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Why You Should Work Multiple Jobs

Working a second job isn't always fun, but doing what it takes financially is a common trait among successful people.The New York Times ran this piece about people working four or more jobs to pay the bills.

Not surprisingly, everybody in the story was under 30.

Nor was it surprising that hundreds of readers chimed in to say: “twentysomethings working multiple jobs? Duh!”

This piece is driving home points that you and I already know.

College grads of the last decade:

The following excerpt describes an aspiring actress who works more than four jobs to make ends meet. I think her story may not be all that unusual among twentysomethings:

LOUISE GASSMAN, 28, has a rotating schedule of multiple jobs: as an actress; as an assistant to dance instructors at the Circle in the Square and Juilliard schools; as a baby-sitter; and in a variety of administrative roles and as a spinning instructor at SoulCycle, an indoor cycling studio in New York.

Ms. Gassman’s monthly income, which can vary greatly depending on whether she books an acting job, ranges from $1,800 to $4,000. Some months, almost all of her income goes to the $1,450 rent on her 290-square-foot studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Whatever is left after essentials goes toward paying off her remaining $16,000 in college loans.

“I worry about money all the time,” Ms. Gassman said. “I live on a really tight budget, and I live paycheck to paycheck.”

Periodically, the accountant who cuts her check at SoulCycle reminds her that someone her age should be putting away $300 a paycheck for retirement, an amount that is sometimes almost half of her pay. “I’m like, retirement?” she asks. “Then I have the ‘Oh my God, Oh my God’ feelings.”

I know many of you will immediately want to set Ms. Gassman straight. 

  • “What are you doing living in a Manhattan studio on that kind of pay? Get roommates, or at least move to Jersey.”
  • “Please tell me you at least have an emergency fund? And health insurance!!”
  • “What do you expect for wanting to be an actress? Get a real job.”

But here’s the reality: while these things occur immediately to regular readers of personal finance blogs (like the accountant prosthelytizing for retirement contributions), most people do not think so pragmatically.

MOST OF US HATE THINKING ABOUT MONEY, SO WE DON’T

I can’t prove this. (Yet.) But there are indicators. Like the fact that over half of Americans couldn’t scrounge together $2,000 in an emergency if they had to.

I also suspect this because for the first half-decade of my adulthood, I was one of these people.

I was 22. Retirement wasn’t on my radar. Neither was health insurance. (Isn’t that for old, sick people?) Saving for tomorrow was something a few of my friends did, but they were math and business majors, and they graduated without debt. I was lucky to be working at all, and if I had money in my pocket for drinks on Friday night and a bus fare to visit my girlfriend, that’s all I needed.  When emergency expenses came up (and they did), well, that’s what credit cards are for, right?

This is how many, many people think. Especially in our twenties.

If you’re one of these people, you get it. But the problem is, you’re probably not reading my blog. Most of you who are reading have emergency funds and 5-figure IRAs at 25, and unless you’re reformed like me, the concept of ignoring your finances is alien. Confounding. Terrifying.

I wish more people who don’t think about their money would read this blog, but I can’t force them.

Getting personal finance advice is like going to AA. An alcoholic isn’t going to get sober until he’s ready to get sober. When that happens, AA is there for him. In the same way, when you realize you need to get a grip on your finances, personal finance blogs are here for you.  But we can’t force you to start an emergency fund any more than a concerned family member can force an addict to quit.

So what the hell does all this have to do with working multiple jobs?

This:

SECOND JOBS SOLVE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS

When you can’t make ends meet and can no longer cut back, you must earn more money. And second jobs are the easiest way for most people to do that. Even if you’re totally unwilling to make a budget, cut back on spending, automate your savings, stop using credit cards, you can get at least get a second job.

The upside of Ms. Gassman’s situation is that she’s doing what it takes to pay her bills…working a crazy number of odd part-time jobs.

Not everybody is willing to do that.

But the ones that do get ahead.

Second jobs are what started me on the road out of debt and to financial security. And in one way or another, I’ve been working multiple jobs for the last five years.

In my mid-twenties, I worked nights and weekends at a Starbucks in addition to my 9-5 job. Later, when blogging grew into a business, I traded actual second jobs for self-employment in addition to my regular employment.

Later this month, I’m going to publish a post offering a behind-the-scenes look at what the business of blogging looks like and how I now make full-time money from this blog spending only a couple hours a week working on it. If you don’t believe me—I understand—I can still hardly believe it, too. But it’s true. (Subscribe if you don’t want to miss it.) In that post, I’m also going to explain why I still have a day job and why I have no intentions of leaving it.

But here’s a hint: Two incomes are better than one.

When you take on a second job, you get:

  • Extra money to pay down debt, start saving, or just get by.
  • Income diversification. You can lose one job and “still have something”.
  • Additional networks and career opportunities. Sometimes, an extra job may turn into something more.

THE DOWNSIDE

Obviously, working multiple jobs requires the one resource more precious than money, our time.

I’m not saying go out and work 100 hours a week. Balance is important. But working 60 hours a week never killed anybody, especially when you’re young and/or single.

In my moonlighting days, I certainly felt a bit of a stigma to working two jobs. (In fact, I chose the Starbucks I worked at because it was a good 30 minutes away from my office; still, I occasionally bumped into a coworker there.) I’m under the impression this may have changed in light of how hard the economy’s been, which would be great. I’d love to hear your input in a comment—how much of a stigma is there to working multiple jobs or working service jobs with a college degree? Is it changing?

WHY I’M TELLING YOU THIS

Simply put, today’s twentysomethings have lousy starting positions for life. Choosing to work multiple jobs for a defined period of time (when you’re young and have the time), is a great way to catapult yourself ahead.

