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Five Tips to Help You Handle Two Jobs

Woman sitting in a car looking out the window

So, you’re thinking about taking on a second job. Welcome to a growing club. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers for September 2019, more than 8.3 million workers in America are holding down a second job. While that’s just 5.3 percent of the total working population, it’s the highest it’s been in more than two years.

The reasons we take on a second job vary. The biggest motivator is the need to bring in more money. No surprise there. Who couldn’t use a little extra cash?

While having a second job can be financially rewarding, proceed carefully. Here are five ways to help you manage your side hustle.

1. Consider the impact it can have on your other job — and your career

Weigh the convenience of the job. Does it offer flexible hours? Is it close to home (or your other job)? How much mental or physical energy does it require? All of these factors can affect your day job. The last thing you want to do is show up to your regular job late, tired or unprepared. Remember, you want a second job that will improve your situation, whatever that may be.


2. Be realistic about what you can take on

It’s tempting to go all-in when you have the chance to pad your income, especially during the holidays, with presents to buy and bills to pay. But just because you’re doubling down for “only” a few months doesn’t mean you should become an 80-hour-a-week superhero. A recruiter can identify temporary opportunities that match the type and amount of work that’s best for you. If possible, start small and give yourself the chance to adjust to your new routine.

3. Keep a calendar and use it

Having a second job can add more complexity to your schedule, especially if work hours are inconsistent from week to week, or if you have to coordinate your commute with the train or bus. Make it a point to plan monthly or even weekly with others who depend on you to ensure the second job doesn’t cause you to renege on commitments. Writing out your schedule in a calendar or planner can help you remember important tasks. Do you have to pick up your kid at school between jobs? Write it down! Managing your time and planning with others is a surefire way to get ahead of stress. No one needs more stress.

4. Beware of “too-good-to-be-true”

Make thousands a month from home! Earn enough to quit your day job! We’ve all seen the ads and Facebook posts promising steady income for little effort. If it sounds like a fantasy job, it probably is. The Better Business Bureau cautions:

“Now it is even easier for scammers to target people who are looking for work, using newer tools such as phony websites, unsolicited emails, robocalls and cold calls using faked origin phone numbers, remote interviews using tools such as Skype, social media, instant messenger services, Internet pop-up ads and more.”

At best, many of these jobs oversell the rewards while others may be outright fraud. Either way, the benefits often won’t outweigh the investment of time, energy and — in some cases — money. What’s the point of having a second job if you have to get a third job to pay for it?

5. Make the most of your time with family and friends

Time spent with those you care about is essential to a happy and healthy life. So make the most of it.

Stewart D. Friedman, the practice professor of management at the Wharton School, studied the impact of parents’ careers on their kids. His team found the quality of time spent with family was actually more important than the quantity. The same goes for the moments you have with others who are important to you. When you’re there with them, be there.

Handling two jobs doesn’t need to be stressful. Especially if you have a plan, support and a good idea of what it takes to make it work. What’s your idea of a good second job?