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How to get a part-time job?

This has to be the worst economy I've ever seen.  (Although I am not old enough to remember the last recession. )

My situation is that I am out of college with 4 months of "experience" under my belt and have been looking for a programming position (and other part-time) work for a year.) 

Anyway, I've been applying for computer programming positions all over the place and have followed the advice of the "Parachute" book.  The fact is companies just are'nt hiring (that and they definitely don't hire me:)  ). 

I mean gas prices here are $1.75.  Sheesh.  Can't even get in the car and go somewhere without digging deep in the pocketbook.

So I'm stuck looking for work outside of the computer industry.  Now when I apply to these positions such as "Drill Bit Packager" and "Subway Counter Clerk" I'm turned away because the manager asks "Why would you settle for a $7.00/hr job when you were making $30k/yr" and I answer, "I need a temporary job to hold me over."  Then they turn around and give the job to some college or high school kid.

Anyone wanna throw some perspective at me?

Maybe tell me how to approach getting a temp job?

Anyone in the same situation?

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I am currently looking for programming work for 6 months now, so I am in kind of same position .....I would just say hang in there, things are bound to improve.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


I got my first IT/development job from connections I made while working in a technical support call center while I was in college.  Yep, I was a technical support monkey doing support for Iomega (Zip drives, etc.) through an outsourcer (ClientLogic.) If you can cope with sometimes angry customers, it's not a bad idea to start there.  You'll meet other people just like you (young & broke, & in-school or just graduated), eventually some of them will land jobs in the IT dept and they'll help you get in there when new openings become available.  Even a crap place like ClientLogic paid a starting wage of $10/hr in a fairly low-cost of living area like Buffalo.  And they're usually really flexible when it comes to work-schedules when you're a phone monkey.  You can work as little as 10 hours a week if that's all you want.  As with anything, YMMV. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Be a salesman at CompUSA.  Sounds like this is perfect for you.  That may even be a salaried job, actually.,

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Hmm.  Working at CompUSA won't make any real connections with IT people.  When was the last time you went to CompUSA, unless you had a dire emergency after 7pm and your local PC parts distributor was closed?

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

>I mean gas prices here are $1.75. Sheesh. Can't even get in the car and go somewhere without digging deep in the pocketbook.

Bloody hell ! Is that all you pay for petrol? In the UK I pay $1.25 a litre and unless my brain is broken again that must be $4.72 a US gallon.

Some people hate being out of work and some don't mind. I'm in the latter group. I like to work for a while and then live on my savings for as long as I can. Although I have never claimed the dole -  welfare to you  - I have managed to spend half my working life as a "self-unemployed" person. I am retired now but when I look back it is the unemployed days I remember best. Going for walks, reading in the library, laughing at drones rushing back to work after their brief lunches, looking at the birds in the park and in more recent times surfing the net. You need less money than you think.

This is a good book to read.

The way I got into IT was via computer support. Like you I was qualified but I couldn't get past the interview for programming jobs. My job record looked too strange for most tastes. As a computer support worker I started giving users programs I had written in my own time or in slack periods in my job and pretty soon I had so much demand that I was programming full time.

The main thing I would say is that you should be spending time writing your own programs so that you have something to show on your CV. You should make yourself an expert in at least one area in computing. You don't need a job to do that. Some of the most knowledgeable people I have come across on the web are school kids or undergraduates.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I have enjoyed my time "off" so to speak, but I do feel unproductive and am bored with surfing the net and writing small programs.  I feel that if I don't or can't obtain a job then other people will view me as being lazy.  I am not lazy, I just can't find the job I want and the temporary positions I apply for have about the same number of applicants as the professional programming positions or there are "waiting lists".  There are just too many folks out of work that are seeking work.  I have considered moving to a different area, but I would guess that the job market is about the same everywhere.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

One thing to think about is looking for jobs in the places most people don't look.  A year ago, I had a miserable time trying to find a job for a few months, but managed to get one doing MS Access work in a university.  The pay isn't great, but I get free tuition, and I'm using every bit of it.

You might look at government jobs, colleges and schools, the public library (ours has web design jobs, for instance), and other non-typical settings.  The advantage is less competition because less people think of looking in places like this.  (The disadvantage, of course, is that most of these don't pay as well as the private sector, but then some money is still better than no money.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

In times of bad economy for IT, which other industrial sectors are doing well?

Travel? Fashion? Foods and services? Health?

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

By the way, Thanks, if you're curious about temping, email me and I'll tell you what I know.  My last temp job came with enough slack time for me to develop an Access database that then created even *more* slack time... and as a nice side effect, that database helped get me an extremely lucrative job in dot-com San Francisco.

Sam Gray
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

For one thing, you sadly will have to lie to obtain one of those fast-food jobs.  Even if the store has 70% turnover, they will futilely insist on some level of lock-in.

You can use your college to get you a job.  Occasionally, grants pop up; they pay very low but you often can set your own hours, and they're happier than most industry jobs.  Students are a very cheap resource.  Maybe a computer lab needs an admin or the stats dept needs a VB app.

Also, get some "ideas."  Think about how things should be, in the technical world or the normal one.  Find something you're passionate about, that you like to think about when you're being lazy.  I often observe these people (when they're honest and not self-righteous) spark others' interest, and they make paths in life that help them obtain other things.  Most importantly, they can live cheap.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Here is one suggestion that I don't think many people have thought of:  Try broadening your knowledge base a little, so you can do other computer things, learn some windows admistration, learn some linux, maybe some basic networking, and look for a small company that needs an IT guy.  I can' tell you how many small companies want someone for around 15 -20 bucks an hour who can do all their minor computer things.  Usually you'll just be coding misc. database scripts, setting up new programs, making sure the network works.  It may be boring, but its a way to get and stay in the industry, keep coding, and put something somewhat valuable on the industry. Also, when your in a postion like this, you have a lot of room for growth, since you may only have 1 or 2 other people, and they probably won't know any more then you.

Good luck.

Vincent Marquez
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Good points Vincent.

Prakash S
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Assuming you can type at a reasonable speed, I'd suggest doing temp. work - ideally involving data entry or something similar. Hopefully you'll get placed somewhere where you there's opportunity to improve / automate stuff which noone's looked at, which'll make them at least realise you're potentially more useful to them than just being used to do data entry.

The other thing is that as a temp. noone actually asks about your previous work history, so it doesn't prevent you from getting jobs that you're currently being turned down as 'overqualified' for.

Hopefully you'll eventually land somewhere that you'll successfully be able to create yourself a position where you can use your skills, and negotiate a better rate or permenant position. It worked for me in my third  position (after about 4 months of temping), with some IT work done (and paid for) in the second as well.

Gordon Hartley
Thursday, February 27, 2003

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