Night jobs for the easily bored
November 13, 2006 3:16 PM   Subscribe

For various reasons, I need to pick up a second job. I live in a college town, and bartending is out... the competition for those jobs is fierce, yo. I'm not big enough to be a bouncer nor creepy/desperate enough to be one of those guys that walks around selling roses. What 'night' jobs are not usually advertised that I wouldn't hate?

Reason 1: $. Reason 2: $. Reason 3: $.

I have a good day job with flexible hours, and I usually work it 9-6. I've already applied as a limo driver after seeing a tiny 'help wanted' ad in the window of the local limo company. Something like that -- with moderate to low pay, night hours, and potential for tips would be a very good thing. I don't mind dealing with people, but don't like nightclubs ... of which there aren't many in this town. Most of the jobs that are 'advertised' or are normal for college students (i.e. Waiter) are filled.

Other criteria: Steady income, so consluting (sic) gigs are out unless they're server maintenance contracts. Haven't had much success getting those. Seasonal variation is OK, but a seasonal *job* isn't. I can do about 30 hours a week. Pay doesn't matter so much as long as I'm bringing in about $300 extra/month.

posted by SpecialK to Work & Money (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Pizza delivery usually ends up paying pretty well. The problem is that in a college town, competition for any jobs with flexible or evening hours will probably be fierce. The good news is that with a steady work history, you may be more attractive to an employer than a college kid would be. Plus, college towns tend to need more pizzas delivered than non-college towns do.

Good luck!
posted by decathecting at 3:23 PM on November 13, 2006

I was a valet at a fancy hotel. Valets and bellboys get paid well, if the establishment is ritzy enough. And night hours get paid better, as that's when the tips come in most, IME.
posted by koeselitz at 3:35 PM on November 13, 2006

I was in almost the same situation a number of years job (plus school) and needed a few extra bucks. I dunno your criteria for what you'd hate, but UPS was pretty kickass with good compensation for short hours. Plus, they have shifts pretty much any time of day. Most package handlers work pretty short shifts tossing boxes on or off trucks and you get benefits even working part time. (Medical, Dental, etc.)

It's worth a peek. It's not as strenuous as it night sound, either. :)
posted by braintoast at 3:39 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Are there any sporting/concert/theatre venues in/near your town? Most things happen at these places during the night, and usually pay fairly well. They also normally offer some variation in tasks, so boredom doesn't become an issue. It will probably have a little seasonal variation, but shouldn't be entirely seasonal.
posted by cholly at 3:39 PM on November 13, 2006

It's more early morning than night but you might want to look into delivering newspapers.
posted by redtriskelion at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2006

If you have good test scores, prep test companies are great money.
posted by k8t at 3:47 PM on November 13, 2006

Neither of these would get you tips, but what about as a ticket person or usher at your local theatre? Or being a front desk/security person in a high end apartment or condo building?
posted by echo0720 at 3:48 PM on November 13, 2006

I second pizza delivery if you can get it - I did it for half a year as a second job found that it was easy money, not hard work at all, and mostly driving around getting superb tips while listening to your music. good stuff.
posted by starr226 at 3:59 PM on November 13, 2006

A job as an attendant at a gas station can be surprisingly lucrative and slack. A friend of mine spent 8 years of his life getting paid to watch movies and play his guitar in the attendant's booth. I worked the graveyard shift at a gas station for about six months and spent most of that time and goofing off (not that there was much else for me to do). The money isn't great, but you can't beat the fact that you barely have to do anything to get paid.
posted by lekvar at 4:01 PM on November 13, 2006

Liquor store clerks make pretty good money, especially if you know anything about wines and spirits, and most liquor store owners want older people handling the night trade. You've got exposure to underage sales law penalties, and if the store you work at handles or cashes checks, you've got to be careful with your till. Liquor stores are also late night targets for robbery, but so is any evening business dealing with the public.

But if you do the job well, and are dependable, and don't work for jerks, it's a pretty good gig. I've done it a couple times, once for 3 years, partly because I liked the place, and they were good about employee sales. I used to make up mixed cases of wines for myself, at 40% of retail price, as "job research," and the store owners were down with it, 'cause I sold a ton of wine on personal recommendation. And we had a great seasonal bonus program.
posted by paulsc at 4:10 PM on November 13, 2006

My husband was a night security guard while in college. The first hours or so he had a "route" where he would drive around to office complexes, construction sites, etc. just checking them out and signing off that he's been there. The rest of his shift he sat in one of those guard cubes with TV monitors. He used that time to study, do homework, etc. No tips, but a very easy job that gave him plenty of slack time.
posted by deedeep at 6:17 PM on November 13, 2006

Not paying so much but fitting night criteria would be working either in a theater or at the university library. Libraries in particular often have a touch time finding student workers for night shifts, especially if they're open late.

