Recent Census data shows that about 7.8% of U.S. workers have more than one job. Given that this figure is up 6.8% since 1996, the practice is becoming so much more common nowadays that it has even become a talking point in politics.
Most people aren’t working two or more just for fun, but along with the extra money also comes extra stress. That’s why it’s important to prioritize self-care, says Zach Bradner, a fresh-out-of-college museum worker who also waits tables in the evenings. While Zach would obviously prefer having just one job, he says he’s just “rolling with it” right now.
Summer Tuverson is another person who juggles two jobs every day, one at the doggie daycare center and another as a nanny. Since women are statistically more likely than men to work multiple part-time jobs, Summer isn’t alone. Lucky for her, her two jobs aren’t that different, she says.
If you’ve been thinking about taking up a second job to help make ends meet, Zach, Summer, and a number of other experts have some valuable tips for maintaining your sanity while working more than one job:
Pick the Right Location
When looking for a second job, it’s important that you keep the location in mind. If you can find a job that allows you to work from home, that would be ideal. However, if you work outside your home, make sure that your second job isn’t situated too far away from your original workplace. If you’re spending a fortune on the gas trying to drive all over town, the extra money might just end up being useless. Pick a place that’s not more than a few minutes away or someplace where you can get easy access to through public transport.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Working two jobs can get a bit overwhelming, so it’s important to keep in mind why you’re doing it. Summer says it’s a good idea to have a picture of whatever you’re working for in your wallet, so it can act as a pick-me-up when things seem too tough. She says her co-workers have pictures of their houses, cars, and even engagement rings to help them keep going.
For Summer, one of the reasons she has a second job is to help pay for a mini vacation. “When I’m on the bus for the third time that day and I have spit up on my blouse (and I’ve forgotten if it’s from a human or animal), I open my wallet and see some pictures I’ve printed out of things I’ll experience on my trip,” she says.
Be Upfront with Your Employers
If you are juggling two or more jobs, let all your employers know your situation. You might be worried that your managers may think that you won’t be able to give a 100% at work, but Zach says that it’s the right thing to do.
“For a while, it almost felt like I was cheating on both of them,” he says, “When I eventually did let them know, they both actually admired my hustle, and ended up being much more receptive and understanding when I had to make slight schedule changes.”
Make Work Friends
And we’re not just talking about your main job, but wherever you go! Having someone to laugh with will certainly help your shifts seem more tolerable, but it also can help to have an “inside man” so you don’t miss out on any of the important information – especially if you’re only working there part-time.
Zach says the most surprising “perk” he’s discovered to working more jobs is that he has a whole new circle of friends. “Obviously you’re not going to be best friends with everyone, but making an effort to develop and maintain friendships is a good idea,” he says.
Take Power Naps
Power naps are a secret weapon that most people aren’t aware of. When you get a few minutes to break between work, instead of scrolling through your phone, why not take a power nap instead? Just 10-20 minutes of shuteye can help give your mind and body the boost it needs to get through the rest of the day.
Summer says this is a trick she learned from the kids she looks after at her nannying job. “If they get home from school at 1:15 and we need to leave the house for swim lessons at 2:10, it is crucial that they get some rest or lest they be grumpy and lethargic for their poor teacher,” she says.
She also recommends drinking some coffee before the power nap. By the time you wake up from the nap, the caffeine would have kicked in – preventing oversleeping and also giving you that bit of energy boost.
Meal Planning is a Life Saver
Planning your meals is a great way to ensure you eat healthy, delicious, wholesome meals and stay on budget, regardless of whether you work one job, two jobs, or even no jobs! However, it can be a lifesaver when you’ve got a demanding schedule that doesn’t give you much time to think about food or cooking.
This opens up the temptation to just pull up at the drive-thru at your nearest fast-food restaurant on the way to work. While this is OK once in a while, it’s a slippery slope that can get a bit too comfortable. Before you know it, you’ll be relying on these meals, which are most often not healthy – and the bills can add up quite a bit.
To avoid falling into the habit of looking for the most convenient option, plan your meals ahead and prep multiple portions on your day off or whenever you have some free time. It’s also a good idea to have some healthy snack options available for those mid-day hunger pangs as well. Trust us, your body will thank you – and so will your wallet!
Take Time Off When You’re Sick
This is just a general rule that everyone should follow, regardless of if they’re working a single job or multiple ones, but especially in the case of the latter as working two jobs requires twice the amount of energy. It’s not wise to just “power through it”, because you’re risking your health and others as well – if the past couple of years has taught us anything, it is to stay away from others when we are sick!
Most employers will be sympathetic when you call in sick, given that you don’t do it so often. And remember, it is illegal to fire someone for missing work due to illness, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Pick Up a Hobby
We understand that it can be difficult to commit to a hobby when you have one job, let alone two. But having something in your life that brings you joy is very important at a time when it seems like you don’t have any time for yourself. This helps you maintain a sense of self and offer your brain an escape.
For instance, if you are an avid reader, you could join a book club. It’ll help you meet some like-minded people and give you something enjoyable to do in your free time, be it on your commute to work or at home before bedtime.