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Juggling between multiple jobs: 8 ways to cope with it

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

It’s hard trying to make ends meet. With recession and inflation on the horizon, many have turned to two jobs to keep up with the rising living costs. For those who earn comfortably above the standard wage line, life is a little less stressful for them. However, not all of us have the luxury to do that. For some of us, having a second job can make all the difference in paying off your bills, loans, or other financial commitments at hand. Some may opt to have a second job out of fun, or to gain exposure into their desired industry. Most of the time, it is usually due to financial and lifestyle obligations.

Be it a part-time job or a freelance gig, having two jobs can quickly take a toll on your life, and put you at a risk of burning out if you’re unprepared. If you’re not practicing good self-care habits, you may even jeopardize your health. If you’re someone who plans on getting two jobs or are struggling to maintain work-life balance, here is some advice for you.

Check with HR

First things first, if you’re planning to hold two jobs, you should always check with your HR or employment contract for any conflict of interest. Some contracts may contain a non-competitive clause in their policies which actively prevents existing employees from partaking in a second job. And if found guilty of doing so, you may be liable for an official termination. Other limitations to holding a second job may include:

● Fiduciary duties

● Working for a competitor

● Fear of diverting business away from employer

While your HR or employer does not need to know about your plans, you may wish to determine their stance on the matter. If you possess a good rapport with your employers and believe it is harmless for them to know, you may inform them out of respect and courtesy. Most of the time, the management keeps a closed eye on their employees’ off-hour activity, as long as it does not negatively impact the employee’s performance or clashes against organization policies, as they too may have part-time gigs of their own and understand the need to make ends meet.

Establish a set routine

When you’re juggling between two jobs, you’ll find that time is a scarce commodity, which is why planning ahead of your schedule and establishing a fixed routine is always helpful. Knowing what pops up in the upcoming weeks will allow you to plan out your free time carefully and ensure that events from your full or part-time job do not clash. This will also allow you to pre-communicate with your employers on your schedule and make you feel a little better for turning down impromptu work events i.e. taking on additional workload, attending a department dinner or sitting out on a happy hour.

Establishing a set routine not only involves managing your time and fully optimizing them, it’s also a reminder to keep your body nourished and well-rested. From establishing a consistent meal time to getting sufficient sleep, a schedule reminds you to shut off or take a break when it’s time to do so. After all, you can only persist in the long run if you are taking good care of yourself.

Add quick fixes to your daily life

Quick fixes are life hacks that significantly help you save time and make life chores a little more bearable. As you spend approximately ⅔ of your time between two jobs and the remaining ⅓ on getting a good night’s rest, you’ll find that you have very limited hours to yourself. Every single minute and second that you save will result in more personal time, which allows you to recharge and feel energized. In fact, you can outsource some of your tasks to willing parties using the money that you’ve earned from your side-gig to save time. This ensures you’re always ready to tackle your jobs on the following day and you’re not spending most of your time fussing and stressing out about chores after a long day at work. Here are some nifty examples of quick fixes:

● Sending your clothes to the laundromat for cleaning

● Meal prepping or cooking meals in bulks that can be microwaved the next day

● Squeezing in quick workouts at workplace or at home i.e. 30 minute HIIT sessions, taking 10 flights of stairs at work for a quick exercise

● Outsourcing menial chores such as having a dogsitter walk your dog or paying a cleaner to come tidy up your place every fortnightly

While the goal here is to save money, you want to ensure you’re not compensating with your time and health. Time saved is money saved in the long run. If spending a little significantly makes life easier, do it. Just be sure that you’re not overspending your allocated budget.

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis

Before committing yourself to two jobs, consider the cost to benefit ratio of doing so. Here are several key questions to put things into perspective:

● Are both of your workplace located at a significant distance from one another?

● Will you be incurring more expenses on gas or fare to commute back and forth?

● What’s the take home wage at the end of the month after deducting all expenses?

● Do you favor financial stability over exposure? Or vice versa?

● Are you hoping to pay off your bills in the shortest amount of time possible?

● How much rest do you get at the end of the day?

These questions will help you arrive at a better decision making process. In fact, before you decide to take up a second job, it may be wiser to approach your boss for a possible raise. If you’re not earning a lot as a result of the costs involved, it’s worthwhile exploring a second job opportunity elsewhere, or forego your plans entirely and explore cutting down your life expenses instead. Ultimately, only you can decide if the tradeoff and investment is worth it.

Don’t forget to set time for yourself and loved ones

While personal time is hard to come by, with proper planning and adherence to your schedule, you may find yourself with a few hours to spare. This is the time for you to do things that you enjoy that you normally don’t find the time to do so. Spend time tending to your garden, gaming on a relaxing weekday evening or reconnecting with your loved ones even for just an hour or two does wonders for your mental health. Socializing and having me-time keeps us on our feet and reminds us that the mind needs a break too.

Be prepared to make sacrifices

There’s a well-known meme on the internet that perfectly describes the price of adulthood, and we think it accurately (and hilariously) describes the cost of having two jobs too.

Image courtesy of r/funny

Memes aside, it can be depressing to see others happily trotting off to happy hour after a long week of work while you prepare to clock off from your full-time job to enter your second job of the day. Having knowledge of the choices you make can comfort you and remind you that you made a conscious decision to hold two jobs. You will have lesser time than usual to socialize or party with your friends, and that’s okay, because you are working towards a long-term goal. For now however, being comfortable with the idea of giving up your personal and social life will continue to champion you towards meeting your goal, and feel a little less horrible about missing out on the social events in your life.

Remember that this isn’t forever

If anything, you should remember that your days of having two jobs aren't going to last forever. Whether it’s footing off bills or breaking into a new industry, your second job will edge you a little closer to your goal. How soon you can complete your goal however is an entirely different matter which depends on your ability to manage your finances and time smartly. Setting a realistic timeline to hit your goals will ensure you do not lose sight of these goals and will help in motivating you and finding the grit you need to power through these tough times.

Always remember to prioritize your full-time job

No good will come to you if your part-time job threatens the longevity of your full-time job. Ultimately, your full-time job takes precedence over your part-time job as it is your main source of income, unless finance isn’t a primary concern for you. If your second job is negatively impacting your performance at your full-time job, you may want to consider re-negotiating the terms with your second employer, or drop it altogether. After all, your full-time job is going to be the larger paycheck of the two and losing it will put you at a graver spot than before.

Never pay your financial timelines with your health…

Holding two jobs is not for the faint-hearted, it takes time, patience and perseverance to hit your goals. There’s a popular saying that perfectly sums those who attempt to attain their goals in a short period of time - “Something’s gotta give.” While it’s great that you’re taking up the jobs to accomplish a goal sooner, you should never achieve your financial gains or timeline at the expense of health. Be realistic about it, prioritize your health, and eventually everything will fall into place.

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