Possible 3 part-time jobs, or 1 fulltime job. What should my strategy be?
February 15, 2011 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Possible 3 part-time jobs, or 1 fulltime job. What should my strategy be?

Hi. Well I went from unemployed and nervous to too many choices in like a week!?

I do both web and design work, so these are all for those type of jobs.

I think I'm getting this fulltime job I interviewed for last week. I'm set for the second interview with the head honcho, but I'm getting that they want me and this is just formality. This place pays my normal salary, is fulltime, the environment I think I want, good location, etc. It's perfect, except I really was hoping to get away from the 40 hr workweek.

But as I'm waiting for them to schedule the 2nd interview, got a call from 3 others asking for a temp or p/t positions. One is working remote from home. The other is in house 10-20 hrs/week. It's a "big" name place that would be good experience. Then another temp position, for another "big" name place.

So, it's 2 "big" name part-times with a 3rd gig working remote, which supposedly is also a "exciting" type of place.

Then, there's that one, sole, single, fulltime job. The place is not a "big" name.

I really don't care for names, but it's industry experience and free time I'm going after.

Also, I don't even know if I'd get all 3. I'd still have to interview and get picked. I might get just one? Maybe 2?

But that's why, if I get this fulltime job first, do I pass it up and then go interview at the 3 other places? What if I get none? It's only worth it if I know for sure I'd get at least 2. All 3 ideally. I'm confident I'd get 1, 70% on the other 2.

Also, if I do get the fulltime job, I'd be starting soon. So I wouldn't be able to secretly interview for those 3 on the side.

So I'm just wondering, from experience, which option sounds better? One stable fulltime, small name, good pay, "happy working conditions", but back to the 40 hr workweek which I hate, or 2-3 random, interrelated, p/t, less pay, "big name" gigs... Giving me wide experience, networking, and mostly, that FREE TIME??

posted by Like its 1997 to Work & Money (19 answers total)
i wonder if all that free time would actually materialize when you're serving 3 masters. 1 full time gig would look better on your resume later (companies love stability and loyalty). if you really hate the full time and think the stress of maybe losing any of the p/t-temp jobs at any moment is worth it, then go for the p/t. i prefer the solidness of full time work and not having to juggle a lot of p/t-temp stuff all against each other.
posted by nadawi at 9:09 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you want industry experience, and you're focused on web and design work, then you essentially are looking for something that gives you the best opportunities to cultivate your portfolio.

Either option has tradeoffs. It sounds like you're pretty clear on the tradeoffs for the FT gig, but how much have you looked into the tradeoffs for the PT work? Those may be great opportunities, or they could be royal pains-in-the-ass if you have unreliable and/or difficult (e.g. - don't pay on time, or at all) clients.

Based on your description, it sounds like you value the freedom and portfolio-building opportunities offered by the "big name" PT gigs. I would say go for that, but make sure you're clear that there's more risk, you may need to network more to bring in more clients (never a bad thing anyway), and you're going to have to deal with financial, insurance, and tax responsibilities that you wouldn't otherwise with a stable FT job.
posted by hampanda at 9:18 PM on February 15, 2011

I think the stress of having 2 or 3 people you have to report to, even part-time, is way, way worse than the stress of the 40 hour work week.

Also, you say that this full time job is perfect, except for the 40 hour week thing. Maybe, once you've shown them how much you can rock your stuff, they'll be willing to let you be a little more flexible with your time as long as you're still being completely awesome at your job.
posted by Night_owl at 9:19 PM on February 15, 2011

Which job offers healthcare coverage? Pick that one.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:19 PM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]

Yeah, what Thorzdad said. Also, one job is a lot easier master than 3 (possible, remember, you might not get 'em all or be able to balance them all) jobs.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:04 PM on February 15, 2011

Two jobs is often a hell of a stretch for most people, even if it's just part-time. Juggling three schedules might well just drive you crazy -- not to mention your bosses.
posted by Heretical at 10:24 PM on February 15, 2011

If you really hate the 40+ hour workweek, go for two of the other three. I think it's unlikely that you'll be able to handle three jobs without feeling frenzied.

I'm working two part-time jobs right now, one in which I go to an office, and one I do from home. It's a good change of pace, even though I'm working just as much as I did at full-time jobs. I picked this situation, even if it is weird, because it moves me toward my particular career goals much faster than working a single 9-5 (or in the software industry, a 10-7) would.

However, there are practical drawbacks, like getting your own health insurance. I happen to live in a state in which that's relatively cheap. You should look into how much reasonable coverage would cost for you.

Another thing to consider is that there's a difference between part-time and contract positions. Are the part-time positions guaranteed to last at least six months? If not, you're going to enter the contractor's life and will have to start hunting for another gig soon. If you mind that sort of thing, it could be a problem.

Basically, if you can handle the risk right now, you should take the risk and build your portfolio and get the experience you want. If you're in debt or have children to support, go for the unpleasant full-time job.