Nobody should work their life away, and that’s not what I’m recommending.

BUT…a few extra hours on the clock today can get you out of debt faster or on track to saving faster. In short, it can pave the way to more secure future. Heck, if Louise Glassman keeps it up, she might even be able to sock something away for retirement.

What about you? Do you work multiple jobs? How’s it helped you? What are the drawbacks? Are there any stigmas to working more than one job or certain kind of jobs? Share your story in a comment.

Photo credit: Adactio.

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. I’m 2 y/o. College degree. I have a job relative to my college degree, making about $50k in Denver. Bought house, manage a mortgage, live with a housemate for extra income and have a retirement fund over $40k. I’m doing decent. I think.

    But, I never really have money left over to (a) pay myself or (b) contribue to an investment account. Almost all of my investment money is qualified.

    I enjoy my job but I coach swimming and rowing on the side. It brings in about $2k for a summer season (june – august) where I coach 10/hours a week (4 days + 1 meet)… That $2k goes to paying down debt, savings account or investing. Rowing coach is 1x week, 4 hours at $20/hr.

    I figured that I’m 27 and have no family commitments (ie, kids). Working a PT job is better than working a PT job when I have more responsibilities. you know? I especially love my PT job because it’s seasonal and gives me a break in between seasons :)

    I think everyone should find extra income :)

    • oops, meant 27.. not 2 .. haha

    • NancyO I agree! You are doing something that you love and making a little extra on the side. What’s not to like about that??? When you ask yourself, should I watch 4 hours of Netflix tonight or build my own dream, the answer becomes pretty obvious.

  2. Gordon D says:

    My first thought is – don’t get into a rut with the 2nd job. I started an evening advising job years ago right across the street from my day job to solve a short term financial crisis. But we adjusted our lifestyle ever so slightly due to the good cash. One evening became two evenings a week. Seven years later I was still at it, but it wasn’t until we moved cities and I was forced to give it up that I realized how bored to tears I was with it. Perhaps that problem’s independent of one job or two. My point is, make the 2nd or 3rd job cash for the extras like debt retirement or saving, unless you’re really happy with it longer term.

  3. I can’t believe you really think people at 25 can have five figure IRA! What the heck they just finished college.
    Maybe at 30.

    • Andrew U says:

      I have a 5 figured IRA and I’m 25. It’s hardly impossible. Five figured IRA simply means I put my max into my 401k (16.5k) and had 5k left over for my IRA two years in a row. With interest and good stock picks (picked up Tesla at 21 and Apple at 250), I’m up to roughly 14k in my IRA.

    • I had a 5-figure IRA at 25. I’m 27 now and have almost a year’s salary in retirement accounts. Granted, a year’s salary for me isn’t even $30000, but it’s certainly doable. I just took all the overtime I could get at my first job (usually only 5 or so hours a week) and put all the extra money from that, tax refunds, etc. straight into the Roth IRA. Hooray for the Saver’s Credit.

    • It’s actually not that inconceivable. I don’t make a high base salary by any means (just $39,000 now, and that wasn’t what I started with). I work a large amount of overtime which benefits me both financially and at my job to gain more recognition for hard work, more knowledge, and a better path towards promotions in the future (it even resulted in a bonus recognizing the hard work). Last year I obtained nearly $6000 in overtime and I’ve already surpassed that this year already.

      When I first got out of college 2 years ago at 21, I was responsible with money but didn’t really grasp saving as much as I should have and spent a great deal of my overtime on pointless purchases. I didn’t accummulate debt and I saved but not at the rate I should have. This year, I decided to raise my 401k contributions and IRA (ironically after I first started reading this blog) as well and pay more careful attention to what I’m spending (while still making sure I enjoyed life). I believe I’m on my way towards being a 25 year old with 5 figures in my IRA. You don’t have to be rolling in the riches (I know I’m not) to be a smart saver and you’ll still be able to live a great life as well.

      • Jessica says:

        I agree…it’s not impossible…when I started with the military at 22, I automatically sacked 5% off the top into our 401K equivalent, and every year I got a longevity raise, I upped my contributions by that monthly equivalent. I hit 5 figures by the time I was 26 (the ’08 crash really hurt me, but it’s finally back up). I don’t max that account because no one matches my contributions, but I max a Roth for the tax advantages. Between those 2 accounts, I have over a year’s salary socked away at this point (27). AND I’ve been “lucky” enough with the high deployment tempo that I’ve FINALLY got 6 months’ salary in an emergency account. Even though they pay us in peanuts, those peanuts add up when you live in the desert with no option to eat out, buy new shoes, or go to the movies.

    • I am 24 and my Roth 401k is currently worth $70,000. It will be fairly close by time I turn 25. It is very possible. I max out my 401 every year and with my company match it equals about 20,000 going into my acct each year. You just have to be dedicated and make sure when you get a raise you add a good portion into your 401 or Ira until it is maxed

      • I’m 25, exactly one year into my first year of a career type full time employment position and I (although barely) did put together a 5 figure 401K. Base of $65k. I agree with David that having the money come out automatically is the best way. (I sort of forgot about the contributions until after one quarter I got a letter in the mail reporting how the 401K was doing).

    • I don’t see any reason why this isn’t possible. You SHOULD be paying yourself!

  4. Great article! Could’nt agree more on the second job if time allows it. I would never suggest anyone to get a second job when in school though (focus on education!!). I was a teaching assitant when I went to university for my masters. I had to do it to get a tuition waiver but my in-state was what was racking up my debt. For a semester I was working on my thesis (no classes) and I took up a pizza delivery job. Had to work about 20 hours as TA in school, 20 hours at pizza place and the rest on my thesis. Unfortunately I could’nt party hard and enjoy my college days. After I graduated I had no job (IT industry in 2003 :-)) so I started working at a nearby gas station to get by my expenses and make minimum payments on the debt. This really helped me not fall off the bandwagon.
    Thankfully, I found a job within six months in my field of study and I was debt free a couple of years later. I was ridiculed for working in a gas station with a masters degree but I’d laugh it off. I guess that’s the tradeoff I made. Not to say I did not have my share of fun…but how much is too much??

