As I write this, I am sitting in a primary school classroom. I know, a long regression from a master in business 10 years ago! Except this time, I am sitting at the teacher’s chair. It is the first week of school and my mum, who is a teacher, needed someone to supervise the after school homework hour. I am not doing it for the thrill of a teacher’s salary, but it requires virtually no work aside from leading the kids to the classroom, counting them, waiting for an hour and letting them go. And it is a 5 minute bicycle ride away from home.
Getting paid to sit and write this post, why not? When my mum asked me, it had been a long time since my last assignment, at least 7 years. But since my teen years, my mum has always managed to get me a ton of jobs.
Piano teaching jobs
My mum was the person in charge of religious education at my private school. She took 15 years off teaching to raise my sister and I but went back to our middle school when we were in our early teens. She talked to the music teacher at lunch and learned there were a few parents who wanted their kids to learn how to play the piano but didn’t have a big budget. The following week, I had my first three students at lunch time in the music room, for $20 a pop. Some months I already had the 5 lunches booked so I got more students on Saturdays.
Money made: at least $60 a week for two school years.
Baby sitting jobs
As the person in charge of religious education, my mum, like a pastor, often had families come talk to her, and some overwhelmed mothers looking for baby-sitters. One of them was my worst job as a teen and exploited me shamelessly but most mums were fair and lovely to deal with.
It was a wealthy neighborhood, I remember charging rates that made me feel like a millionaire.
Money made: about $40 per night from age 12 to 18, once a month at the very least.
I remember my mum asking me to help three siblings, whose parents had just been through a divorce, and who were struggling with their homework. One of the not so good things with tutoring is that you get a fair rate of $20 or $25 per hour but you have to get there and back at it usually takes half an hour of your time before and after. But when you have three customers, under the same roof, that is pretty awesome! I would spend 40 minutes with each of them, and get around $50. Again, as a 13 year old. Then my mum got me another sweet deal with two brothers for EVERY single night of a school year, I had to pick them up, take them home, do homework and put them in their PJs. 5 to 7pm every night, $100 a week.
Money made: around $4,000 per school year.
School supervising job
After we graduated from high school, my mum went back to being a primary school teacher and for a few years, she was even the school’s headmaster. So she was free to hire anyone to do a random list of jobs. Apparently there were a lot of people who were not very reliable at her school, taking long sick leaves, coming to work only when they felt like it, so my mum took me on as the chaperon for school trips, or to take the class to the stadium or the swimming pool. I was also hired at lunch time to make sure the kids were eating properly. Being available at lunch time conflicted with my college classes so I did it only for a while but it was fun while it lasted.
Money made: A free lunch and about $20 for a two hour lunch shift for a few months.
Substitute teaching jobs
I am not a teacher, but you can teach primary school if you have a BA in anything. So when that teacher who was supposed so come back from sick leave didn’t, I started teaching third grade. Again, it conflicted with my college schedule and didn’t last long, but making $100 a day when I had a $400 monthly scholarship to live on was really cool.
Money made: About $100 for a full day.
My mum is so smart. She found a way to have me off pocket money super early and have me out of the house, yet not doing drugs or getting pregnant, most days after school and the weekends. Parents, learn from her!
You should use your network to get more jobs too
I am an introvert. My mum loves to talk to people and people often tell her their problems, which she used to solve by offering my services. What a team! Seriously though, she never got my sister ONE job. Because my sister, by her own word “has always been taken care of and is unable to take care of herself”, but also because she didn’t ask for a job! (After writing this I asked my mum if my younger sister ever took one of those jobs and she answered “no, she was studying!”. My sister spent 4 years finding herself with a psychology degree then 3 years becoming a daycare staff while I had two majors then went to business school.)
Your family, your friends, your network, is an AMAZING source of jobs. First because they will hire you just with a smile. Your circle knows your worth without having to look at a piece of paper to confirm you are able to do XYZ. Then because they are flexible. My mum hired me for a day here and there, had she needed to hire someone she would probably have done the job herself to save herself the trouble. Finding casual employment with people you don’t know will be much harder. Finally, you will learn about the job opportunity first hand if you open your ears. Sick colleague? Parent starting a business? Peak of activity at work? Ask if you can fill in and lend a hand. After I accepted that one hour gig, my mum gave me seven more dates. You never know what a temporary shift can lead to.
Time to go, thanks mum for just making me $27!
On a related topic I talk about the ways I made money as a teenager on Teens Got Cents.
Have you ever used your network to get a job?
This post was featured on the Financial Carnival for Young Adults, Yazekie Carnival, DQYDJ, Len Penzo, Financial Carnival for Young Adults 80’s edition, Personal Finance, Carnival of Wealth, Carnival of Personal Finance, Your PF Pro, thank you!