How to Work Two Jobs at Once (And Not Go Crazy!)

There are many reasons to work two jobs at once. Of course, the most popular reason is to make more money. Sometimes people work to make extra money for a vacation or savings.

Other times, it is helpful to work a second job during the holiday season; you can get a great discount and extra cash. Sometimes people simply work a second job in retail to get the discount the entire year. Whatever your reason, it can be a difficult task.

I am not claiming to be an expert in this matter, but I've been known to work two or even three jobs at the same time. It is not always fun, but sometimes it is necessary.

Things to Consider

Are you already working full-time job, but not making ends meet? The first thing you need to consider is whether you are allowed to do more work.

Some companies will not allow their employees to work a second job, or other companies require you to ask permission first. Refer to your employee manual to determine if your position falls into either of those categories.

If you learn there are restrictions regarding a second job, you need to decide the best course of action from there. To be perfectly honest with you, if you are not making ends meet and you have to find a second source of income, you may consider getting the second job and just not mentioning it to anyone.

It is obviously not an ideal situation and I am not telling you to do it, but these things happen. If you do decide to take your chances, you need to have a plan. In what ways is it possible for you to be found out? Do you have a good story to tell if it does happen? Are you going to cry and beg for forgiveness, or are you going to pretend you did not know the policy? You must have a plan should this situation occur.

Managing the Second Job

Before you start the second job, you need to think about time. If you already work at an office, probably the only job available will be restaurant or retail work.

Haven't worked in retail or at a restaurant in a while? Don't worry. I took quite a break from it myself, but had to go back to find a second job.

Haven't ever worked in retail or at a restaurant? You may have a tougher time, but you should still be able to get something. Most managers are excited that you are capable of holding down a job and they will usually give you a shot.

The managers are usually pretty decent about giving you evening and weekend hours. You need to be really clear on the hours and insist the managers keep up their end of the deal. If the manager starts giving you too many hours or too little hours, don't panic. You need to have an honest discussion.

Certainly if you are supposed to get off work at 5 and they are scheduling you to come in at 4, that is not acceptable. The first mistake is an honest mistake. The second time is annoying. The third time is when you quit. There are other jobs out there and you can't lose your main source of income over something like that.

Variety Really Helps

When picking jobs, whether you are looking for a two or three part-time job combo or a full-time and part-time combo, it is important to consider how the jobs will mesh with each other. I can tell you from experience that it is very difficult to work two customer service oriented jobs at once.

Sometimes you are working about 60 hours a week with a variety of customers. You could be dealing with everything from total psychos to grumps. If you opt to go that route, it is going to be really tough to do that for a long time. If you are only working as a temp, you can probably pull it off. I wouldn't recommend it beyond that though.

You also want to think about how much physical activity is involved with both positions. Ideally, a job at a desk and then a second job on your feet works well. If you can get a second job doing stock, that works even better than working with the public.

You usually stay out of the customer's way and after sitting at a desk all day, who wouldn't want to stretch their legs? Of course, sometimes it becomes a tiresome task. If at all possible, stock jobs tend to work better if they are weekend only, but it can be done (at least for a while) at night, as well.

The Sacrifices You Make for Work

Now, let's talk about some sacrifices you will need to make. No, I am not talking about sacrificing live animals or anything like that. Hopefully your second job won't be that bad! Do you have friends and family? You are not going to see them that much. Do you like free time? Kiss most of that goodbye. If you have pets, make sure you can take care of them or make plans so that someone can. It is really hard sometimes.

Keep in mind that sometimes you will need some "me time" and don't be afraid to ask for it. I am not saying you need to ask for a day off once every week or two. I've worked with people like that and, trust me, everyone finds that behavior annoying. Don't be that person! However, it doesn't hurt to make sure you have a weekend off every now and then. Also, if you have vacation time at your primary job, by all means, take a day off here and there. You are only human.

The Perks of Two Jobs

I know all of this can be a downer, but here are some of the perks. Do you like money? Well, you'll have more of it. Would you like to make new friends? Chances are, you will. Nothing bonds a group of people together more than whining about work. Do you like discounts? If you work in retail, you will get some. Do you want to see how far you can push yourself? You will learn you can do it if you have to do it. You may even find you are really proud of what you are able to accomplish.

Working two or more jobs can be very rewarding. Everyone should give it a try at least once. You may even find that you like it. Sometimes I absolutely loved it, but it really depends on the two jobs and how well they work together.

Plus, it never hurts to buy lots of caffeine.

Copyright ©2011 Jeannieinabottle

Work Poll

Have you ever worked more than one job at a time?

