I want to work part-time.
December 22, 2014 1:01 PM   Subscribe

I recently got a job as a public librarian. This is the first time I've had a permanent, full-time job and I've realized that it's not for me. I think I'd be much happier with the hours and flexibility of part-time work.

Ideally, I'd like a job that pays $20+/hour and is about 20 hours a week, but offers opportunities to pick up more hours if I want. I have a BFA in Theatre, an MA in English, and a MLIS. My job experience includes both public and academic libraries, a tiny bit of work in communications, and some TA'ing during my MA. The part-time work I'm looking for doesn't necessarily have to be related to my education or experience, but I'd prefer to not have to do more schooling. What can I do?

Also, what do I do when applying for jobs that I may be overqualified for? Do I take some degrees and/or experience off my resume? Do I somehow make it clear in my cover letter that I'm looking for something different than what I was educated for? Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
posted by toby_ann to Work & Money (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Lots of librarian jobs pay $20+/hour and are part-time (and taken by people with multiple degrees). Can you just start looking for a part-time gig instead? Or ask about your hours being reduced? Maybe there's a half-timer around who'd love to be full-time.

However, if by "it's not for me" you mean librarianship in general, then I got no suggestions. Sorry.
posted by jabes at 1:11 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

The public library system I work for has tons of p/t librarian jobs, and opportunities to work extra hours if you want to (filling in for people on vacation, mat leave, etc.), but I have no idea how common or uncommon that sort of arrangement is.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:47 PM on December 22, 2014

about 20 hours a week, but offers opportunities to pick up more hours if I want

Jobs where you can set your own schedule like this are very rare in my experience. Usually (in the US nowadays) it is the employer who dictates how many hours you'll be needed, expecting you to ramp up or down the number of hours on the employer's whim, or else suddenly discover that you are no longer needed. There are definitely exceptions, but I think they have more to do with specific employers (for example, a specific library, or a specific library director) than with entire fields of work. You might want to ask people in your professional association for librarians which employers are known for offering and supporting the kind of schedule you're looking for.

Someone I know absolutely hated their first full-time job in a public library, and started to doubt that librarianship was for them. Luckily they applied to a full-time public library job in the next town over, got the job, immediately loved it, and they've been very happy there for 15 years or so. If someone is telling you to suck up bad conditions because that's what working a permanent, full-time job in a public library is like, take it with a grain of salt, and apply for a different library job before you give up on what you trained for.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 1:54 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Where I live, there are no full-time librarian jobs to speak of, and everyone with a degree works 2+ PT library jobs to meet ends meet and picks up shifts at other libraries as well... I had thought that's what it was like everywhere. I assume you have checked your state commission job boards for a part-time job in your field, but if you haven't, that could be a place to start?
posted by epanalepsis at 1:59 PM on December 22, 2014

Response by poster: I live in a smallish Canadian city. I've been looking at library job postings for a few years and have only ever seen one part-time position.

And my desire to work part-time has less to do with my career and more to do with the sort of lifestyle I aspire to. I would love to work part-time as a librarian, but, as noted above, I don't think that's possible.
posted by toby_ann at 2:15 PM on December 22, 2014

Dog walker, private tutor, UberX driver come to mind, but these are all jobs that work best in a wealthy city where clients have a lot of disposable income to spend on premium services that they pay high prices for.

In poorer places, you are more likely to see a situation where there are more people who want to work than there are hours available to be worked.
posted by deanc at 2:23 PM on December 22, 2014

You should definitely look into jobs where you can be an independent contractor. Like deanc says, stuff like dog walking and tutoring comes to mind. My friend (well she has a master's in teaching) makes $60 USD tutoring.

If you live near a university, see if they have jobs open in a writing center. My SO did this in grad school (he was an English major and getting his MBA). It was sortof a TA position as I believe he did some grading but he also met with students.

In your cover letter definitely state that you're looking for a PT job for a work-life balance or whatever. I recently hired for a PT position and it was obvious how many people really wanted FT but were applying to everything because they were desperate. The ones that knew this was a PT position and conveyed their interest in it in the cover letter went to the top of the pile.
posted by radioamy at 2:49 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

In the local government agency where I work we use part time / 20 hour people for the majority of our staffing needs. Our actual full time employee number is 28, I believe, but we run up to well over a hundred seasonal and part time folks during our busy cycles.
posted by ezust at 3:19 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am in a MSLS program, but I cannot do an internship or anything in-person right now so I have been piecing together an income from various freelance writing and editing gigs. Based on what you've listed as your qualifications degree and experience wise, there are definitely high paying freelance writing and editing gigs you should be able to pick up. Some sites that you might want to check out are: FlexJobs (though you have to pay after a month or so), WriteJobs.info, guru.com, odesk.com, elance.com, INALJ virtual page (http://inalj.com/?page_id=56476) has occasional listings but has good links at the bottom of the page. There are more I can't think of right now! Feel free to message me for more details.

Good luck!
posted by Goldfinch at 5:16 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm in Canada too and most library jobs (around 80% last I checked) in public libraries are part time in my area. Have you looked at Library technician jobs vs librarian? Library technicians are almost all part time in my area and get paid about $30/hour. N'thing that the PT schedule really depends on manager. I worked in one library that gave me an awesome three days at 8 hours a day schedule, then four days off, then the three days working again, another that basically had me working seven days a week for three hours a day varying from early morning to late at night, another that made me work every single weekend and holiday shift so the FT's got them off, and another that gave me my schedule one day in advance and basically expected me to be on-call to work whenever they wanted me. And the schedule changed every time I suddenly got a new manager, so there was no permanence. You may lose access to health insurance, benefits, sick time, and vacation time above the minimum if you drop to PT, so be sure to check the offer thoroughly.
posted by saucysault at 9:39 AM on December 23, 2014

Try contacting libraries directly. I wouldn't even hesitate to visit personally to drop off a resume with the Director. At least here in the U.S., there are gazillions of part-time positions, particularly in the smallest libraries. How far are you from the border? Are you willing to move? :-)
posted by woodman at 1:38 PM on December 25, 2014

« Older What restaurant for a large gathering of 35+...   |   Accidentally caramel hair Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.