Your semester plans are set—you’ve landed an amazing internship that will enhance your career prospects in the future. The only downside is it’s an unpaid internship. Luckily, you’ve also secured a great part-time job that will help you pay your bills. Now your only remaining dilemma is how to balance the unpaid internship, and all of the opportunities it offers in the future, with your part-time job that is paying your bills in the present. Below are five tips for balancing an unpaid internship with a part-time job:
1. Speak with your supervisors
The first step when creating balance is to ensure that everyone in your work life is on the same page. Speak with your supervisors at your part-time job and internship, and let them know about your other obligations. They will likely be understanding—your part-time supervisor will know the internship is important to your future, and your internship supervisor should understand that you still need to keep yourself financially afloat. Once they know about your other obligations, you can work with each person to make a schedule that will allow you to maximize your time at both places. Perhaps working evenings and weekends at your part-time job, and a more traditional schedule at your internship.
2. Be prepared to work hard
With dual commitments to an internship and a part-time job, it is likely that you will be working well over a normal 40-hour week. The best way to deal with this reality is to embrace the idea from the beginning, and be ready to buckle down and work tirelessly. The work will pay off in the end when you have completed your internship, opened up future possibilities, and didn’t take a heavy hit to your finances.
3. Be realistic
At the same time, make sure that you are realistic about your schedule. Planning to work more than 40 hours a week is one thing, but if you plan to work 60 or 70 hours, you’re going to be drained in no time. Know what you’re capable of and what will work for you, and set your schedule accordingly.
4. Set priorities
Even with the best time management and scheduling, it’s likely that you will have to pick a priority. What that priority is, is up to you. You have to determine how important the internship may be to your future. If you think it’s a unique opportunity that you’re unlikely to get again, don’t squander it. Place priority on it. Part-time jobs are easier to come by. You can always find another one if you aren’t able to work the one you’ve got into your schedule.
5. Think outside the box
If you do find yourself in need of another part-time job, keep in mind other jobs beyond retail and the food industry. You may be able to find a position that offers a more flexible schedule, or a one-on-one relationship with someone who is more willing to work with you. Remember to look at all possible opportunities.
It is possible to balance work and an unpaid internship—it is simply all about finding the right fit for you. Find an internship you love, so you have no problem making it a priority, as well as a flexible part-time job. Then, work with your supervisors to find a schedule that can work for everyone. Ultimately, communication is key to maintaining the balance.
Catherine Martin is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.