The pandemic has changed how people live. At the early onset of COVID-19, several new trends have emerged: increased consumption of alcohol, more prevalent use of dating apps, rise of online shopping and unsurprisingly, more stress eating.
But a report from the Wall Street Journal this month found a new trend — white-collar workers working two full-time jobs at once. While this isn’t a shocking revelation, given how companies are struggling to keep their workforce intact and how the uncertainty of still having a job the next day have forced everyone to find all means possible to still put food on the table. The report stated that many white-collar workers, in industries from tech to banking to insurance, are now working two full-time remote jobs, “toggling between two laptops, playing tetris with their calendars”.
While juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet and prepare for the future isn’t unlawful and forbidden in most circumstances, it is also not something workers talk openly about with their colleagues, and especially not with their bosses. It’s an unwritten rule to keep any information of your other job to yourself, as a way of respect for your employers, and to not jeopardize your status in the workplace.
If you’re one of many people who have managed to take on another position while working remotely from your main full-time job, here are some tips you can use to succeed in holding down two or more jobs and to keep yourself sane amidst the doubled pressure and endless deadlines.
Plan out your week ahead
Managing time and resources can already be tricky when you’re working for one job — imagine all the tasks and responsibilities you have to complete when you’re reporting to two employers!
But since you're paid to work on two different jobs, you must be able to give utmost attention and dedication to both. How? By planning your week ahead of time. Keep a physical or virtual calendar where you can clearly plot your schedule - all the things you need to do, all the calls you need to answer and all the meetings you need to attend (including happy hours). This way, your projects won't overlap and you won’t miss any deadlines. Once everything’s set and you’ve kept your priorities straight, you’ll be able to fit in some time for yourself — maybe an hour or two for Netflix or some yoga stretches.
Tread carefully — and cautiously
Not every employer would be open to knowing you are having side hustles, as it may easily be blamed for a missed deadline or a scrappy output. Before you sign up for another contract, be sure to have read and understood the stipulations in your first one. Some companies lay clear rules on having employees get second jobs, like not working for a competitor.
So, it would be best to be careful and cautious as you tread two different paths at once. No, it’s not about deceit or lying - granting you’re doing this for the right reasons. Always make sure your presence is felt in both companies (which isn’t much of a problem right now because you’re working remotely) and you deliver exceptional results.
And remember to always check your email recipients. Sending a “confidential” document to the wrong boss won’t certainly work in your favor.
Take your jobs seriously
Juggling different tasks can be truly exciting and rewarding, but it’s a major responsibility you should be willing to handle seriously. Your employers, who do not know you’re working for the other, are giving you their full trust, and full salary to function well even when they’re not physically monitoring how you go about your working day. Give them your best.
At a time when others are struggling to keep even one job, this chance to have multiple sources of income is a chance for you to save up, learn more and show what you are capable of doing.
Try to stick to the calendar you’ve set as religiously as possible, never skip important meetings and add value to every project that you do. You’re already treading a risky path here, you don’t want to lose both opportunities.
Watch the stress
Having two jobs means working double — you spend your daytime on one, and your night on another. And before you know it, you’re losing sleep because of a thousand deadlines that need to be met within 24 hours. If you become too stressed or burned out, it would eventually show in your work performance, and your immediate supervisors will easily notice it.
Since you can’t really point the blame on your “second job” when asked why you’ve been slacking off, you have to make sure you don’t ever reach that point. As soon as you feel anxiety developing or your moods changing even by just a slight trigger, pause and breathe. Allow yourself to take a break from time to time, maybe take a day off from both jobs, so you can recharge.
Keep an end goal in sight
For most, the goal of having a second job is for extra income — to pay off debt, to buy a car, to travel or to pursue a dream. For some, it’s to learn new skills and expand connections. Whatever your reason is, always set your goals straight. Only when you know why you’re hustling this hard and what you can gain from this will you be truly motivated to work another job.
But remember that this isn’t forever, that you can’t have your mind and self divided in two worlds that expect your full concentration. So, while you’re still starting out, set a realistic time frame to achieve those end goals and make sure to treat them as that, end goals. Once you’ve hit your mark, consider committing yourself to one full-time job or a business where your health and wellbeing are not compromised.