How to Manage Two Part-Time Jobs

Derek working two part-time jobs

Being unexpectedly let go from Viddler was scary, but (as I’ve mentioned before) God gave me a huge feeling of peace about it. Since then, I’ve somehow made my living through freelance videography, photography, and hosting an Airbnb. I’ve looked for full-time jobs roughly every six months and rarely got a callback for an interview. In 2017, Lydia saw that Amazon was hiring. I worked there for seven months before I began getting a repetitive strain injury (a common occurrence in warehouse work) as a PIT operator (forklift driver). Within a week or two of being treated by Amazon’s on-site nurses, I got hired as a videographer for Powerteam International. That job soon added social media marketing and  a personal assistant to the CEO. I was gung-ho; let’s do this! Six months later, they wanted to reduce my minimum wage to even less and I wouldn’t be able to live on that.

Okay, you’re up to speed with the last decade of my jobs. After Powerteam, I was applying for full-time jobs yet again. I had some promising interviews at places I would enjoy. I was declined a couple of great positions. However, I did get hired part-time at Sam’s Club. I was utterly nervous to work as a cashier. I hadn’t worked directly with money since living in Australia; American cash is much harder to distinguish between denominations. Alas, I figured it out. They also require cashiers to upsell customers to Plus memberships and credit cards. I can sell something I believe in, but I barely believed in those offerings.

A month after joining Sam’s Club, I got an interview at Staples. Another part-time position. Woohoo! Perhaps I can finally bring in enough money to support my growing family. After juggling both jobs for a month, I started to have conflicts in my schedule. Both jobs would schedule me for a Sunday. Sometimes shifts would overlap by just an hour and I would be able to convince someone to cover me for the last hour at Sam’s Club. That couldn’t last long though; Sam’s Club only allows three call-offs in a rolling three month period. I had three in a matter of two weeks. Staples was giving me more hours, but Sam’s Club pays more. I really need both. Staples creates their schedule six weeks in advance. Sam’s create theirs three weeks in advance. Yes, I asked multiple managers at Sam’s whether I could give them my advanced Staples schedule for them to work around, but they refused to do so because “the computer creates the schedules and we tweak it as needed”.

Do you want the kicker? I’ve discovered in the past couple of months that most retail stores aim to save costs my having employees work the bare minimum possible. At a grocery store, that means 1-2 cash registers open on a weekday (read: slow days). Sure, customers can use self-checkout or an app to purchase their items… but if customers don’t want to use modern technology to purchase their items (or they want to pay with an archaic cheque), then they get cranky. I digress.

How on earth does someone juggle two part-time jobs? The only way I see it being possible is if you work a day shift and a night shift. But then you don’t sleep.

I worked nights at Amazon and I made it work (read: I didn’t see the sun much and I didn’t have much of a social life). I wouldn’t have been able to work in the daytime on my three off days from Amazon though. Even trying to switch to being awake during the day on my off days was a struggle; I’ve realised good sleep is very important for my health.

The answer? It’s not possible. At least in the retail industry. Hone in on the job you enjoy most (for me it’s Staples because I’m in Print & Marketing and I can use more talents than just a smile) and seek to get more hours or a full-time position there.

Photos by Christopher Hoyle and Lydia Steen.

Instagram TV has a chance to change the Movie Industry

Instagram just launched a new feature (which could also be considered its own platform) named “IGTV” or “Instagram TV”. It’s their take on long-form content. Initially, it appears content is tailored for vertical video, but it is possible to watch in a standard landscape orientation — albeit with some tweaks required from the content creator (more on that later).

It’s no secret that I have been harsh on Instagram over the years. I bawked and bawked about being limited to square videos in regular posts (vs. the relatively recent addition of Stories). I whined and whined about Stories cropping landscape videos/photos uploaded from the camera roll, and their ephemerial nature. Both gripes have since been solved. Hooray! I suspect IGTV will inevitably allow the upload of landscape videos without cropping them to a portrait orientation.

Yes, sometimes I enjoy watching Instagram Stories in a vertical orientation. Usually when I’m quickly skimming through a handful of stories while waiting for a video to export or a bus to arrive. That said, unless I’m watching a show about ladders or giraffes, I’m not going to spend 20-40 minutes watching a vertical video. The first channel I saw on IGTV was natgeo. They have a show called “One Strange Rock: Home“. The first 3 minutes were compelling enough for me to want to watch more, but I’m frustrated by it not being in landscape. One Strange Rock. Rocks. Land. Landscape.

Thankfully, some creators I highly respect have placed snarky responses to IGTV’s vertical video limitations. First, I saw that Philip Bloom uploaded a video (https://instagram.com/tv/BkTKKUJnCkI) to IGTV in landscape orientation. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then I realised he had edited the video to be rotated 90º and exported it in a 9:16 orientation. I do not appreciate the extra work these platforms make content creators do (i.e., pan and scan*) just to get our content to be displayed as it was recorded. It would take less than a week of development for the Instagram team to add a feature that allows videos to be rotated 90º/-90º. But, why bother when they could just display videos in the orientation they’re uploaded? Kraig Adams uploaded an iPhone screen recording of his YouTube channel and titled it “How to not use IGTV“. Hilarious! He did mention in the caption that he is excited to start making native content for IGTV though. Justine posted a tweet that simply reads “Vertical video 🤦🏼‍♀️” and has a vertical version of one of her recent YouTube videos. The replies to her were mostly against the idea of vertical video. These are her fans, but they also appear to be creators who know what they’re talking about.

While the public doesn’t yet know what the monetisation options will be for IGTV, I think this will be a great opportunity for Instagram to encourage other platforms to set standardised practices for international content distribution. In other words, being hindered from watching Australian content (usually the limitations are only on mainstream content — not YouTubers) within the United States’ geopolitical borders — and vice versa — is frustrating and outdated. If Instagram can lead others to distribute their content globally, then I think this will be a huge benefit for customers and the creators. Everyone is well aware of the lack of borders on the internet. Seeing “This content is not available in your country” is jarring. It leads people to go and steal the content through nefarious methods. Even with that awareness, production and distribution companies aren’t always able to agree on pricing to have content delivered globally. IGTV can and should pave a way forward for standardised pricing. Here’s are two examples of how that could work:

Chris Lilley (Australian director/producer) creates a new TV series.

      • The production company partners with an Australian distribution channel to get it on TV and online streaming channels.
      • Depending on global partnerships, the Australian distribution channel could charge 12% for every partner that wants to license the show in their country.
      • If their partner in that country doesn’t want the show, then it goes to an open market — not to the highest bidder. In theory, every channel/service in that country could distribute the show, but that would hinder competition between them.

Ricky Gervais (British director/producer) creates a new TV series.

        • The production company launches it on their YouTube, IGTV, Netflix, and Facebook channels with no global restrictions. (At minimum, they should have closed captions for countries which don’t have the native language of the show.)
        • The show (or movie) is ~$10 to watch the entire season, or included with the platform’s subscription membership (typically less than $10/mo).
        • To market the show (something the distribution channel usually does), they can target specific audiences on Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. This will likely gain them a larger (trackable) audience than traditional platforms like television.
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Lastly, while most content is viewed on mobile phones and tablets, many people still enjoy longform (movies, TV shows, etc.) content on a larger screen. Personally, I prefer watching anything on YouTube on my laptop; if I see something interesting on my phone, I’ll move over to my laptop to view it. IGTV being limited to phones (Instagram still doesn’t have a good tablet experience) will hinder most of what I’ve described here. It won’t be able to compete with Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube Red if it’s not available on all platforms.

Further reading