What are good, easy part-time jobs?
July 13, 2006 12:48 PM   Subscribe

What are good, easy part-time jobs?

When I got laid off, I spent most of my time looking for new jobs and freelance writing. I tried to get a job as a dog-walker but was turned down--they wanted people who would be with the organization long-term, not somebody who would quit once they got a new job. I would have returned to waitressing but then I wouldn't have been able to get my unemployment (I was looking for an office job.)

Have any of you supplemented income with part-time work? Other than, say, baby-sitting and waitressing, what are other part-time jobs that are good for people who want to earn a few extra bucks without dedicating a lot of time or working super-long shifts? (Mostly interested in positive, or at least not-bad experiences.)

posted by clairezulkey to Work & Money (26 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I've known several people who worked a few hours a week for the local paper inserting those color sales flyers. It was late-night work, but easy and paid okay. Maybe your local paper has the same need?
posted by JanetLand at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2006

I worked for a bit during my most recent period of unemployment grading standardized tests. If there's a place near you that does this they'll probably adveritse in local newspapers and on buses like the one here did. This is seasonal work, though, and since school is out for the summer...
posted by MsMolly at 1:12 PM on July 13, 2006

What about part time shifts at a library?
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:15 PM on July 13, 2006

Newspapers always want people to deliver the papers. You need a working car and it takes place in the early morning, but the work's hardly what you'd call difficult. I haven't tried this myself, but some of my friends did during high school -- one unexpected bonus is that by 7 AM you're already done, and you can do other things (look for more/different/better jobs?) with the rest of the day.
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:22 PM on July 13, 2006

I would recommend Valet. I did it all through College. If you don't have a problem with running and being outside, it's laid back, very flexible with hours, and they don't expect you to be with them forever. I generally made $10 - $15 / hr. Depending on the company setup, you won't have to pay taxes, which makes the job's pay worth considerably more.

Additionally, if you're clean cut and well spoken you can usually get staffed at a nice restraunt or somesuch, which many people I know have used to make contacts with businessmen and such. You might be surprised at what you can tell about a person when you're allowed inside their vehicle.

Finally, shifts generally don't run more than 6 hours, consisting of lunch and dinner shifts. This allows you to either work from 10-11am until 2-3pm, or dinner from 5pm until 10-12pm. You can make your own hours up till 1-2 weeks in advance, and if you need time off on short notice, they generally won't care as long as you get a live body there.
posted by WetherMan at 1:23 PM on July 13, 2006

Find something freelance on Elance- data entry projects can pay well.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:44 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Bank Teller. Good pay (here in New England around $10/hr) and benefits. Pretty mindless and stress-free, but not completely drudgery.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:45 PM on July 13, 2006

If you have a vehicle you could deliver pizza.

I did this for years while I was a student and it was a great deal.

I would work a friday night, 5 until midnight or 1am, and leave with $120+ cash in my pocket. 2 or 3 shifts a week and I had plenty of money. Different places will have different methods of payment but you should be able to find one that pays cash daily.

Also, this was easy work. Most of the drivers were stoned when they worked. I'm not recommending intoxicated driving, just trying to illustrate how easy this is. As long as you can read a map and can think fast, you'd be fine.
posted by utsutsu at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2006

I worked at a video store for three years and enjoyed that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2006

My brother worked as one of those cash takers/ticket stampers at a not-too-busy parking lot. He's ivy-educated, and said it was one of the best jobs he ever had because he got to sit in an air-conditioned box and read most of the day. Completely mindless and stress-free.

Then again, my brother is a bit of a slacker, and I can't imagine it paid more than 8 or 9 bucks an hour, tops.

I worked as an evening receptionist in a spa one summer and really liked that. Very laid back, calm atmosphere. Paid pretty well too.

If you speak another language, foreign language tutoring is a good way to make occasional, easy cash.
posted by np312 at 1:52 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Substitute teaching and indie video store were my 2 favorite low-impact jobs.
posted by john m at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2006

I found tech support for a local ISP to be quite enjoyable - although not sure how low-key that is nowadays - this was back in '98
posted by jimmy0x52 at 2:22 PM on July 13, 2006

I made money in school as a paid subject for advertising and product feedback. Get $100 to go in, listen to three different commercials and tell them which one you liked and why. Also had product tasting. One was for beer. Got $100 and all the beer I wanted to drink in an hour.

