Seven Types of Flexible Work to Fit Around Your Studies

iStudent Blog

Published: September 26, 2017

There are more opportunities than ever to find work that fits around your schedule, instead of you fitting your life in around work.

Even though studying at the iSchool is very flexible, it can be handy to have work that is accommodating when an assignment is due or you need to catch up on the week’s reading. Also, working through school can seriously help to offset the cost of tuition and reduce the amount you may need to borrow; nobody likes student loans! Read on to find out more about the different types of flexible work that’s out there.

Working part-time instead of full-time for an employer can be a great option if you can afford the reduction in hours. Depending on the company, you may still be eligible for benefits like paid vacation and health insurance. Part-time is usually considered as 32 hours or less per week. Before you start looking, ask your current employer if you can switch to a part-time schedule temporarily. Of course, if you can find something in a library or archive related to your future career goals, that’s even better!

MLIS student Zelida Keo-Trang found flexible part-time work as an adjunct professor. If you already have some kind of advanced degree, “you can make your own schedule, the pay is competitive, and you get holidays off,” said Zelida, “it’s great for me because I can drop off my daughter at school, go and teach a class, and then be back in time to pick her up.”

In this category, the working arrangement is limited to a certain period of time, often made through a temp agency. Assignments can last anywhere from a month to a year. It’s ideal for adding variety and building experience, and you can take time off between jobs.

Keep an eye on your inbox for Student Assistant job opportunities at SJSU that come up periodically. As the lead writer for the iStudent blog, I’m a Student Assistant. The hours are usually flexible and you can work remotely. Of course, you can only be a Student Assistant as long as you are a student taking six or more credits per semester (hence the temporary part). Here’s what Nick Perilli, Community Profiles writer, had to say in an email response: “being a student assistant fits so nicely into my hectic schedule of schoolwork, my other part-time job as a library assistant and life in general. Since we’re working with the school, there’s a clear understanding of what our course load looks like and how to best maneuver with it. Too often with other jobs they really don’t know or see the importance when you tell them that you have something to do for school and need to alter your rigid schedule with them.”

The holidays are right around the corner and companies are already ramping up their hiring efforts. Consider picking up a seasonal job during the winter break to bring in some extra cash. Help is also needed for tax season, ski and snowboard season, and don’t forget summer. Search online job boards like LinkedIn, LinkUp, Indeed and The Muse.

Apprentice or Intern
An apprenticeship or internship is an employment arrangement that includes a paid work component and an educational or instructional component. This can be a great way to earn money and gain experience in your chosen field. As well as getting paid, look for internship opportunities that might also score you some units towards your degree. Search for iSchool internships here, or get creative and find your own!

Contractors and Sub-Contractors
Contractors are essentially self-employed, hired by businesses in gig format. You may have also heard the terms consultant or independent contractor. Think substitute teaching or banquet server. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in the education field, substitute teaching can provide hands on experience while also allowing you to control how much you work. Graduate students like you and I are also in-demand for tutoring gigs, which you can do in-person or online.

We all know the benefits of studying remotely. If you’re also interested in working remotely, you can save money on gas, wear and tear on your car, and save time by cutting out the commute. Remote work can be in the form of any of the other work types mentioned in this article. Librarian tip: when searching for these types of jobs, try a few different keywords, such as virtual, off-site and online. Different companies have their own ways of describing this type of work. Start by checking out FlexJobs.

Are you business-minded? You could bring in some additional income by starting a business that doesn’t require full-time dedication. Many online marketplaces (Etsy, Amazon, Shopify) offer free classes to help you launch an online store.

Maybe you don’t want to run a side-business but you have some skills that small businesses and entrepreneurs value. There are many freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer where you can create a profile and start bidding on jobs. Work ranges from graphic design to project management.

Here’s a bonus idea: become a direct seller. It’s not just Mary Kay and Avon anymore; there are all kinds of opportunities from selling wine to candles and jewelry.

Whatever flexible work appeals to you, make sure you check out SJSU Handshake to search for all kinds of job and internship opportunities.

Your turn: tell us about your flexible job and why it works for you.


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