Can You Work Two Full-Time Jobs?

Can You Work Two Full-Time Jobs?

Working two full-time jobs used to be a virtual impossibility. Because the majority of workers performed their duties at a physical work site, holding down two jobs meant putting in at least 80 hours a week—tough to pull off, if you also need to commute, eat, sleep, and attend to any responsibilities outside of work.

But the world of work is changing. As more employers embrace telecommuting and full-time remote jobs, another trend has emerged: the full-time double-timer. For obvious reasons, it’s hard to come by accurate stats on just how many people are working two full-time jobs. But it’s safe to say that the practice is on the rise. So, can you—and should you—join them?

Here’s what you need to consider:

Are You Breaking the Rules?

If you have an employment contract or employee handbook, now’s the time to consult them. Many companies have rules in place to prohibit moonlighting (otherwise known as “working two jobs”). You’ll want to make sure you understand corporate policy, especially if you’ve signed a contract stating that you’ll adhere to it.

But even if your employer doesn’t specifically forbid moonlighting, you can still get in trouble for it. Look for contract language restricting your ability to work for competitors, use the company’s intellectual property for another organization, or similar.

What Are Your Other Responsibilities?

Even if you’re young and single and willing to put your hobbies and friendships on a shelf for a while, you have responsibilities outside of work. Can you take care of yourself and maintain your health and happiness if you hold two jobs?

Some people don’t need a lot of sleep. Others may be willing to multitask by eating at their desk or exercising while they work by incorporating a treadmill desk. But keep in mind that even those folks need some downtime eventually. Be honest with yourself about what you can handle.

What Are Your Goals?

Think about why you want to work two full-time jobs. Maybe you’re hoping to pay down debt, build up savings, get a head start on a second career. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to be clear about them. Knowing why you’re embarking on this experiment will help you define success in the short- and long-term.

What Is the Long-Term Plan?

And speaking of the long-term, know what that looks like. For most people, working 80-plus hours a week won’t work as a permanent career choice. Even if you love what you do, you are likely to want other things in your life besides work at some point. In fact, loving what you do may be the biggest reason to make the two-jobs lifestyle a short-term choice. In the long run, you might want to get promoted or start your own business or otherwise focus your professional life on a single track.

What Are the Alternatives?

If you’ve read this far and you’re having second thoughts, know that you don’t have to throw out your plans altogether. There are other ways to earn more money, gain experience, or try new professional paths without taking on a second full-time job:

  • Freelance or contract work: Earn extra money while gaining valuable work experience…without committing to another 40-hour-per-week job.
  • Education or internships: Train for a job that pays more and fits better with your personal and professional goals.
  • Negotiate salary or find a new job: Earn more without doubling your workload by negotiating a raise or looking for a better paying role.

How Will You Make This Work?

Ready to add another full-time job to your schedule? Create a plan to make it work. Figure out how you’ll manage your workload, time, and interactions with two sets of bosses.

Remember that you won’t have a lot of energy to spare, so create a system that will work even when you’re tired or otherwise feeling unproductive. For example, you might try working on different laptops, especially if they’re supplied by your employers, so that you don’t accidentally message one boss about the other boss’s priorities.

Above all, be discreet. Even if you’ve approved your plan with both companies, you won’t want to emphasize your dual commitments. And should you decide to keep things under wraps, remember: a secret that involves two people isn’t a secret. Don’t tell any of your colleagues anything that you don’t want to get back to the rest of your team.

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  • May 25, 2022