Also, are you sure you can't get the full-time job to give you a week or so to decide? Just say you like their offer and want to hear back from other companies before you decide. If they say, no, that's fine, and it didn't hurt to ask.
posted by ignignokt at 10:44 PM on February 15, 2011

Hey, I would memail you but you have it disabled...

Any harm in naming the two big companies involved? Are the part-time jobs with the companies themselves or through vendor companies? If they are through vendor companies, I really really caution you to not take more than two of them.

I've never, ever seen a job in the tech industry -- outside of small firms that weren't startups -- that wasn't 40+ hours a week.

For myself, I would always pick the 1 job as I know I multitask... not so well. I also wouldn't go necessarily for "industry" experience as for technical experience -- aka -- after working at this job for 18 months, I'm now able to design and implement a website of this complexity in this timeframe, and have these set of technical understandings of what worked and what didn't. Time spent doing a job, in itself, is rather meaningless in tech. (You probably already knew this.)

Before you take the job though, interview your co-workers-to-be. See how they like the work or what perspective they have on it. See what sort of tension and politics there are in the office. (Through this, see if there's a culture of openness and honesty.)
posted by Exonym at 11:17 PM on February 15, 2011

I've worked three part-time jobs in the past and how have a single full-time job. The hours at the single job are longer--55-60/week--but lemme tell you, only having to go one place makes everything so much easier. I've only got one set of job responsibilities, one commute, and one chunk of time out of the day that I spend working. It's a big one, but it's all at once.

The three part-time jobs gig was M-F from 8:00AM-11:00AM, then a few days a week from 2:30PM-11:00PM, then a day or so a week from 6:30PM-9:00PM.

Doesn't hurt that I make more than twice as much as a lawyer than I did in those three jobs, but hey, even if I was making what I was then the stress of running around all over town for potentially 12 hours a day was just nuts.

YMMV, obviously, but for me it's a no-brainer.
posted by valkyryn at 5:14 AM on February 16, 2011

Small point to consider: Do any of the part time positions have non-compete agreements that you would have to work around?
posted by deadcrow at 5:22 AM on February 16, 2011

Go for 3, you'll get to make 3 sets of contacts and you're spreading your risk.
If you take the 1 job then you've got all eggs in one basket and the terro of becoming part of BAU.

Agree about if possible about meeting your co-workers. In my experience a team of good people without any particular skills can learn most things and deliver. A set of people with skills who aren't a team will fail. I would be more concerned about the people you work with than the work.
posted by Damienmce at 5:23 AM on February 16, 2011

Speaking as a freelancer: You have one solid offer and three leads. I would personally go for the one ready to put ink on paper.

There's also the matter of duration. Temp jobs at a design shop sound to me like "We're bringing you in to complete project X, and then you're outta here." If you do go for multiple temp, part-time, or contract jobs, make sure you are considering both the next couple of months of cash flow... and also next year's.
posted by Andrhia at 5:44 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

A friend has ridden the temp/contractor job roller coaster. Seems like a great idea, but then in three months when all the perm jobs that seem to have materialized right now are GONE, then you're stuck with nothing. It's possible that no matter how good you are, you could still end up out in the cold with the temp jobs.

Also: health insurance. PAID time off. Holidays! Corporate perks that you as a temp won't get.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:18 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Multiple bosses sucks. I used to do both front and back of the house at my restaurant. They'd make the schedule and I'd have to go between them to get it fixed so that I could actually do everything. Pain in the ass, and it was at the same place.

I'd go for full time work. With the ways things are right now I don't think it's a good idea to turn down work you know you'll have for work you might have.
posted by theichibun at 7:21 AM on February 16, 2011

Go for the full time! More stability and benefits, possibly.
posted by lettuchi at 10:06 AM on February 16, 2011

You'll be in for some disappointment if you think having 3 part time jobs will give you more free time than a 40 hour work week.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:52 AM on February 16, 2011

Well I think I'm leaning to the 40 hr fulltime job. Didn't consider the health ins, and this really is more 'sane' in terms of the logistics of it all.

Thanks this helps... Well, it's narrowing down my train of thought. I got an interview for 1 of the 3 jobs this week so I'll see if that could possibly be good enough to consider going for the other 2 and dropping the fulltime option-- But this is still a tough decision.
posted by Like its 1997 at 12:20 PM on February 16, 2011

I think that "logically" the full-time job makes more sense, but I have a feeling that you are like me- I respond better to and am more stimulated by a few part time things, not having t sit in one place all day, etc.

I have previously has two part-time jobs and a freelance, not-so-frequent gig and I actually preferred that to sitting an an office frolm 9-5. It was easier for me to focus and was better for me creatively. I think some people's minds respond better to different environments. I worked part-time in an office and part-time at the location of my choice, for two different employers, and I really liked it. However, money wasn't much of an issue because the jobs payed well for the cost of living where I was (not the US)

So, health care and job stability are also important factors in your decision. But I definitely understand why you seem to prefer the 3 part-time jobs to the one full-time one.
posted by bearette at 6:54 PM on February 16, 2011

yikes....I will proofread better next time.
posted by bearette at 6:55 PM on February 16, 2011

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