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Getting a Seasonal Side Job: Pros, Cons, and How-Tos

Posted October 23, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

Halloween is almost here, and soon, too, will be the Holiday season. Wreaths will be raised, Santas will ring bells, and snow will start to fall. And with the Holiday season comes…the shopping season. And with the shopping season comes the need for more and more seasonal workers to support the goals stores are setting and to accommodate increased traffic.

So here you are, sitting on your couch or at your desk thinking, “Man, Marcy. I could sure some extra money to foot the bill for all those gifts, cards, parties, and plane tickets this year. Maybe I should get a seasonal job.” And you’re right, maybe you should. Today, I’m taking you through the pros, cons, and how-tos of getting a seasonal job that rocks.


  • It’s obvious….money! Working 10-20 hours a week even at a $10.00 per hour works out to maybe $750 – $1,000 extra in your pocket for November and December. If this can help you get your presents paid without going into debt, it’s a pro.
  • The Discount! If you decide to get a seasonal job, be sure to look for positions in stores you’ll actually shop from. If you plan to buy all of your family’s presents at a department store or big box store, well those are probably the places for you. If you’ll be buying every woman in your life a purse, wallet, or pair of luxury socks, you might think about a high end accessory designer.
  • Meet new peeps. If your friend pool is waning, go ahead and grab a part time seasonal job. You might meet other professionals who are doing the same and expand your networking pool.


  • Time. Your time is valuable, and like most busy Career Girls, you’re probably short on it overall. Taking on a part time job, even if it pays well, means eating up your valuable free time.
  • Taxes. Sure, $10.00 an hour sounds okay for a retail job. But remember, you’re going to get a boatload of that taken out in taxes. So don’t just add the money before taxes — consider what you’ll take home when making your decision.
  • It might not help your budget. If you’re working in a clothing store, for instance, the store might require you to wear their clothes to work. If you’re spending most of your paycheck to ensure you look the part, or if you can’t help yourself from grabbing a necklace, a purse, or a sweater every time you go to work, a part time seasonal job could end up being detrimental to your budget, not helpful.

How to:

  • Go in! You probably haven’t walked around the mall and asked for applications since you were 16. But that’s often the best way to get a job in retail stores. Go there. Ask for an application. Fill it out. Apply.
  • Be flexible. The people who are going to get the job are the ones with the most flexible schedule. Even if you have a full time job, be willing to work any nights and any weekends, and make sure you’re not asking for weeks off for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. You’re a seasonal worker. Your job is to be there….during the season.
  • Get to know someone who knows someone. If you’re planning to apply for a job in your favorite store, go in and talk to your favorite sales person. Say, “I’d love to work here. How did you start?” The recommendation of a current employee can get you the gig.
  • Don’t act like a corporate jerk. No manager of a retail shop wants to hear you talk about how you have a “better” job and you’re “just doing this for the money.” You have to go in and show them that you have a passion for their business and truly want to do well there, not that you’re just showing up to pay for your nephew’s toy cars.

Weigh the pros and cons, follow the how-tos, and hopefully you’ll ultimately make the decision that’s right for you and could benefit your bottom line.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."