead and that's why you're at this crossroad.

Personally I would quit, study for your certification and pass it. See if the company will pay for part or all of it. And if it works out that that big raise doesn't come, you'd already have your certification and be in a better position to go work somewhere else.
posted by eatcake at 8:54 PM on February 23, 2010

Definitely make your certification happen. Try k8t's idea of pitching to your manager the idea of going down to one shift per week temporarily, if you really want to hold onto the job. If that doesn't work, then stock up on the items you need using your discount, get your friends' phone numbers, and leave that job. You'll be better off in the long run. I've had those part-time, fun jobs that are hard to leave, even if it doesn't make sense with my long term goals, but you've just got to keep focus on your long term goals and satisfaction.
posted by JenMarie at 9:09 PM on February 23, 2010

It seems like a no-brainer; quit the retail job and pursue the certification. You'll end up working the same number of hours during the day for greater reward. You'll be in a position to better yourself financially in the long-term. If, after 1-3 months, you're finding it hard to survive financially, get another part-time job.

I wouldn't really worry about job-shuffling when it's part-time and in the retail sector; if you're moving into the IT world, they're going to care about your IT experience and your certifications. If it's 2 years or 3 years in a previous retail job, you're not going to cross a lot of thresholds for prospective jobs for having another year of retail experience.
posted by Hiker at 3:25 AM on February 24, 2010

staying in one retail job for 3 years is not "job shuffling". In fact it's quite rare.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:32 PM on February 24, 2010

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