I found the job in the school paper and have seen it listed in a Penny Saver type publication.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:30 PM on July 13, 2006

art school model. good money just to stand there. although some times without clothes. some schools do not allow nude models and you can just wear a one-piece swimsuit.
posted by nimsey lou at 2:40 PM on July 13, 2006

I've heard about all kinds of options for medication/drug testing. Can't cite any right now because I don't think work is the appropriate place from which to google such subjects, but they're out there...
posted by sublivious at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2006

Manage a movie theater.
posted by frogan at 3:58 PM on July 13, 2006

Manage a movie theater.

I don't want to derail, but I'm going to have to disagree with that statement. Managing a theater of any size is a very stressful job. If you're stating this from experience, I'd be interested to know what theater you work at, and how many other managers are doing all the stressful work for you. On the other hand, working as an usher is a cake walk, and once you get the hang of it, being a projectionist is pretty easy too.
posted by bjork24 at 4:39 PM on July 13, 2006

Go work for UPS or FedEx
posted by parmanparman at 5:00 PM on July 13, 2006

If you're stating this from experience, I'd be interested to know what theater you work at...

Edwards Laguna Beach, circa 1987.

Granted, we had two screens ... and while I'm not saying managing a 25-screen megaplex is a cakewalk, the small art-house theaters are pretty lightweight.
posted by frogan at 5:05 PM on July 13, 2006

I worked part time at a grocery store a couple of years ago to support a theater habit. As it was a union shop, I was recieving health care benefits for maintaining 20 hours a week. Not a bad gig. The pay was, as you could imagine, nothing to write home about, but healthcare. . . The drawback was that it was only for the individual, no spouses or dependents covered. Now, I'm sure contracts aren't the same everywhere, but it's worth looking into, especially if you're otherwise un- or under-insured.
posted by fantastic at 5:24 PM on July 13, 2006

Indie coffee shop work is great. You get to wear what you want, listen to whatever music you want, and often choose (more or less) your own commitment level. If you only want two shifts a week, often they're cool with that. If you have any people skills at all and are willing to try to remember faces and drinks, you can get reasonable tips. Not to mention the laid back, friendly atmosphere I enjoy at the coffee shops I frequent.

Help-desk work can also be very low stress. Many large organizations have dedicated IT departments. These departments employ individuals whose main job is to sit by a phone til someone calls. Plenty of time to relax with the added bonus of feeling like you accomplished something when you solve a problem.

My biggest recommendation for this kind of work is to not get yourself into anything too big. Be very clear about the expectations and your own wants/needs from the work before you accept a position.
posted by yogurtisgenocide at 7:10 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

My current situation is similar to yours - I wanted a simple job that wouldn't take up too much of my time or energy for the last couple months I spend in this town.

I wound up working for a dry cleaner. It suit my utter lack of ambition quite well. The essential functions of my job are mindless, repetive tasks that leave my brain free to wander where it pleases.

My manager sees more turnover than a pastry chef, so my planned three-month tenure seems heroic in comparison to my coworkers. The pay is pretty meager, but I can hardly complain, as the most difficult part of my day is the commute.
posted by EatTheWeek at 7:32 PM on July 13, 2006

Response by poster: thanks everyone--this turned out to be a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. seems like the best jobs for this purpose are the ones we tend to take most for granted as consumers.
posted by clairezulkey at 7:58 PM on July 13, 2006

If you can type well and are good with Word and Excel, there are lots of temp agencies.

I'm a floater in a large law firm. There's no easier work, and the pay is very good.
posted by KRS at 1:24 PM on July 14, 2006

Ditto the temp agencies. I temp'd during all my college breaks. Though I knew how to type, I didn't want anything that strenuous. (And I got the impression the pool of temp candidates weren't stellar -- the temp agency woman was blown away with my spelling and grammar test results).

After one assignment, it was determined that I was "good" at answering telephones. So all I did was answer phones...for $10 to $15/hour, in beautiful air-conditioned offices, and read books and write in my journal.
posted by Pocahontas at 8:18 AM on July 16, 2006 [2 favorites]

Around here, part time library work is very poorly paid, very stressful and not easy to get.
posted by QIbHom at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2006

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