  5. I’m so excited to read that you both blog and work a full-time job AND that you like it that way. As my personal coaching business has grown into a successful, fantastic business I find myself wanting that stable steadiness that a day job provides and am re-entering a full-time position again. I know it’s the best decision for me, but still it’s fantastic to hear that someone else is doing the same thing.

    • That’s great that you are still successful though! You should consider focusing more on your personal coaching though, so you can create the stability, right??

  6. If I’m working multiple jobs? YES!!!
    If the economic situation is bad for persons that grew up in this country, that went to college in this country now imagine my situation.

    I graduated from one of the best colleges from whole Latin America, I’m from Mexico and I just moved to live to the U.S.A 3 years ago.
    It seems that being Mexican is something against me, PEOPLE PLEASE STOP THINKING THAT ONLY IN THIS COUNTRY IS THE BEST COLLEGES, THE BEST COMPANIES,, ETC, ETC… Even if I have a college degree I haven’t being able to get a great job, I’m the kind of person that likes to work and meanwhile I work part time for walgreens as customer service assistant, part time as nanny, part time Spanish tutor, part time filling out surveys online, part time as a nanny on-call,, I don’t complain about my economic situation because thank God I still have money to think about traveling, but to be honest I fell really bad because I didn’t go to college to do this kind of jobs, sometimes I feel like a completely looser, and what bothers me more is seen people that barely speak the language and have great jobs, great cars and worse they can’t even know how to drive,, so all what I ask you is please stop thinking that only the persons that come from Asia or India are better than the other ones that come from other countries around the world. It doesn’t mean that because most of the Latins that are living in this country are only worth to do the nanny jobs, waitress, gardening, etc.,, and for those that we have a college degree give us the opportunity to demonstrate that YES we are capable of doing a great job.

    THANK YOU :)

    • Mandy Cat says:

      It’s going to be difficult for you to improve your career prospects in the United States until you improve your English language skills. This posting is barely readable, full of spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation and grammatical errors. If this is the way you present yourself in the work world, you’ll be at Walgreens for a very long time.

      • Christina says:

        Yes there were spelling and grammatical errors but they were no worse than several of my American-Born Anglo peers in my master’s program nor are they worse than the errors committed by some of my now co-workers. You were just nit-picking. This woman is doing great, having been here 3 years. Keep it up, Mariana!

      • What Mandy Cat said was right but the end part, “If this is the way you present yourself in the work world, you’ll be at Walgreens for a very long time. That was really nasty.

    • Wow Mariana, jealous much? You are asking people to not judge you based on your Mexican heritage, yet you are judgmental towards Indians and Asians. In my professional experience, I have found that the typical Indian or Asian to be more qualified than a Mexican in every way. Get over yourself.

      • No, she said that many native-born Americans assume only Asians (including Indians) are qualified. As for your comment about who is better qualified… wow. Individuals are individuals.

    • Mariana,

      Do not get discourage, I am from Mexico too and the truth it does not matter what our race or cultural background is; if we do what we really enjoy we can make a difference among the people around us.
      By the way, I supervise people from Asia, Europe and US. They are great and talented people and they respect me (a Mexican person) because I see their talents, hard work and commitment but overall I respect them.Do not believe what some people replied to you. Mexicans, Asians, American people we are all the same and could reach the same oportunities.
      I also hope you can get a better opportunity and start using your talents.

  7. Andrew U says:

    I recently picked up a second job to compete with some of my peers. I work a full time job as a computer forensic analyst; however, most of my peers working in similar companies with the same experience make 15k more than I do. I decided while I’m finishing my Masters degree to pick up a weekend job bartending/waiting and it’s certainly worked out. I can now bank my entire full-time job check.

  8. I really like this idea, but I have two problems that may prevent me from being able to do a part-time job. The first is my full-time job. I work for a state representative, which means that there are some evenings/weekends I may need to be available to attend events. Also, we spend January to March in our capital city for session. The second problem is that before I got my full-time job, I was applying all over the place just trying to get a job, and most places that I would think might be flexible enough didn’t hire me before because I was “over qualified.” What are some good at-home, flexible type jobs that can be done part-time?

    • Christina says:

      Nicole,

      I believe one of Andrew’s main points was that IF you can swing a 2nd job-it’s a good idea. Sounds like you can’t because of your time constraints so no need to stress over it! :) It will all work out in the end.

    • I have had similar objections from employers. So while it is important to give a complete education and work history you should only expound on experience that would be in accordance with the part time work which you are applying for. A well written cover letter stating why you are seeking part time employment would also help with such objections. A LOT of employers would be happy to benefit from smart qualified help if they understand what has brought you their way. I hope this helps.

    • Nicole, That’s great, but you are right! There are tons of perfect options depending on what your interests are. You can create your own hours and do something that you love instead of being paid “by the hour”.

  9. Gordon D says:

    Nicole – regarding “over qualified” perhaps you need to tailor your resume more to each job, and not disclose all education and experience. I hire in a university setting and do tend to steer away from those with “too much” education for a position, but am surprised when people feel their resume must be a complete audit of their past, instead of just a sales pitch of what they could bring to the position.

