GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Business

November 2, 2013

Millions piece together part-time jobs to get by

Part-time. Temporary. Contract. Just-in-time. Two jobs. Three jobs. Even four.

It’s the new normal for many in the American workforce.

Monte Railey divides time as city clerk for Missouri City, Mo., as an elementary school handyman, as a laborer for a remodeler and as a hardware store clerk.

Jan Peck shoehorns work as a massage therapist and teaches Zumba after her part-time hours working online for a Canadian insurance company.

Since the Great Recession and subsequent “jobless recovery,” it’s less likely than it used to be that you or your neighbor holds a single, full-time job.

Today, there are more people like Terrance Wise of Kansas City, Mo., who after a 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift at a Burger King often takes a city bus to a Pizza Hut for a 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift. He works at one or both locations every day of the week.

“One of the hardest parts is missing family,” Wise said. “My children are 11, 10 and 8, and they know Daddy has to go to work every day.”

Other drawbacks: It’s hard to look for a better job when he’s always working, Wise said. And he dreads getting sick or injured. He said he can’t afford health insurance, and the last time he had a routine checkup was 14 years ago.

And there are more workers like Concepcion Sanchez who, after a full day at an insurance company job in downtown Kansas City, heads out immediately to a second, part-time job at a bank.

“I’m helping my kids with their college and other expenses,” said the 46-year-old woman. “I’m lucky to have the energy.”

The harder part, Sanchez said, is the loss of family time. Her husband, a machine operator, works seven days a week on mandatory overtime.

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