"If I could, I would work three jobs," Zonara Ashgar, 27, says.
We all know living in a city is expensive. How does the average person make it work? Our Second Shift series features people working more than one job to make ends meet. This week, meet Zonara, who splits her time between managing a daycare and creating workbooks for children's learning centers. If you want to be featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Zonara Asghar Age: 27 Residency: Jersey City, NJ Lives: Alone Number of jobs: 2
What is your primary job?
I'm the director at the Superior Daycare Center in Brooklyn. It's a Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 job, but sometimes I'm there until 7 p.m. My job is to basically manage the staff and make sure the daycare center is meeting the community's needs. I try to make it more about the community than anything else by having parenting workshops. We just got our approval for the universal pre-k program which starts in September, so we're preparing for that and getting the grants that we need.
What's your second job?
I'm a curriculum developer for Eye Level, a company that has learning centers all over the United States. They give workbooks to the students that come into the learning centers and the workbooks have a section that's based on critical thinking. I create that. I work remotely, from home, and devote about two hours each weeknight to it. Everything is research-based.
How did you get into childcare and education?
I have a Master's in educational psychology, which is really about finding new ways children learn, so that's directly related to my job with Eye Level. But I got into childcare really through raising my younger sister. I also worked at an orphanage in Pakistan when I was in high school. I lived in Pakistan for nine years.
So you see both of your jobs as different ways to use your expertise?
Exactly. It's not about the money. With my primary job, I'm catering to a community with a lower socioeconomic background, so that's a big thing for me. At Eye Level, I'm catering to the upper class. Eye Level offered me a full-time job for $10,000 more than what I make at the daycare center, but I turned it down because helping the community [in Brooklyn] is so important to me. They need me more than the kids who go to Eye Level.
Is there anything about your current work schedule or situation you wish you could change?
To be honest, I wish I could take up a third job because I believe in doing the most you can do when you're young. ... But since I already have two jobs in children's education, I'd want my third job to have more of a humanitarian purpose. I'm really passionate about [educating people] about domestic violence and child abuse. I would love to be involved with [raising awareness] about these issues.