    • Gordon D – that’s a good point, but I am not sure if that works on straight online applications for companies like Lowe’s, Macy’s, and other chain stores (like the ones I previously applied for). A good portion of those never ask for a resume, just for you to fill out information like “what is the highest degree you have earned,” etc. Even with my previous customer service experience, I got turned down a lot. It worked out in the end because I did end up finding a full-time job in my field, but now that I am contemplating a part-time second job I have a feeling it will be just as hard. Plus, the time constraints of my full-time. That’s why I would like to find something that could maybe be done from home, but most sites you find are scams.

  10. What an article and what a story. The truth is that you don’t really need a second, third or God forbid, fourth job. Listen up. What you need to do is take a look at your expenditure and decide where you need to trim some fat off.

    The problem is not your income. It is your expenses. You might get by right now that you are young working four jobs but as you get older, you might not be able to do so and if you haven’t learned how to save and live within your means, you will have a problem.

    She pays over $1400 on rent alone every month…can she find a cheaper rent even if it is not in her favorite part of town? Is there anything else she can do to cut down on her expenses?

    • I would say that living where she does allows her to do all of these jobs. These are particularly NYC-type jobs (Spinning Instructor, Actress, Dance Instructor) that she wouldn’t have opportunities for in other places. Regarding neighborhood, if she had to spend more time commuting, she wouldn’t have time to make it to all of these commitments. And you can hardly say that a 290 SQ FT studio is living extravagently!

      • I agree. At first, I thought that was a waste too, but then I thought about my visits to NYC. Those jobs are not in high demand elsewhere, and she’d waste a lot of time commuting if she lived in another part of town. Plus, that rent is high, but it sounds pretty normal for what I know of NYC. (I think about moving there sometimes, and I read a lot about apartments there.) Plus, what she makes isn’t tons of money anyway. She could probably drop one or two of the jobs if she lived elsewhere, but would she get acting gigs? Less likely. Would she waste tons of time commuting? Yes, and time is valuable!

    • You’re really imposing a pretty specific set of values by saying that she ‘doesn’t need’ to focus on earning more, and ‘does need’ to focus on spending less.

      It is okay to want more, as long as you’re willing to earn if. If your own preference is leisure time over things you can buy, earning less and spending less may be the way to go. There’s no reason for everyone to make the same decision as you in this matter — diversity of life approaches makes a society more resilient, not less so.

  11. Michelle says:

    I have been working a 2nd job for about 6 months now. My full time job hours can fluctuate and are often be more than 40 hours a week, working 16-24 hours on top of that requires a lot of dedication. I’m fortunate that I don’t need the 2nd job, like others may need 2nd, 3rd, 4th jobs, but doesn’t make it any easier. The income is being used to save for a down payment for a house (unless I wanted to wait longer to buy with the single income) Though I have cut my expenses, your current salary can only reach a certain budgetary goal when it can.

  12. I love this post. I am 26 and work 40-45 hours per week at a full time job, and 15 hours per week as a restaurant hostess. I don’t need the 2nd job to make ends meet and pay bills. Rather, I am putting my restaurant paychecks in the bank and using them to help me meet various savings goals (a living room set for my new condo, paying down a credit card with a $2000 balance, and saving for a wedding). My checks are very predictable, so I am able to map out exactly when each of my goals be accomplished

    Working the second job allows me to save for these things without paring my budget down to the point where I have zero spending money and can never purchase anything for myself. Don’t get me wrong – I live very modestly. But I like knowing that spending $20 every week or two to get drinks with friends, or buying myself a new outfit here and there, isn’t cutting into my savings progress.

    It is hard to work two jobs sometimes, and most of my friends don’t understand why I do it. Sometimes I even second guess myself and contemplate quitting. When I read posts like this, it reminds me of why I wanted to do this in the first place – doing this for a couple of years will allow me to save money that I wouldn’t normally be able to save, and will help me stay away from credit cards and loans for future purchases. Thanks for reminding me that I am not crazy!!!

  13. I’m a Civil Engineer in Anchorage, Alaska, and I’m 28 y/o, I graduated from college at 23. My salary income is about 72,000. The cost of living up here is really extreme, but I chose to come back because of the high pay that goes with (I believed that with internet orders and more and more big box retailers, eventually the prices would start to be more comparable anyway). I am managing to put money away into a 401K, and have about half my annual income so far. However, I have no emergency fund and no other savings at all. I live virtually paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. I’m new to this finance blog, so I’m still figuring things out, and trying to get things in order. A second job would help, a lot. However, I already work 60 hrs/wk, sometimes more, at my salaried position, and my employer has a clause prohibiting working a second job without having approval first. I haven’t asked, because I already work 60 hr/wk most weeks and am worn out by the time I’m done.

    I will say, as someone from ‘the outside,’ just starting to dig out, hearing about how well others my age are doing doesn’t motivate me, but shun me away. From where I stand this is an insurmountable task in front of me. Money worries have plagued me. At the very worst of it, I stopped checking the mail because I knew it was all collections and bills I couldn’t afford anymore, and notices from the bank that I was over drawn or that something else had bounced. It was easier to pretend it didn’t exist so that I could at least allow myself to go buy food and put gas in my car so I could at least keep going to work.

    Those days are past now. I am watching my credit score recover, and paying off debts from the worst of it. I am almost to the point where I can start saving instead of paying off money I owed from when I was in so much trouble. Now I see my younger friends falling into the same pit holes I did, and seeing that same insurmountable task in front of them. Like me, they’re not having a problem with credit cards, but just making rent, insurance, and a car payment, and working outside of their degrees because that’s all they can do right now (no entry level positions because it’s easier to hire someone with 10 years experience from the lower 48).

    It’s not that it’s impossible to be doing well for ourselves at this age, but that it feels that way to people in a bad situation. Sometimes, all you can do is not think about it and try to keep living, and hope that somehow, it will work out.

