Career How to Juggle a Second Job

With inflation and the rising cost of living, more women are becoming doubly employed. Here’s how to shoulder a second job without getting worn out.

By Patty Onderko
PUBLISHED 05/08/2024 | 4 MINUTES

About 54% of Americans have a side hustle, according to Marketwatch.

That’s up from 34% in late 2020, according to a recent survey by Zapier, a tech company specializing in automation. And even more Americans are considering joining the ranks of the doubly employed. Due to inflation, what once was considered a “side hustle” to bolster savings is now seen as a necessary undertaking to make ends meet.

While the rise of the gig economy and remote work have made holding down multiple jobs more feasible, “I believe that factors such as student loan debt, inflation and cost of living are what’s driving this trend,” says Gala Jackson, an executive career and leadership coach for women.

So the “why” is clear: Working a second job may be the only way for many women to pay expenses while still saving at least a little for their future. But what about the “how”? One job can be stressful enough; how do you juggle two without getting burned out?

Here are some strategies for navigating a second job.

Make sure one job is remote, if possible. Commutes are a big part of what made working two jobs untenable pre-COVID, says Jackson. If your current job is in-person, look for a second that is remote to remove the extra stress and time of another commute. Some options might include virtual assistant, freelance writer, designer, social media manager, customer service representative or accountant.

Work in-person for one of the jobs. On the other hand, if you’ve been working remotely for the past few years, you probably know that—for all its advantages (midday bike rides, hooray!)—it can also get lonely. If you’re working two jobs remotely, you won’t have much time to socialize or network, putting you at risk of isolation and depression. According to a 2021 survey by the American Psychiatric Association, nearly two-thirds of Americans who work from home feel isolated or lonely at least sometimes—with 17% feeling this way all the time. Try to get some social interaction by working checkout at a grocery store, manning the front desk at a gym, substitute teaching or walking dogs in the neighborhood.

Look for “low-lift” second jobs. If you’re happy with your primary job and don’t want to expend too much energy elsewhere, look for a second job that “only requires skills that are low lift or come more naturally to you so it doesn’t feel like work,” says Jackson. Are you a pro at Excel? Data entry could be an easy way for you to earn extra cash.

Use your second job as an opportunity to test out a permanent change. “A second job can be a great way to explore a passion project or try out a new industry for a possible career change,” says Jackson. If you’re in sales, for example, but you’ve always been curious about publishing, look for job openings at bookstores. If you’ve dreamt about leaving your firm to start your own marketing business, take on a few outside clients as a trial (just be careful not to breach any non-compete clauses). “This is an ideal time to start exploring entrepreneurial endeavors,” she adds.

Don’t cheat on your full-time job. If you work full-time for a company that pays you a salary and benefits, don’t neglect that job. If you need to take on a second job, make sure you aren’t doing it during your other job’s working hours or using your other job’s resources and facilities.

Work with your kids. If you’re a parent, you likely need a second job more than most. The Brookings Institute recently estimated that the cost of raising a child to age 17 rose to a whopping $310,605, up more than $26,000 in 2017. But as a parent, you also have the least amount of time for a second job. Look for work that you can do with your kids, like babysitting in your home, finding a part-time position at your child’s school or working for an afterschool program that can include your child. One NYC mom got a second job somewhere she knew her kids would want to hang out: the local candy store.

Consider the costs of a second job. Yes, you’ll be making more money. But in some cases, having a second job can also add more expenses to your daily life. Will you need more childcare? Will you need to hire a cleaning person? Will you have to pay for additional travel and food? Most importantly, will working two jobs affect your physical and mental health? If so, it’s probably better in the long run—for both your well-being and your bottom line—to look for smart ways to save instead.

Millie content is licensed from Dotdash Meredith, publisher of Millie, Real Simple, InStyle, Investopedia, The Balance and more.

Patty Onderko is a writer and editor who has covered health, parenting, psychology, finance, travel and more for 20 years. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife and two sons.


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