Are you happy in your current job, but wish you were making more money? Or have spare time on your hands to devote toward improving your professional skillset? Advancing your career doesn’t always mean a promotion — it could mean taking on a second job.
It takes focus, but you can have two jobs at the same time. In August 2022, approximately 440,000 Americans held at least two full-time jobs and almost 8 million worked a combination of full- and part-time positions. That’s a lot of people who’ve learned how to balance two jobs — and you can too.
But taking a second job isn’t a small commitment. In times of economic uncertainty and rising resignations, be sure to do your research before signing a second contract. You might have a non-compete clause that limits you from working with competitor companies or expectations you’ll struggle to meet with another full-time position. Struggling to balance both positions could result in you losing both, so prepare yourself for the risks of managing two jobs.
Whatever your reasons, a second job is a chance to broaden your network, learn new skills, and make extra money. Here are some tips on how to manage two jobs at once to navigate your workload with success.
The benefits of working two jobs
Taking on a new position has many upsides, like increased income or a wider network. You might have spare bandwidth in your work schedule and wish to explore employment opportunities outside your comfort zone, or a field has piqued your curiosity and inspired you to apply your skills in a new way. A second job can help you realize professional and personal goals and drive you to improve faster.
Regardless of what inspired you to consider a second career, though, it’s important to determine if it’s a positive change. Two jobs mean added stress and hours, no matter how excited you are by the work — you need to be sure it’s worth it.
If you’re driven by pressure from family or competition with peers, these may be signs you’re not pursuing a new role for the right reasons. Good reasons to take on another job include:
- Increasing income. If your current job isn’t meeting your financial needs but you don’t want to leave, a second can address that gap. Even a small boost to your monthly income can improve financial stability or help you save up for a big purchase.
- Learning new skills. Whether you’re breaking into an unfamiliar industry or taking on a role similar to your current job, a new position means learning the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. A second job could be just what you need to build up your value as an employee and expand your interests.
- Building a network. The connections you make in a second job help you grow your professional network. Who knows — maybe a new client or coworker will be the person who propels your career forward.
How to balance two jobs
The amount of time and effort you’ll need to apply to balance multiple work commitments depends on the nature of the jobs. If you choose to take on extra work, here are some tips on how to manage your time, health, and productivity.
- Schedule everything you need to do. Juggling commitments is one of the biggest challenges for someone trying to balance two jobs. Look at your current work schedule and determine how much time it requires, then factor in the added hours of your new position.
Keep track of all deadlines and hours in a day planner or calendar to ensure that you don’t miss any project submissions or meetings. This way, you provide both employers with the attention and dedication they expect.
- Practice self-care. Working multiple jobs will cut down your personal time. That said, it is vitally important that you take time for yourself and your needs. Putting all your time and energy into your jobs is a surefire way to feel dissatisfied at work — and it could harm your health.
Make sure to take time for hobbies, remind yourself to eat healthily, and try to get some kind of exercise on a daily basis. It will make all the difference to your mental and physical well-being.
- Choose a second job carefully. The biggest question to answer when considering a second job is whether you’ll be able to fulfill the requirements of your current job as well as the new position you’re eyeing. You likely signed a contract that expects a certain level of work from you — make sure they’re getting it.
Do you have the time and energy for a second full-time job, or should you opt for part-time work with flexible hours? Having two jobs at the same time is a serious commitment, so make this decision carefully.
Once you know how much time you want to invest, be selective about the kind of secondary employment you pursue. Try to choose something that will leave you feeling refreshed and excited rather than adding to the monotony of your workday.
For example, if your first job requires a great deal of computer work and research, maybe a more physically-active second job would suit you.
Is working two jobs worth it?
Dual employment has its benefits, but whether or not increasing your workload is worth it depends on your skills and needs. If a second job makes you feel more passionate and excited about working or earning more, it’s probably a good opportunity. But if you’re already stressed and approaching burnout, adding more responsibilities to your plate will only make things worse.
Splitting your employment time is risky — you can burn out, fumble responsibilities, or jeopardize your job. Before making the decision to take on two jobs, consider some of the risks.
- Legal conflicts. Many employee contracts include a clause about working for competitors. Conflict of interest is an understandable concern for employers — if they’ve put time, effort, and money into training and retaining you, they won’t be happy you’re applying those skills for someone else. Before you take on an extra job, make sure you’re not violating your contract.
- Burnout. Working two jobs means taking on more responsibilities. Long hours, stressful work environments, and lack of self-care are possible consequences that can all lead to professional burnout. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance must be a priority when working multiple jobs — you don’t want to harm your health.
- Lack of free time. You’re only human, and regardless of how much of a go-getter you are, you can only get so much done in a day. Not all of your time can go toward work — remember, you need the chance to find fulfillment outside of the office and mentally and physically recharge. If your combined roles leave you with no free time, a second job isn’t a good idea.
- Work performance. Handling the demands of multiple jobs could impact your performance at both. When you’re considering pursuing a second role, be honest with yourself about whether you’ll be able to maintain acceptable professional standards across two careers. Your primary source of income shouldn’t suffer because of the requirements of your new job.
Ultimately, only you can decide if the pros of a second job outweigh the cons. Have confidence in your skills and abilities, but don’t risk your well-being to take on more work. Know that a second career isn’t for everyone — there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the working hours you have now.
Finding a second job
The best side hustles allow you to transfer skills from your primary job to spend less time acclimatizing to your new role and fast-track your journey to success. Someone working full-time as a journalist, for example, could take their knack for language and leverage it in a part-time blogging position.
While you can find a second job in just about any field, some positions are well suited to part-time or secondary employment. Here are a few:
- Graphic design. If you have a flair for art that you don’t get to use in your primary job, part-time graphic design lets you pursue that creativity.
Many companies need a graphic designer to come on board for a short period and help them with branding. Instead of hiring a full-time position, farming such work out to part-time and contract designers saves the company money — and means opportunities for you to work.
- Tutoring. Tutoring makes use of your knowledge and skills on the side. You can work in person or remotely, set your own availability, and help others succeed. Students are usually looking for tutoring outside of school hours, making this a great role to complement your full-time job.
Remember: whether you’re looking to teach elementary, secondary, or college students, draw on subjects you’re confident in that align with your educational background. Also, make sure that you’re legally allowed to teach or tutor in your area — students need trained and professional instructors.
Work multiple jobs wisely
Learning how to manage two jobs at once isn’t easy, but if it’s the right choice for you, it can be well worth the time and effort. A new role offers fresh perspectives, opportunities to learn, and more income — plus, it just might make you better in your current position.
If you do choose to work two jobs, the most important thing you can do is take care of yourself. Part of this is treating your commitments to both positions with equal respect and attention. You deserve to feel healthy, rested, and excited about your work, no matter how many jobs you have.