When Can You Work Two Full-Time Jobs?
Can you work at more than one full-time job? Is it legal to have multiple jobs? How can you juggle roles, if you’ve got more than one of them? How can you handle working at two full-time positions?
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 positions 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?
Can You Work at Multiple Full-Time Jobs?
Here’s what you need to consider when you’re thinking about working at more than one job.
Are You Breaking the Rules?
Federal and State Laws
Federal law doesn’t regulate the number of jobs someone can hold. However, there are limits to the hours some occupations can work. For example, drivers have a maximum daily hours of service limit. There are also limits to the number of hours per week minors can work.
Public employees, including federal, state, and local government workers, often face restrictions on outside employment to avoid conflicts of interest.
Company Policies and Employment Contracts
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, or 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, start your own business, or otherwise focus your professional life on a single track.
What To Consider Before You Add a Second Job
If you’re considering working two full-time jobs, it’s important to figure out how you will be able to do both successfully. Consider the following factors before saying “yes” to a second job:
Juggling the workload: Consider your personal circumstances, including your health, family commitments, and overall capacity to handle the workload. Do you have enough bandwidth to work full-time at more than one job?
The job requirements: Evaluate the requirements for each position and whether you can realistically manage them. If the hours overlap, how will you handle meetings and other responsibilities?
Company policies and employment contracts: Many employers have policies against employees having another full-time job, especially if the second job is in the same industry or poses a conflict of interest. Review your employment contracts and company policies to ensure you’re not violating any terms.
Double dipping: If you get paid by both employers for the same hours, it can be considered time theft and can result in disciplinary action from your employer.
The feasibility of working two jobs simultaneously: Consider the long-term sustainability of juggling two jobs and whether it aligns with your career goals and personal life. Does adding a second full-time role make sense, or is there a better option?
How To Handle Two Full-Time Jobs
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.
Create a System
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.
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.