    • As an engineer with 5 years experience working 60 hours a week $72,000 isn’t a very exciting salary, and in Alaska I think it means you are under-paid. I would start looking for an employer that will treat you better.

      • Barb in Chicago, IL says:

        I am confused by your posting. In the pat were you doing poorly and now are doing much better?

    • Engineer shout out!!! I understand how Engineers are underpaid, regardless of where the job is! That’s why I started to search for something I could earn extra with and be passionate about.

  14. I used to work, and still working 2 different jobs, If i ever feel like one is giving me hard time i quit it for a while.

    It`s not easy to be committed for 2 works, but if you don`t have the financial support thats what you gotta do for you, for your family, and even friends.

    Although more suitable for people under 30, we can see many people above 30 that still work 2 jobs, but thats only cause they didn`t manage to organize in their life, too many kids, and so on.

    While learning for diploma, it is only fair to afford it via 2 jobs or more (if can manage the pressure).

  15. Christina says:

    I am a 28 y/o Master of Science who just took on a second job. I am a School District Speech Language Pathologist by day (8:15-2:45pm-although I can never actually LEAVE at 2:45 due to lesson planning and what not) and a Home Health Speech Language Pathologist by night (3:00pm to 5:00pm). The pay for school district’s is decent (starting $50k) but Home Health pays $75/hour which makes for great additional income (full-timers do VERY well considering they can set their own hours). The BEST part is that in the summers when I am not working at the school but still getting paid, I have the potential to make double my income as I am able to increase my Home Health hours. One day I would probably consider going full time with Home Health but in the mean time, having these two jobs helps considerably with my family’s expenses (still figuring out how to manage a budget with a mortgage). I see the light…once we are set with our budget and have our emergency fund solid, we can really start tackling our debt! And with my student loans…there is plenty. I’m trying to get husband on board with the 2nd job thing while our baby is still young and we have CHEAP childcare ($60/week thanks to my mother in law). I am also in the process of developing a business with a couple of friends so if that takes off-even better. Anyhow, I see no shame in double-jobbing!! People do what they have to do.

  16. A second job is great, but it really burns people out… I wonder how the quality of life goes. BUT, I’m all for working for yourself. If you can set your own hours, and have that level of flexiblity, it seems to work pretty well. (granted, you’re probably working more hours than you would at a traditional second job, but its more rewarding in my opinion)

  17. I volunteer and that is essentially a “second job” without the pay! I would say to avoid burnout, make sure it is sufficiently different from your primary position. So for example I would never work a second desk job, but working in a cafe or fitness class a few extra hours a week would be welcome if I could make it work with my commute. I know plenty of women who teach yoga in addition to their regular jobs.

  18. I would like to offer up another alternative to the second job scenario. This whole thread reminds me of a Jim Rohn quote “formal education will make you a living, self education will make you a fortune”. From the post and the comments above, I think the standard education is even falling short on providing enough for a living, otherwise why would you need the second, third and fourth jobs? I started learning how money works in my 20′s and still think the best investment I can make is an investment in myself. I regularly seek out mentors who can show me how they broke out of the rat race and got ahead. Doing what the masses are doing, will leave you with what the masses have. Investing in yourself and learning wealth skills, is the only way to freedom.

    Best of Success,
    Dan Giercke
    A Mentored Life

  19. kuttachodna says:

    no college degree here…salary is 69k yr

  20. Working multiple jobs is always essential. Young people I don’t think will ever fully realize how fast your 20s will roll by, then your 30s, then your… 40s? Yeah. Plus, what would you rather do… Sit in your house every day all day? Or, be out, making friends and making money. I’d prefer the latter if you ask me!

  21. Sinclair says:

    I am 23 y/o with a college degree, a month long excursion in Europe under my belt, and the experience of 10 months into the full-time job realm. I work for a non-profit in development, so if that doesn’t speak for itself- I NEED a second job to SAVE. I’ve waited tables since my 3rd year in college, and, basically, I’ve never stopped. My “night time” job is a complete opposite (in environment, cash flow, and energy requirement) from my “desk job,” and I love BOTH. My fundraising job allows me to meet plenty of other professionals for great connections in town as well as provide plenty of materials for my resume and portfolio, should I decide to venture in the future. Waiting tables allows me to kick back, socialize, let a little loose, (and did I mention add $1000 a month to my income?) one or two nights out of the week. Needless to say, as I build my savings and start my IRA account, I will be sticking to this lifestyle for a few more years. As long as I save some time for some rest and an after party here and there, my life is as balanced as ever.

    • 23 years old and only 10 months of full time work?
      I am 25, have been working full time for 8 years, and part time for 13 years! And I have a house, two cars, and all the stuff that goes with it. I guess that is why I work 70 hours a week! Plus, I like to spoil my daughter, and my wife. Working a second job is great if you can swing it, and it allows you to “network”. However, my fulltime job is night shifts, and my part time job is retail. My co-workers think retail would suck, but it actually pays decently, considering I pretty much just get to stand around and watch people shop, and visit with them ( I am a salesman on the side).

      • Hey Matt I was wondering if you would be able to e-mail me with some advice regarding your lifestyle and working two jobs!

        I am 21 and I have just been offered two jobs. The support work job is 10-30 hours a week, varying shifts but mostly night shift. The other is just 10 hours a week at Currys mainly at evenings and weekends.

        I’d like to be able to work both jobs but not sure if this the employers will like it! I love working though… but what if they both ask me to work at the same time? Not sure how to work this?

        Advice please?

        Thanks

        • Just find out what hours both places would like you to work. I work in retail and almost everyone has another job or is in school. Usually people do one of a few strategies:

          1) Tell one employer they can work for them M-Th, and the other F-Sun, or something like that. Or one gets you in the morning, the other in the evening.

