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Hardworking Women Juggle Full-Time Work and Side Hustles

Julie Snider, a Pittsburgh area realtor, at her part-time work at Junkluggers
Julie Snider, a Pittsburgh area realtor, at her part-time work at Junkluggers

For Laura Stuart, it’s artistic expression. Kim Refosco wants additional funds for her daughter’s college expenses and travel. Julie Snider likes the additional positivity in her life, while Marissa Venanzi enjoys sharing her passion for fitness. While all of these women have varying reasons for working a part-time job in addition to their full-time jobs, they all agree that it takes some planning and juggling.

Laura Stuart is the Director of Studio Forget-Me-Not, a nonprofit art center dedicated to empowering adults with intellectual disabilities. “In addition to overseeing the studio, I actively teach classes, work to secure funding, manage our retail shop and engage in various public events representing both the studio and our founding agency, Not Forgotten Home and Community Services,” Stuart explained. While that full-time role keeps her plenty busy, Stuart also works part-time as an artist and designer. “I’ve authored two coloring books and am working on a third. My latest pursuit is in textile design. Additionally, I indulge in sewing, jewelry making and painting,” she said.

Why add to her already full schedule? “While I’m passionate about directing the studio, my part-time creative endeavors are essential for my well-being. Creating my own artwork is a therapeutic escape that allows me to relax and reach a meditative state without draining my energy,” she said. The amount of time that Stuart spends on her side job varies; she dedicates at least 30 minutes each day to drawing.

Working two jobs does require some planning. “Juggling a full-time job, a part-time job and personal life is undeniably challenging. I strive to allocate time for my partner, John, as well as friends,” she said. “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also a priority; I make it a point to hit the gym amidst my myriad of pursuits.”

Kimberly Refosco
Kimberly Refosco

Kimberly Refosco’s part-time work ties into her full-time job. A Spanish teacher, she also does curriculum alignment, the process of aligning a program’s curriculum with its goals, on the side. Refosco is also a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, a role that aligns with her volunteer work as co-director of Outdoor Afro. Her part-time work allows Refosco to assist with her children’s college expenses, as well as providing some financial freedom for entertainment, home improvement and travel. Refosco works 15-20 hours each per week at her part-time jobs. “It helps the kiddos not have to start their lives buried in student loans or poor credit. It also makes some unforeseen choices easier to make—unexpected car maintenance, last minute travel opportunities, uncovered health issues, etc.,” she said.

Like Stuart, Refosco has found a rhythm in her busy schedule. “For the most part, daily, the balance flows. But sometimes through the year, about quarterly, overlapping duties become overwhelming for me and increases stress and anxiety from which it can be hard to recover,” she said.

Julie Snider balances two young sons, Reid, 8, and Max, 6, with her position as a realtor and a part-time job as the Director of Business Development for the Junkluggers of Pittsburgh. “By the end of 2023, I found myself in a transition period. The real estate market was slow and unpredictable, and I needed a more stable financial plan. I had the opportunity to take a second job that allowed me to leverage some relationships I already had in place and do some good at the same time. Because both my full-time job and this opportunity allowed me a flexible schedule and the part-time job was such a positive environment, it fit what I needed,” she said.

With a stagnant real estate market, Snider said that her career “felt defeating last year.” She explained, “Working with the owners of the Junkluggers has a very positive influence. Their mission to help people get rid of unwanted possessions while diverting as much junk as possible from the landfill through donation, repurposing and recycling is really refreshing.”

Snider’s sons have busy schedules, and her own schedule can be unpredictable, making for a challenging lifestyle. “I really have to juggle my commitment to them and both of my jobs to keep everything moving,” she said, “While I don’t necessarily always want to have two jobs, I really do enjoy the extra experience I’m gaining and the connections I’m making. It’s not easy, but it’s interesting for sure.”

That “extra experience” is a major benefit from her second job, Snider said. “It’s fun to think about how something like a junk hauling company can help so many local families, our community and the earth all at once. I’ve really been able to connect people from different spheres and learn about all of the local and global nonprofits here in Pittsburgh.” 

Marissa Venanzi is a physician assistant in oncology full-time and a fitness instructor on the side. The two roles mesh nicely, Venanzi said, because they are both tied to health. “It is a really good way for me to practice my passion for fitness. It’s hard to imagine not doing it,” she said of her part-time job. Venanzi estimates that she works nine hours a week teaching yoga, barre, cycle and strength classes.

Venanzi just began her career in oncology, so she is still working out the kinks to her schedule. “I’ve been super busy, but I reserve a day for my own activities,” she said. Ironically, it’s her own workout schedule that suffers the most. “Because I’m teaching, sometimes I find it hard to fit in my own workout,” Venanzi said.

Despite the busy schedule, Venanzi said she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I can bring my formal education and experience into my fitness classes. I find it really very fulfilling to have this outlet to share with the community. I get to give back to the community, but I’m also giving to myself,” she said.

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