Here’s Why You Should Never be Ashamed of Your Part-Time Job

Repeat after me: I won’t let pride get in the way of doing what I need to accomplish my goals.

Are you ashamed to admit you have a part-time job? Is pride getting in the way of you having a part-time job even though you may need one?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, I don’t blame you. It’s something I can totally relate too.

Having a part-time job when you are an independent adult is nothing most people want to brag about. Something else I can relate to. Mention the word “part-time job” and I’d duck and hide for cover.

It’s like “part-time job” has turned into a dirty word. No one wants to get one and if someone does get a part time job, hardly anyone wants to admit to it. Instead, the cool thing to have is a side hustle. But let’s be honest. Most of them are really the same ole thing with set hours, a boss and possibly a uniform wrapped up in a fancy term with a few exceptions here and there.

I know because I’ve been there. I’ve been the girl who’s worked a day job plus multiple side hustles — er I mean part-time jobs. Hell, I’m still that person. Except way back when I didn’t want anyone to know. So I either hid that part of life or did the trendy thing and called them a side hustle all so I could save face. And it still stung a little a bit even when I called it my side hustle.

It's call a part-time job for a reason. It's part of your life, not all of your life. Never be ashamed of it.
It’s call a part-time job for a reason. It’s part of your life, not all of your life. Never be ashamed of it.

It's called a part time job for a reason. It's only part of your life, not all of your life. Maybe it's time you get one. Click To Tweet

But the fact of the matter is, I wanted to be debt free and my main source of income wasn’t enough to make that happen. So, I had to swallow my pride and pick up extra work when I could; aka the part-time job.

Yes, I know what people think. No fully capable, self-respecting adult should need to get a side hustle or part time job. Yet, here we are in 2018 with student loan and credit card debt at an all time high. But the way I saw it was that I had two options. I could either ditch the part time job so I can maintain appearances with my peers or I could swallow my pride work when I can and kick that debt to the curb for my peace of mind. Clearly, I chose the later. (It’s still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.)

Of course some days were easier than others. I’ll never forget the day I was so ashamed to be caught working one of my part time jobs by someone I went to high school with years later. There I was, a wife and mother, pushing tequila at the front of the liquor store when a girl I knew who was younger than me came in and told me all about her new house, fancy wedding, and shiny new career right out of college. Words can’t describe how unaccomplished I felt. At the time, I told her I was working one off my side hustles but I didn’t even want to admit to that. But in hindsight I should have been proud to acknowledge that I was lacking in an area of life and doing what I needed to remedy that in my pursuit of a debt free lifestyle. At the time, none of that mattered though. All I saw was a failure of a college graduate who had sunk so low to be peddling liquor.

Regardless of the reason or what your part time job is funding, it’s hard admitting you don’t have enough money to pay a specific bill or reach a certain goal. Once you a reach a certain age, educated, and supposedly wiser, you’re expected to be settled into a comfy job, making big career moves, and moving mountains. i.e. not working part-time as a clerk at your local grocery store.

Honestly, I wish I didn’t need to work three other jobs to dig myself out of student loan debt. And I wish I didn’t have to succumb to the judgmental looks of outsiders when they see me working a job that can easily be picked up by high schoolers. But such is life. And if I couldn’t have a sugar daddy, working several part time jobs was the easiest thing I could do to check my goals of my list.

Funny thing is that this is exactly what I told myself to come to terms with my part time jobs without hurting my pride. You know I’m all about speaking positively to myself. Well, it turns out I was ashamed of my part time job because I was telling myself it was something to be ashamed about. (Well, duh Terri)

Instead, I started calling these extra gigs exactly what they were. That meant acknowledging my part-time jobs without actually fudging the truth and without referring to them as the oh-so trendy side hustle when they weren’t. My job as a front desk associate at the gym became the “get the student debt lenders off my back faster job”. My work as a brand ambassador turned into the “learn about wine while finding the money to go on vacation gig. Lastly zumba instructing classes were my “get a free gym membership while I build my emergency savings account” job.

Once I attached my part time job to a specific goal and started acknowledging it as that, it got a lot easier to work them without shame or embarrassment.

You know what else isn’t embarrassing about part time jobs? The many opportunities and perks you are exposed to. The benefits and swag I’ve received from my part time jobs are endless. I’ve received free alcohol, access to great parties and a year supply of soda from my work as a brand ambassador. There’s been discounted swim lessons for my son from working at the gym and cute workout clothes as a fitness instructor. Most importantly, the networking  I’m able to do from meeting people at all these jobs is priceless. Myself and my husband have both gotten new clients for our careers all from talking with people at our part time jobs. If you need tips on finding a part time job that works for you check out this post from Melody over at Live Broke on Purpose.

As corny as it sounds, I feel like many of these perks and benefits came to fruition and realization, once I started looking at my part time jobs as an opportunity instead of a burden.