          2) Find out when they make their schedules. At one point, I worked at two stores next door to each other. One made their schedule a few days before the other, so I’d just show my boss the first store’s schedule, and he’d work me in when I was free.

          Sometimes it doesn’t work, but you’ll find most retail workers are in school or working multiple jobs. It’s normal. Just be responsible and upfront, and your managers will probably work it out (or at least have the decency to tell you it won’t work.)

        • Also, at my store, we need people during certain times of the day/week (say, Thursday mornings), since most of the employees are unavailable then. So we’d give preference to an applicant who was available then. If he or she was available then, we’d probably be fine with it if they needed to be somewhere else on the weekends, when everyone is free. Every business is different.

  22. I know there is a benefit for multiple streams of income, especially in a time when so many people are losing their only source of income, their job. However, I still feel that one quality job in a career that pays relatively well and that you enjoy, is the way to go. Though I blog on the side and receive a steady stream of “passive” income. I quote passive since I still put a lot of work into writing articles, but I do make money when I sleep….and I dont have to sacrifice the benefits of my primary job.

  23. I constantly worked more than one job – for as long as I can remember!

    I am not in the demographic of this blog anymore, but in the 90s I was – I was in school doing a BS and tutoring on the side. I worked in convenience stores when I couldn’t find anything. After graduating I continued to do this. I’d get off the main job at 4:30, drive home, shower, and be at job number 2 until 12AM – did that 4 days a week and always worked weekends. This blog entry made me consider that I have constantly sought extra work – even in graduate school I taught part time and repaired computers on the side. Even after grad school as a uni instructor I got paid editing gigs online – still going and turned that into a small business.

    I am retiring at 48 – in a few years. However, I am not sure I’ll be able to handle doing nothing. I don’t know how.

  24. Barb in Chicago, IL says:

    I think this is good sound advice for those in their 20s. I worked three jobs while in my 20s while teaching. I had a part-time retail job seasonally (working at the highest earning store in the country) and which turned into more than seasonally when time progressed. At first, I got the job to pay for vacations and drinks with friends. I also worked summer school out of LUCK from a good district. When I lost my “first” job, the manager at the retail location asked me about becoming a manager. I knew that managers made 40K and I could live on that. However, at the time I was interviewing for a new job and landed it. That did not mean that I gave up my 2nd job.
    My only regrets has been on my health and love life. I feel that I let myself go and didn’t concentrate on finding someone special. Now that I just turned 30 and all my friends are healthier than me and married.
    In the long run, was it worth it? I own a condo, but my friends now own condos also but now are married with double incomes. I took the summer off this summer to focus on my health.

    • Andrew U says:

      I’m certainly starting to see what you mean about both love life and maintaining your health. I have less and less time to go out on dates or go to the gym because I’ve been working 60+ hours a week. Working that much makes me tired and I lack motivation to be social or active because I just want to relax.

    • Don’t second guess yourself, you made your own path and did it yourself, take satisfaction from that. Your friends got married and you didn’t, that does not mean that You have fallen short. Marriages are just like people no two are the same and some are great while others are terrible. Your life is not over and You have made no great mistakes. LOVE finds us in it own time, your strong and self reliant as I am and I have no regrets for not trying to fit the mold and niether should You. I hope that your health improves but you should not blame yourself for that either. Being lazy is far more detrimental to a persons health than working hard, so we are all trying to dodge bad health in one way or another.

  25. Zac Cole says:

    Ive been workin 2 jobs off and on for over 8 years. I save more and my bills r never behind. I always have extra for weekends. The downside is i dont get 2 c my wife and kids much. But being able to take care of out needs is a wonderful feeling. As long as i can avoid my wants and habits. lol. Thanks for this post, its motivation.

  26. Ive been working grueling hours and its infinite.

  27. Joshua Harris says:

    Currently 20 years old freshman in college. I work a full time job, while currently seeking a second job to save to pursue my real estate investment dreams. It seems as if even applying for Mcdonalds is tough these days. I guess being at the bottom of the tad-pole along with others who have no strong educational background, makes competition that much harder. However I’m definitively willing to sacrifice the partying and girls to pursue my goals for better long term stability.

  28. Life is a balancing act and the key to staying balanced: moderation in everything. Do not work so much that your health and relationships suffer…life is too short and we only get one shot. Enjoy loved ones, enjoy vacations, enjoy a night out and a day totally free of responsibility. How many older folks’ regrets include “not working enough.” However, a little extra hard work isn’t a bad thing. If having a second job can significantly relieve some financial stress, significantly increase savings and/or decrease debt, or simply allow more easily for some of life’s “extras” like trips, dinner and drinks, a ‘toy’ etc….by all means 10-15 hours a week to do so is well worth it. Just pick a second job that you love, like or at the very least don’t hate. Picking blogging if you enjoy writing, picking serving/bartending if you like socializing, picking construction if you like building, picking coaching if you enjoy sports…this will make your second job not only bearable, but fun AND it will be a lot easier being away from your friends and family, working, if you don’t mind what you are doing. Stigmas will be attached, but stigmas are always attached. It is in the nature of people to judge but intelligent, hard-working people will find any stigma easy to ignore. As long as you balance your time, committments, and efforts to the very best of your ability, the people you truly care about will understand and appreciate your dedication to making not only your life, but even their lives better. I am 26, married, I work full time for a non-profit organization and I am a server a night or two a week. I work hard but I play hard too. I encourage anyone to do the same. Just do it wisely, do it in moderation, and keep reading this blog:)

