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Detailed income analysis of 2 jobs that only the nerdy will want to read

February 4th, 2012 at 08:41 am

It may not even come down to this, but I'd like to know in advance which of the 2 p/t jobs I should choose should it end up being an either/or scenario.

I've already concluded that working both jobs would be best if I could swing it, due to various benefits and advantages of both, but I don't know if it would work out that way.

So here again are the basics.

Job #1, Updating an annual directory for a publisher's.
Pros:
Much closer to home (20 minutes).
Flexibility to work part of the time at home.
They would deduct 1/2 the FICA taxes out of my paycheck.
As a p/t employee, I'd be earning unemployment "credits" which could ensure some small benefit should I again find myself without a job sometime in the future.
Cons: Lower rate of pay at $15/hr.
Hours fixed at 25 a week.

Job #2, transcription of taped TV shows.
Pros:
Would be full-time work at times.
Likely pays a bit better, from $2-3 more dollars per hour, but I don't know that for sure until I do it. That higher rate of $17-18/hr is based on what the owner said, and he could be sugar-coating it.
Cons:
Likely won't pay my FICA taxes.
Likely considered contract worker, so I wouldn't build up unemployment "credits." Which means if I were laid off down the road from this job, i might find myself in a situation where I could collect NO unemployment benefits, unless I also worked somewhere else as a regular employee. So this is actually fairly important, becus it's a crucial safety net should another layoff occur.
Could possibly drop to under the 25 hours a week I'm guaranteed at the first job.
Longer commute (40 minutes)
No option to work at home for probably 1st year.

Let's look at the key differences and see how many more hours a week I'd need to work at the transcription job in order to make that the better choice from a strictly financial point of view.

1. Gas expenses. I calculate it would cost me $2 per round trip to the publisher's but $7 per RT to the transcription job, so the transcription job would need to be at least 26 hours a week (at $16/hr) in order for it to pay more than publisher's.

2. FICA taxes. Half of FICA taxes is 12.4%, so this means the publisher's job would put an extra $23.25 in my pocket each week.

So in order for the transcription job to be the better choice in terms of the FICA taxes AND longer commute, I would need to be assured of averaging over 27 hours a week there (at $16 an hour).

The final key difference between the 2 jobs is one I don't really know how to quantify. It's the added potential benefit of working at publisher's as a p/t employee (not contract worker) resulting in my ability to earn unemployment "credit" as I go.

For now I guess I'll disregard it since it would only be a benefit if I got laid off from the publisher's job and that seems a bit unlikely since I sense the directories I'd be working on are a mainstay of what they do and an important revenue source. (If I got fired, of course, I wouldn't collect unemployment anyway.)

So when I go see the transcription people again on Monday, I need to find out if on average it's more than 27 hours a week.
I guess that job would still be better, even if it was over 27 hours a week for just half the year, right? I think they will only offer vague assurances and not really be able to specify exact hours, which is a little troubling. if I could work both jobs, that would be great, but I'd hate to give up the other one for this one, only to find myself working 15 or 20 hours a week.

Working a single job is so much simpler but since these are low-paying jobs with no benefits, I can't afford to just wing it and possibly make the wrong choice, if that kind of choice ("either/or") is given to me. I'm inclined to think the transcription job would be better, as long as I can assure myself it is, in fact, a year-round job and not more temporary in nature.

If i could convince them to accept my working for them 16-20 hours, including part of Saturday, then I could also do the publisher job and at least be earning full-time income, albeit at a low rate. That's the best case scenario.

4 Responses to “Detailed income analysis of 2 jobs that only the nerdy will want to read”

  1. Dido Says:

    If you could work out both, obviously that would be ideal, but if it's either/or, the directory sounds better to me despite the lower pay because it offers more predictability and certainty both in number of hours and pay rate. Plus transcribing sounds even more tedious than directory updating at least to me...the time pressure to keep up your word per minute rate in order to earn more sounds like dull work PLUS a level of stress for the transcription job relative to the directory updating work.

    Plus if you have a predictable number of hours at the publisher's, it's easier to schedule in other work than if you have variable and unpredictable hours.

    Just my top-of-the-head two-cents' worth.

  2. patientsaver Says:

    Good point. I analyzed it strictly in terms of dollars and sense, but between you and me (and the rest of the world, ahem), I anticipate both will be tedious and boring. I guess I'll know more on Monday after i go to transcription interview.

  3. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    I'm with Dido. I need to have reliable hours or I constantly worry about my income level. Some people, like commission sales people, are ok with not knowing but that would drive a lot of people crazy.

  4. CB in the City Says:

    You have to go with your gut. I think, if it were me, I'd choose the predictable over the unpredictable. It sounds like you're getting vague information from the transcriptionist job and I would be wary. It could be MUCH less than they say. On the other hand, the directory job is a known quantity, and they have been very clear about what it offers. And I like it that it is closer and that you could work at home sometimes.

    But a big part of the decision is also how you feel about the two situations, and only you can determine that.

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