  • Yes, two at once!
  • Yes, more than two at once!
  • No, I can't take it!
  • No, but I would if I had to do it.
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Comments 25 comments

nycgrl profile image

nycgrl 5 years ago from New York

I would love to do a second job but from home or freelance. I used to do that years ago before the economy went to hell now there aren't so many to choose from. But agreed the extra money is nice even if it does mean sacrificing "me" time.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Yes, it is true. The good part-time jobs just are not out there anymore. Even if you work for a seasonal position at a store, with this economy, the managers try to pressure you to push the most sales. Seriously, people need to get a grip - if I am making minimum wage at a part-time job that lasts 3 months, being a pushy sales person is not going to be my priority. Thanks for the comment!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

These are useful tips and you have highlighted the pros and cons very well. I only worked two jobs once, and while both of them were flexible, both of them required more of me than I was able to give. It helps to be young and have that kind of energy. I had a hard time keeping up with the homework - like grocery shopping and laundry, that I needed to do to be able to go to both the jobs.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I know exactly what you mean. I am considering getting a second job again. Well, unless you consider working online a second job. If so, I am considering getting a third job. It is so tiresome at times though. I know what you mean about grocery shopping and laundry - it just doesn't happen! Thanks for reading my hub!

jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Interesting, w written, useful Hub.

emilybee profile image

emilybee 4 years ago

A really great hub and it's great advice about not working 2 jobs in the same field, such as customer service. I can understand that, great point to make :) Great hub!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Jainismus - Thanks so much! I am glad you liked it.

Emilybee - Thank you! I am the queen of multiple jobs. :-) Sometimes you've just got to work a lot to make ends meet.

mandakelsey 3 years ago

I interviewed recently for a photography job and since they didn't call me when they said they would I assumed I didn't get the job, so I applied for a part time job which I got hired on the spot for. But on my way home I got a call from the previous place (a week later) asking when I'm available for training. My boyfriend thinks it's a great idea for me to work two jobs, but I also want to go back to school. What am I supposed to do?

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I would say see if you can work both jobs at once if it is possible. I am not sure about the hours, but if you think you can work both then give them both a try. This is especially the case if both jobs sound promising. Then you would have more money to go to school. Of course, this is only if you think you can handle everything. It can be done, but it won't be easy. Good luck!

webscripts profile image

webscripts 3 years ago from Chicago

It's definitely hard to juggle multiple responsibilities. Another option is to start your own online business and work from home. This can require a lot of time and effort but is sometimes worth it. Open source web scripts are the best option as there is no guesswork. Sometimes all you have to do is add your logo and start a site (for example, if you want a site like Etsy, you'd need a multi-vendor shopping cart script). Hats off to everyone with multiple professions!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks so much for the suggestion. You are right. Sometimes working from home for a second job is the best option. That is what I do now.

Sean Shock profile image

Sean Shock 3 years ago from International

Working from home is the best way to go, there is nothing worse than a supervisor.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Supervisors are not cool, but sometimes you have to tolerate them to get a paycheck. Working from home is great if one can manage it. Thanks for your comment!

ChibchaPoet 2 years ago

I appreciated your article Jeannie. I like the insight about needing to be very clear upfront, if you're going to have two customer service jobs.

My problem is that I love catering ( only part time and on-call) but the busy season is just starting; in the meantime I've also landed a retail job that wants me for some of the same hours. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or have to quit but the Catering gig is my actual priority b'c it pays double what the gift store can offer. Also I am in school. So, how to tell the retail manager ..I just can not work every weekend but keep me?

Thank you again!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I would say it is best to be honest with the retail manager. Obviously the catering job is a better deal, so that needs to be a priority. In some cases, a manager will work around your schedule if he or she really likes you. Unfortunately some managers can't work around some hours, so don't get too disappointed if he or she can't do it. This time of year, there are plenty of other retail jobs that would be willing to hire you, even if only for a seasonal position. Good luck!

mikeydcarroll67 15 months ago

I have done this before. I am actually getting ready to work three jobs for a month to get things back on track for me financially.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 15 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Good luck working the three jobs at once. It is a painful experience at times, but at least very financially rewarding.

mikeydcarroll67 15 months ago

It'll only be for a couple weeks, as I transition out of one employer into another. The part time job that I am keeping has decent benefits.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 15 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

That makes sense. You can't beat good benefits; they are hard to come by now.

Chloe Redman profile image

Chloe Redman 14 months ago

You talk about variety in your article, what do you think about being a pediatrician and a child custody attorney simultaneously?

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 14 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Wow, that sounds really time consuming. Are you doing both jobs at once? I can't imagine being able to do both of those jobs at once.

Rabadi profile image

Rabadi 11 months ago from New York

Nice hub I wrote one similar to this check it out when you have the chance :)

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 11 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you, Rabadi. I will check out your page.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Jeannie....Wow, this is an oldie but a goodie going around again! I'm glad I caught it. Your work is always fun to read.

It wasn't really fun remembering my hungry years....UGH! For 5 solid years, I worked Mon-Fri full-time, attended classes in the evening Mon, Wed & Fri....and had a part-time week-end job. OH, and BTW? I had 4 kids to raise. I don't know if I went crazy or just mechanically daffy. It all seems like a BIG BLUR and damn I'm glad those days are behind me!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 11 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I have to be honest, I am glad those days are behind me, too! Thanks for checking out my hub!

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