  29. I’ve always heard the warnings of an emergency fund, but I never started one. I am 28 y/o, have a Master’s degree, and currently work in public service. I gross $33,800/ year. I am single and have no kids, (though I do have a dog). My eyes were opened to a second job when an emergency vet bill in the amount of $173 completely wreaked havoc on my monthly budget. Though I make enough (barely) to pay the monthly bills, that’s all I had been doing. Any emergency or unplanned expense and I was in the hole. I could forget about trips or vacations. Even dinner out with friends is a rare thing. My situation is partly my fault (i.e., getting an almost new used car with an outrageous monthly payment). My puppy, though I love her to pieces, was a gift and the expenses are an added burden. My gas budget for the month has skyrocketed because I go home on lunch to play with and let the puppy out. Thankfully, I work for the school system and have summers and many other days/weeks off. I am working at a fast food restaurant that I managed at when I was in college. Though I was worried about what people would think when they saw me working there again. I have summed it up to this: money is money. With rent, and two student loan bills, I am glad to have the extra. I only plan to work the second job for a year, and I am sure to take time off to rest. The biggest relationship that suffers is with my puppy, as my boyfriend is understanding. I have goals in place, and when I reach them, I will be able to walk away from the second job. Hopefully, a raise is somewhere in my future!

  30. Nicole Moreno says:

    David-

    I happen to be one of those 20-somethings that is barely getting by and IS money conscious. My husband is disabled, and I’m working three jobs to make ends meet. My primary job is an account executive (snazzy title for sales rep) Monday through Friday 8 to 5. I also work part time in retail in a department store (20 hours a week) and sell AVON.

    I work approximately 60 hours a week now, and my husband and I still have to resort to savings. (Luckily we have some, but I fear we will run out before I can finally get ahead on the money issue.)

    Unfortunately, I do feel the stigma of working two jobs, but it’s a small price to pay to keep providing for my husband and myself. That is what really matters.

    I just finished my MBA last summer, so I am hoping in time I can find a better job that pays more than my three jobs combined! And… I think it’s amazing you can make money by blogging. My undergrad work is in Journalism, and blogging would be right up my alley!

    I enjoyed your post, and I look forward to reading more!

    -Nicole

  31. I’m in the process of getting a 2nd job. I plan on saving up for a car and then continue to save. I currently have a car, but I’m either going to sell it once it’s paid off or give it to my brother once he starts driving. :P

  32. I have always had the mindset that I wanted to earn extra income outside of my full-time job. I never had a traditional PT job, but I did find ways to make extra money. My wife and I started as Beachbody Coaches 2 years ago and not our income has tripled and I am retired. I also purchased a lucrative income property as another form of income. We are thankful for the hard work that we put into our PT job because now we can have the financial freedom to travel and I can be a huge part in my son’s life from now on. How much is that worth?? Exactly.

  33. I’m 24 college graduate working a full time job and going to grad school full time at night to get my masters. I make 45k a yr which is after taxes $2,800 a month. I’m going to share my expenses with you. Rent for 1 bedroom apt. is $970. (Cheapest in the area) Utilities, cable, and internet is $300. Phone bill, car insurance, etc. $380. Health insurance $150. I save $500 which leaves me with $500 to live off of. $200 of that goes to gas $200 goes to groceries or eating out and I have $100 left over for spending money which is only $25 a week. I would work a second job if I could but my job requires my full time effort, because I travel a lot, and work weekends sometimes, and I’m always on call. I’m living paycheck to paycheck I’m fortunate I can save $500 a month but it’s still very hard. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing theres light at the end of the tunnel when I finish my masters. I’m expecting at least a 10k increase.

  34. The only way for anyone to get ahead these days is to have more than one job

  35. More like…”Why you SHOULDN’T work two jobs.” I have personally spoken face to face with people that work multiple jobs. I asked them how much sleep they get, and it’s not very much. So if you’re willing to compromise your sleep and health for money,then go ahead,but it’s definitely not worth it.

  36. If you would go for multiple jobs, i think you would consider the volume of your workload. I think side business would be good too.

  37. I had to start freelancing in order to pay off my debt. I got out of college with $50k in credit card debt. The only way out was to work my full time job and pick up freelancing on the side. While it worked, it took a toll on me and my wife.

  38. I’ve worked multiple jobs before. It’s a good source of income and it’s also so much more stable, because if you lose one, then it’s not as devastating. Now, I freelance, do some online work, and blog, which brings in income. I also have a babysitting gig and work my career. So I’m busy but at least if I lose one of them, I’ll be covered while I look for a replacement.

  39. This is a very good blog. I’m 26, and work two jobs. The part time I used to put more hours into, but as my life got busier I had less time for it. I work about an additional 3.5 hrs there after my full time job during the week. I have had my full time job for about 3 years now, and my part time 2 years and 8 months. It has helped me generate about an extra 12k in that time. It helped me purchase a house in Southeast PA as well. That was the key thing. I will now need to save that money for a wedding.

    The part time place I usually work Tuesdays and Wednesdays now. If I can’t make either day or want to switch my schedule around, it’s no problem to them at all. I enjoy the job at times as well being that it’s talking about one of my passions, cars.

    I think it’s good when you are young to earn the extra income and work towards saving for a particular goal. I would get another one as well if I could.

  40. I’m 20 years old going on 21. i work two jobs. i work usually between 30 and 40 hours at my security job of which im paid $10 per hour. back when i first got it in april of this year i put in usually between 60 and 80 hours a week for like two and a half months. of course i was stupid and spent most of that money instead of saving it, so i should have a lot more in the bank than i do now. now i make about $250 a week which could be better, but im living at home so all i pay is my phone bill, car insurance and water. my other job of which i’ve been employed for three years is a gas attendant. i make about $8.50 an hour, and get about between 10 and 15 hours a week. i put that money towards filling my truck up every week on payday and keeping the rest which isnt a whole lot for myself. i put the money i make at my security guard job in my savings, and paying off bills about once a month. so i’d say i’m doing alright. i’m still putting in applications to other places which i would make better money and i’m attending college part time. so i won’t have trouble with college loans and debt. i have to say having two jobs makes life better overall. i’m young and single, why not?

