Author Topic: Office Cleaning or Continuous Education?  (Read 2446 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Office Cleaning or Continuous Education?
« on: January 04, 2015, 05:01:55 PM »
Question: Should I take an office cleaning job at $8-$10 per hour to supplement my income or focus my free time on self-development.

I am 26, live in a relatively small city (80K population), currently have a salaried, M-F corporate position, paying around $55K per year. If I calculated an hourly rate, I'd be around $25 per hour.

I have a significant amount of student loans ($60K about 4% weighted average), no credit card debt, and a relatively small ($5k) auto loan (3% fixed).

My estimated net cash flow for 2015 is $18K, after tax, 6% 401(k) deferral, monthly expenses, and minimum debt payments (all of which I am paid months ahead of schedule).

As I'm typing, it seems like a lot of free cash flow, but I am currently in a poor cash position to begin 2015 (about 2 months of expenses in cash). I have always been light on cash, but new internal reporting at my company has made me realize my job may not be as stable as I have thought.

I'm not in love with my job, but it is bearable. I don't think there's a large chance of insolvency in the next couple years, but financial targets keep getting missed and lay offs could happen. Additionally, I am a relatively new employee and my boss was doing most of my job before I came on board a few year ago. In this sense, I feel disposable.

I value my spare time, but I also value financial freedom. Most of my spare time is spent reading finance, biographies, working on websites, and overall improving myself.

There are several opportunities for part-time office cleaning jobs in my area (15 hours per week @ $8-$10 per hour). They start after I am done with my full-time job and typically are done around 9pm or 10pm, my normal sleep time.

I live with my girlfriend and she already has a side gig tutoring for $20-$30 per hour, split between weekdays and weekends. Settling for $8 seems to be a huge downgrade, but I can't work an extra hour at my current job and make $25, so the impact on my cashflow will be positive and I can pay off debt/save more.

Here is my pro and con list:

"Guaranteed" cashflow compared to working on various skills
Pay debt/save at a faster rate
Could likely listen to audiobooks while office cleaning

No free time during the week to continue on websites and learning new skills
My current job can sometimes require 10-12 hour days and adding another 3-4 on top of that could impact my effectiveness at my primary job

Here are skills I think I have, but I don't think they are developed enough to monetize:

Accounting - I have an accounting degree, but my professional experience was financial statement preparation focused. I do have some tax experience, but not enough to feel comfortable preparing beyond very basic returns. Our bookkeeping software was more advanced than Quickbooks, so I don't have any experience with small business accounting software.

Option: Take a class on Quickbooks and buy the software to become proficient/expert in it.

Websites: I have dabbled in web design since I was 15. Even back then, I had support from others and to help. I have bought domains, hosting, themes, installed wordpress, etc. I have the knowledge to edit wordpress themes, but not the knowledge to develop anything from scratch.

Option Pursue web designing, website building, SEO, etc. I am passionate about this, but likely need at least a year to be proficient enough to monetize it.

Develop current websites I have had over 10 domains in my lifetime, with two being successful when I was in high school/early college. Back then I could dedicate significant time to them, but my hourly rate was probably below minimum wage. Others were on topics I deemed interesting and things I was doing on my own time anyway (research, stock market, etc). In order to monetize the current websites, I would need to dedicate time to writing articles and blog posts and likely and eBook to make them successful.

I am not in a terrible financial situation, but I am not comfortable in the situation either. I plan on increasing my emergency fund to a year's worth of expenses in 2015. If I already had a year of expenses, I would never consider working for under $15 an hour for general labor.

I have been tracking my expenses to the dollar since 2012 so the improvement margin is pretty thin.

What would you do?

Would you work a part-time job you are overqualified for, or work on skills that will be relevant for years to come? The decision would be easy if I was debt free, but $60K of debt with a relatively disposable job makes me consider alternatives.

Thanks in advance!


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Office Cleaning or Continuous Education?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 05:14:52 PM »
I would go for continuous education to allow you to increase your primary income at a more rapid pace after a year or so.  How much additional income could you make at your primary job after a year of studying?  More than ~$6000 (15 hours, $8/hr, 50 weeks/year)?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Office Cleaning or Continuous Education?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 05:53:35 PM »
I wouldn't do it.  You're in a position where you don't need it, so don't chase something that you don't want or need.  Spend your time chasing and realizing your real dreams. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Office Cleaning or Continuous Education?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2015, 06:37:41 PM »
I would do a pt gig that pays more - babysitting here pays $20 an hour.  Are you handy?  Handyman repair services $50 an hour.  Tutoring like your girlfriend, bar tending, etc.  all pay more


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Office Cleaning or Continuous Education?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2015, 06:47:26 PM »
Given your background, you could easily do a tax prep course and earn waaaay more per hour, even if you went with a big chain tax prep service.  Heck, the big chain tax prep service might hire and train you for free.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Office Cleaning or Continuous Education?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 08:40:52 PM »
Tax prep is a good idea. But it is already January so it may be tough to get a gig for 2015. Do you work in accounting? Any chance for a CPA? If not I would go with websites/coding. I'm seeing more jobs with accounting/coding mix and will become more and more desirable no matter what you do. It seems like all jobs are becoming IT jobs.