The upside to a theater job is that you usually get all your movies for free. :)
posted by smallerdemon at 6:46 PM on November 13, 2006

Catering. maybe at a hotel for events. holiday season is big in many places
posted by powpow at 8:35 PM on November 13, 2006

- Babysitting. I made a ton of good money doing that in school. You show up, put the kids to bed, and spend the rest of the night doing your homework. I see you're a guy though, I'm not a parent so I don't know how people feel about that these days.

- Front desk staff at a dorm. Same thing, you sit there and do your work and maybe some paperwork and make sure things are going smoothly.

- k8t's test prep idea is a good one. They pay loads of money. Even if you can't teach a course, a lot of them still need proctors for the practice tests and that pays well too. The teaching is nights/weekends but I think the proctoring is mostly weekends (again, you get to do your homework). You usually still have to get certified as a teacher before you can proctor.

- Party pix photographer or assistant. One of my friends did this in college. She basically assisted the photographer all night at whatever events he was shooting. Or, if there's no one in your market covering this, do it yourself for the fraternities/sororities, etc.

- Fundraising for the alumni office. This one sucks, but might pay pretty well since it's a thankless job. You'd spend the evening calling alumni and asking them to donate to the university. People tend to be a little more responsive to their universities than some random organization, but it is pretty much like telemarketing.

- Tutoring local middle- and high-school students. Or college students. Gold mine. Seriously. What are you good at? Put up some flyers around campus for your professors with kids or fellow students. Or put them up around town. You'll make crazy good money tutoring and you can do it to fit your schedule.

No extra tips on any of those (except maybe party pix and tutoring), but you're likely to earn more money.
posted by ml98tu at 8:53 PM on November 13, 2006

Ok, one clarification: I'm not a student. Many jobs listed here, like working in the dorm or library, or fundraizing for the alumni office, or tutoring -- those jobs are available only to students.

But thanks to everyone else. If the limo driving interview I have tomorrow morning doesn't go anywhere, I'll definitely look into liquor store clerk ('tho this is the bible belt, they're not open that late here...!) and catering.
posted by SpecialK at 9:13 PM on November 13, 2006

If there is a hotel in town that's big enough to have their reception desk open late, you could see about being a front desk clerk there. I have a friend who did this as a second job for years. It's good to have a thick skin, as guests can be obnoxious to the front desk staff, but there are tip opportunities and it's a slightly more respectable-on-resume job than gas station guy. It's also a job you can get in almost any city, so if you move, you'll have a go-to option for extra money.

And k8t is right, test prep like Kaplan and Princeton Review are good extra money.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:48 PM on November 13, 2006

Most of the jobs that are 'advertised' or are normal for college students (i.e. Waiter) are filled

Are there many retailers in your town? A lot of retailers are still looking for holiday help (working as a temp can lead to a longer-term gig if they like you as an employee), and a couple places I've worked, they actually pay seasonal hires slightly more than other employees (a friend got me on at a toy store years ago for the holidays, and I started at a higher wage than she was making). Little potential for tips there in most positions, but the discounts are nice.
posted by Cricket at 11:09 PM on November 13, 2006

My brother worked for UPS one summer in college and still considers his life back-up plan to be dropping out and becoming a UPS driver again. Good money (probably two times what you'd make catering or at a movie theater), he thought it was fun driving trucks around the back parking lot (taking them to be washed, driving them back again, etc.), and they're probably hiring now with the holidays coming up. Also, checkers/baggers at Safeway are unionized and some I've talked to make a pretty decent wage.
posted by salvia at 2:27 AM on November 16, 2006

I worked for a caterer in college. (This was for big, banquet type events, and smaller parties.)

Pros: If you have kind bosses, you might be able to take home extra food. No work wardrobe expenses, as we all wore uniforms. Knowledge of and experience in the food service industry has come in handy at times since then.

Cons: No tips. I smelled like food all the time. Very hard work - I was on my feet for hours at a time, some heavy lifting, repetitive motions if you work in food prep. If you don't have good people skills, you get stuck in the kitchen doing the dishes or cutting carrots.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:26 PM on November 23, 2006

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