If you're looking to make extra cash (or to make ends meet), acquire new skills or monetize an existing interest or skill that you aren't using at your main job, you might be wondering if working two jobs is right for you. While the answer to this question will be different for everyone based on their unique situation, there are a few good rules of thumb for figuring out how and when to work two jobs, as well as a few good tips for those balancing multiple jobs.
How to work two jobs.
1. Manage your time wisely.
First, and most importantly, working two jobs demands good time management. This is especially true if you're balancing a demanding full-time job with another job that also requires you to exert significant mental energy. Make use of time-saving hacks to maximize your efficiency and train yourself to turn work around quickly. Streamlining your personal life will also help make more time to attend to your multiple jobs, as well: this might mean batching all your errands in one place, relying on a partner to take on a larger share of your shared household tasks or outsourcing some of your housework to third parties (services like TaskRabbit, grocery delivery services and laundry pickup can be lifesavers for the time-starved).
Planning your weeks out in advance is also going to be incredibly helpful. If you don't keep a close eye on everything on your plate, you may find things slipping through the cracks simply because a second job adds more things you need to keep track of to your list. Taking a few minutes over the weekend or at the start of the week to plan our your to-dos for the week is a good habit to get into. This way, you can shift time around as needed to complete everything you have to do.
Once you see your workload distributed throughout the week, you can also make smart decisions if you need to move personal obligations (such as dinner plans) around in advance. This can help you avoid having to make a last-minute cancellation, which aside from being uncomfortable, can strain your friendships.
2. Choose a second job that complements your first job's schedule, as well as your skills, interests and goals.
Choosing a second job that works with your primary job's schedule is important to ensure you won't drop the ball at your main gig. You'll also want to match your second job up to your goals, skills and interests in descending order of importance. Therefore, if your primary goal with a second job is to earn more money, you should look for a second job that maximizes pay. Conversely, if your primary goal is to use a skill that you're underutilizing in your existing job, you should seek a second job that uses that skill (for example, if you love to draw and don't have for your artistic creativity in your day job, a second job as a part-time illustrator could be perfect for you).
3. Make sure that your second job doesn't interfere with your first job.
Your second job shouldn't detract from your first job or have a conflict-of-interest issue with your primary employment. To be sure you're allowed to hold a second job, check your employee handbook and talk to your manager if you aren't sure. You shouldn't have any issues — but it's best to be certain.
Additionally, you need to be sure that your second job doesn't impede your ability to perform at your first job: so if you're working too many hours between your two jobs to the detriment of your ability to do well at your main job, it may be time to re-evaluate whether holding two jobs down is right for you.
4. Keep yourself in tip-top shape to ensure you can handle your demanding schedule.
The busier you get, the most important it gets to ensure that you're taking good care of your body. This ensures that you can handle the strain of your additional responsibilities and — most importantly — that you're putting your health and well-being first. Take the time that you need to rest, relax and recharge. Make sure to eat well, get outside and create mental distance from your work at both jobs on a regular basis. If you aren't feeling well, you won't be able to do good work at either job.
1. More money.
The most obvious benefit of working two jobs is, of course, increased income. Having a second income stream will help you increase your earnings (as long as you're not spending more on the second job than you're taking in), giving you the ability to save, invest and spend more. If your budget is tight, having a second job can help create some breathing room in your budget and reduce stress in your household.
2. A fallback in case anything changes at your first job.
Having a second job is an important source of additional income and security in case you lose your first job. This is especially important during economic downturns, if you're in an unstable industry or if your company is undergoing a period of transition and you're not sure where you stand.
3. An opportunity to learn new skills and indulge your interests while getting paid for it.
If you're able to find a second job that allows you to learn a new skill or that takes advantage of your existing interests, having a second job is a great way to explore an interest while also getting paid to do so.
4. Resume-booster and career transition tool.
A second job that explores a new career direction or builds skills that you'll need to move up in your first job can be a valuable career advancement tool. This is especially true if you're looking to make a significant career pivot.
1. Less downtime.
The most obvious downside to working two jobs is having less time for yourself and your friends, family and significant other. With that said, many people waste their valuable time on pointless activities such as scrolling mindlessly through Instagram and Twitter or planting themselves on their couches for hours at a time to binge Netflix shows. Reclaiming that time to work your second job will allow you to maintain an active social life even while you're working a second job.
For some people, juggling the demands of working multiple jobs can simply be too much to handle. If you find yourself experiencing telltale signs of overexertion (e.g. physical pain, frequent illness, changes in your appetite or hair loss), it may be time to re-evaluate whether holding two jobs is worth it for you.
3. Increased tax complexity.
A second job will inevitably make your tax situation more complicated. This is unavoidable, so it's best to consult with a tax professional to ensure that you understand the tax implications of your second job if you're unsure about how it affects your tax filings.
If you're a freelancer (a non-W-2 employee), you may have to estimate and pay quarterly taxes on your earnings. Understanding how to do this is very important, as there can be an IRS penalty for underpayment of estimated taxes.
4. Burnout and stress.
As you work longer hours across both your jobs, you run the risk of burnout. You can minimize this risk by taking time for yourself, remembering your values and setting both short- and long-term goals for yourself. Most importantly, being realistic about your capacity will help you avoid overburdening yourself and consequently burning out.
As long as you're smart about it, holding down a second job is a great way to boost your earnings, achieve your financial goals more quickly and learn new skills. Choosing your second job wisely and making sure not to neglect your body and social life will allow you to be successful and healthy while you're living the two job life.