Thursday, December 12, 2013
Of course, some Mainers work two jobs because they have to, not because they want to.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
Carolyn Millett, 53, works roughly eight to 15 hours a week at the Christmas Tree Shop, making $7.83 an hour. She works nights for Personal Touch Cleaners, cleaning offices at Time Warner Cable, for about 14 hours a week at $9.50 an hour. Minimum wage in Maine is $7.50 an hour.
She rents a room from a friend in Augusta and is saving to get her own place, hopefully next year. She estimates it will cost at least $2,500 to move, pay for first and last month's rent and security deposits.
"I try but it's a struggle. I have a car registration, insurance -- it all adds up," Millett said.
Millett ended up in retail when the day care center she worked at closed about 18 months ago, but she wasn't getting enough hours at the Christmas Tree Shop to survive, so she had to take on a night job.
"I couldn't make it on what I was making there, so I got a second job," Millett said.
Millett doesn't have health insurance, but she gets a discount through her doctor's office. Her biggest expenses are her rent and paying for maintenance on the car she inherited when her father died a few years ago.
"I would like to have just one steady job. It's stressful not to know when I'm going to work each week -- it varies from week to week. It's very hard to budget," Millett said. "I'd like to get a job where I didn't have to run between them. Sometimes I'm done at the Christmas Tree Shop at 4:30 and start cleaning at 5. There's no down time."
When asked what her biggest extravagance was in recent years, she said her car and car insurance. Her biggest luxury was getting her first manicure as a Christmas gift last year. She's never gone away on vacation because she's never had paid time off or extra funds available.
"I've never really been anywhere," said Millett, who sometimes takes an unpaid week off in the summer to relax at home.
"I just enjoy the days I have off. I have a new granddaughter, who is 7 months old," Millett said.
Last year, she worried about getting together $300 to get her car repaired and inspected. She was able to get the money together by watching her spending.
"Some people laugh and say they could never work at the Christmas Tree Shop because they'd spend their whole paycheck there. But I have to be good," Millett said.
She said she likes both jobs. The Christmas Tree Shop was flexible with her hours and allowed her to work nights for the cleaning service. She thought it would be hard working with the public, but she likes the hectic pace. Her nights spent cleaning, she can work at her own pace in the quiet. It's a good balance, she said.
-- Staff Writer Jessica Hall