  41. oh and i exercise every day to stay healthy, and have a good balanced diet

  42. Yes, it sounds sad but its reality. One must have to work so much to get just enough these days. You gotta have guts, you gotta be wiser and hardworking to meet with the requirements of the present living.

  43. Thanks for writing this post, I just started a second full-time job, My day job is where I want to be, but my graveyard job in the social services sector is something I am extremely great at. I’m 26 and need badly to get out of student debt. This made me not feel crazy, which is amazing!!

  44. I love this post when I found your blog over 1 1/2 year ago I decided to get a part time job to pay down my 5k worth of credit card debt. That may not seem like a lot to most, but I went to a private college out of state came out with 100k worth of school loans, my full time job pays only 37k about half of that going toward student loan payments and at 27 still live with parents. I wanted to better myself and have now that I paid off my credit card debt and started my 401k I am proud of these small accomplishments but I want to do more. As of now I’m applying for new jobs and hopefully if I acquire one so I will be able to quit my part time job. It is scary with the economy the way it is but I can’t let that stop me from trying to achieve financial stability. Thanks for all of your virtual help and encouragement along the way!!

  45. I started working a second job when I started a full-time internship after graduate school. The internship was paid, but it was minimal so I started working at a high end retailer for the Holiday season. Next thing I knew holiday was over, but the retailer still wanted to keep me on. From there I learned the value of extra income. Through all the new jobs/promotions, etc…ive consistently kept a retail job.

    There is stigma attached to working a second job. I often wonder, “Do people think Im broke or struggling because I work a second job?” When in actuality the second job has been my source of “free” income. I never count the income from my second job in my monthly budget. Its just an extra $300 or so a month that I spend on whatever I want.

    There are drawbacks to second jobs including loss of free time and also the tax issue. For me, I always monitor the income I make from my second job to make sure it doesnt push me into another tax bracket and to see how much my tax liability is increased. When you pay taxes from a PT job making $10/hr or so, the taxes taken out are minimal, but when you add your annual income from your PT job to the income from your FT job, it might increase your overall tax liability.

  46. Its so hard to read all of these. I worked part time all through college, and then several part time jobs after college because I couldn’t land a full time one for quite a while. Now I am 29, working as an office manager/admin making 30k a year…living in the Seattle area, which is crazy expensive ( but where I am from, and where my family is) I have little saved up because of my low salary.
    I feel exhausted after working 8 to 5 on weekdays….but alas, I have tried taking on a second job evenings and weekends. This has meant little time for exercise, or any kind of a relationship. I realize most people are able to work multiple jobs, but I am just beside myself spending all my time at work hoping that I can somehow meet someone and have a family before I am too old to have kids….I don’t feel like I will ever be able to afford it. I have neither time nor money…How do all you with multiple jobs have time to find a partner and start a family?

    • Forgot to mention, I am female…so I will probably need to start having kids by age 35 if i want to do that….

  47. I have worked two jobs for 15 years. People always ask, “How can you do that?” The truth is, I want to retire. I want to own my home. I want to be practically debt free and I want to retire when I’m still healthy. I am still single, am working on paying off my home and my ‘regular’ job just gave me a hefty promotion. Now the question I’m getting is, “Will you quit your 2nd job?” My answer is, “No Way!” I earn a lot of money working in a commissioned sales position (nights and weekends). Plus, they have a 401K match and a pension after 5 years of work! Those benefits would last the rest of my life.
    People aren’t money smart, they’re wrapped up in what use to be available to us as American workers – pension plans and good retirement. That doesn’t exist anymore for most of us. We have to start working to protect ourselves from financial insecurity!!

    Sher

  48. I JUST turned 30 a month ago, but I worked 2 jobs for most of my 20′s (and still do!). Everyone always told me that I was crazy, but I have been on 5 cruises, San Francisco, LA, New York (4 times), Salt Lake City, and Toronto to visit friends for fun! I worked full-time at a bank and as an office manager during my 20′s. I spent my nights and weekends working at Mcdonalds, UPS, or a coffee shop the entire time. I maxed out my 401K with my day job, but it was important for me to visit my friends in these cities. I also really wanted braces and needed $5,000 for those! I am currently working as an accountant and plan to start my own bookkeeping side-business soon. I think I will enjoy having my own business as my part-time job more than working for $10 as a barista!

    I have to agree with whoever said that second jobs can provide the best networking opportunities! I thought the bank was going to get me the accounting job I longed for, but it was a customer who came into the coffee shop! She was a controller at a firm and hired me! I don’t regret how I spent my 20′s because I finished my BBA in Accounting, had my braces on for 3 years, took a lot of vacations, started my accounting job, and added tons of contacts on Linked In. Meeting so many people was something I obviously couldn’t have done staying at home.

    I would recommend anyone in their 20′s without children to get out there at pick-up a second job. Find one that you will enjoy! Coffee shop, YMCA, book store, or your own business. Make sure you learn you customer’s names, develop those relationships and add them on Linked In! You never know how these connections will help you in the future!

    • I love this post!!!! I couldn’t agree with you more. I decided to do the same thing and just focused even more on the things outside of my full time job until I started to earn more than my full time job. Here I am a few years later and doing what I love and met my closest friends in the process. It is quite a freeing feeling and quite a bit more fulfilling than punching a clock and trying to save your way to financial freedom. It’s just not realistic!

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