Never underestimate the opportunities put in front of you even if they are disguised as something else.

The truth is part time jobs shouldn’t be looked at as something beneath you, but as something that can help lift you up. I may not be where I’d like to be yet, but my part time jobs are certainly helping me get there faster.

The truth is part time jobs shouldn't be looked at as something beneath you, but as something that can help lift you up. Click To Tweet

The way I see it, you can either let your pride stop you from getting a part-time job, so you’ll miss out on networking opportunities, be in debt longer and nothing to pad your Linkedin profile with so you can save face. Or you can take that part-time job, become debt free faster, meet new people and be proud that you challenged yourself and succeeded.

Don’t let pride get in the way of getting help in reaching your goals when necessary. It’s called a part time job for a reason. It’s only part of your life, not all of your life.

They may judge and stare, but it will be worth it once you see the look on their faces when you reach your goal all because of your determination.

Have you dealt with embarrassment working a part time job? How did you handle it?

TERRIfic Quip: First they’ll ask you why you’re doing it. Then they’ll ask you how you did it.



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  1. It’s sad but it’s true that people will side eye someone if they say they have a part time job. I’m so happy you said forget what people have to say and you did what was best for you and your family. Plus, who can’t use some extra money lol.

  2. Thank you for this post. I choose to do part time job three days per week as I didn’t want my toddler spend 5 days a week from 8am-6pm at daycare. Just something I could not accept. So I worked as minimum as I could to earn enough to pay bills and spend the rest of the time with her. Never embarrassed because of it and fortunately no one made ma feel that way.

  3. I can relate all too well to what you are saying in your post. Being on the autistic spectrum, it has been quite a struggle for me getting any job, even a part time one. When I got my first part time job outside of working for my parents, I was really happy and relieved. However, because I worked in retail (still do), I get and/or hear snide comments from well-meaning people that tell me that “I shouldn’t be there.” or they treat me like I’m inferior or uneducated despite getting a degree in college and graduating cum laude! I hate that society treats certain jobs as more valued than others. Just that someone is able to work should be a great thing, no matter what the job is or whether it is part or full time!

  4. I love my part time gigs! I work with small business owners processing their grants funds. I also coach small business owners through a CDFI. These gigs allow me to freedom to write and spend time with my family.

  5. I know in college I would definitely get some snotty looks from others for being in retail/custodial and not being a secretary or working in my future field. But you are so right, there is no shame in honest work!

  6. I’ve never heard of someone being ashamed of their part time job. And people definitely shouldn’t shame someone for having one. A job is a job and is a means to an ends.

    1. Glad you never heard of any one being embarrassed of being a part time job. Hopefully, that means things are changing. I definitely remember people being embarrassed of their part time work; especially if involved working retail or janitorial work.

  7. Hard work should be something to be proud of and not something to be embarrassed about. It is actually honorable and empowering to have a part-time job. It is an honest work and you are taking control of whatever it is that motivated you to take that part-time job.

  8. Great write up! I totally agree and can relate to this. I’ve had a part time gig off and on for years, from working at Macy’s on the side of my Market Research job to tutoring English on the side while teaching in South Korea. Am never afraid to do what I go to in order to live the life I desire.

  9. I have part time job and I love it. It provides food on the table and allows me to spend any extra income on myself! I am more than happy to tell people about my part time job.

  10. Good for you! My mom worked full-time and almost always had a part-time job while I was growing up and it only made me respect her more for it. She put her family first and worked through the exhaustion. I’m sure there were many times where she didn’t want to tell people but as kids, she never let us see it. We loved how proud she was to be hardworking!

  11. As soon as I got married and grew my family, I realized that working part-time was all I could really handle. Sometimes you just gotta do what works for you.

  12. This is such a well put post! I’d never be ashamed of my part time job, you have to do what you have to do to afford the life you want to live!

  13. No need to EVER be ashamed of a part time gig. It’s all apart of adulting ESPECIALLY when attached to a particular goal. How else will we get ahead with a single income?!?!

  14. At the end of the day people need to do whats best for them. I know lots of people who do uber/lyft and other rideshare part time jobs just for extra spending money.

  15. I know in college I would definitely get some snotty looks from others for being in retail/custodial and not being a secretary or working in my future field. But you are so right, there is no shame in honest work!

  16. Thanks for writing this. My husband and I run a pottery studio together. I recently picked up a part time job at a chain coffee shop one day a week. When I am working at the coffee shop, it is the most relaxing part of my week. I don’t have to answer emails/make tough decisions about the future of our business/handle the books/work with my spouse/etc. I just get to serve people coffee and make jokes with my younger coworkers. But when I tell my peers (in our 30s) that I am working there, I immediately feel ashamed, like I wasn’t successful enough at running the business that I had to go back to a job that any college student could do. I love your perspective of associating the part time job with a specific goal (like travel or paying off debt!) and I want to remember that going forward.

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