Ask Amy: Should I Take A Second Job?

Dear Amy,

My family has a business in South Carolina that has been awarded several government contracts over the past few years. I work in our DC office, which we established so that I could develop connections and relationships there (I’m responsible for business development).

The business has been doing fairly well, but we have fewer contracts this year and I am considering finding additional work so that I don’t have to take a paycheck from the business. My parents aren’t telling me to do this. Also, I’m fairly sure I can find another position in DC while continuing to develop contacts for our business.

What do you think about this idea?

~ Sherri

Amy Katz Dear Sherri,

Let’s take the salary idea off the table for a moment. If you are working at another organization, I assume there will be an expectation that you are fully committed to it. So I would be sure that you are ready to make that commitment, which in a city like DC could mean you work well beyond 40 hours a week! You may want to see if it’s possible to work on some kind of a part-time or contract basis so that you will be able to focus on your family’s business as the same time.

But more important, the work should be fun and fulfilling – if not, why invest your time and talents? If I were you, I would look for a position that provides me with opportunities to develop my skills in areas that I know will be valuable to me over time. In your situation, you may want to look for work that broadens your network with organizations in your industry, and that also gives you the opportunity to build relationships and credibility.

Back to the salary question. As you say, your parents are not telling you to give up your salary while you’re working in the DC office. And I’m not either… I know other daughters who’ve made similar choices. But it does take resources to set up a viable office in another city, particularly one as expensive as DC. It’s the cost of doing business. If you think that DC will continue to be an important center for ongoing contracts and connections, perhaps it’s best to take those expenses into account right now?

I will leave you with that question-and wish you all the best as you figure out your own answer!





Have you ever felt like Sherri? Please share what your decision was and how it turned out.

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