How to Manage a Second Job

Monday, August 5, 2013 - 08:05

By Leon Gettler

Why do people take on second jobs? It’s a growing trend. Some of it might reflect the economy but it’s much more than that. For sure, some have to do it because they need the extra money. But other managers might do it to expand their skills or perhaps they’re starting a business. Others just like having a second job, they like staying busy, still, that can be a strain. How do people cope?

Meghan Casserly at Forbes says people are attracted to second jobs because it gives them the opportunity to expand their skills. It can feel like an extension to your work. Teachers can tutor, graphic designers can do calligraphy, accountants can prepare taxes and anyone with specific expertise can succeed as a consultant, not to mention the thousands of women who supplement their careers by selling Avon products and jewellery using their people or communication skills. “But perhaps the real perks of a secondary job is that it can be completely different from a full-time position,’’ Casserly writes.
But how should you manage it?

The Mind Tools site suggests people only go for a second job that really interests them; there’s no point doing it if they have no passion for it. It might also be helpful to schedule your day in segments, allowing you to put 100 per cent of your attention into each role for a specific amount of time. That increases productivity across the jobs. Stick to a regular schedule. You also have to make sure it fits in with the contractual terms of your job. You could end up in a lot of trouble if you don’t. Another good idea is to consider setting up a “trial period” first. Consider working for free, or for a reduced rate, to get some experience – and see if you really like it, and if it fits your lifestyle. And finally, make sure you still have time for yourself and your family. And acknowledge that you’ll probably have less time for your peers.

How much do you tell your boss? The Lifehacker site says that most managers don’t come with a label describing what variety they are. Because it can be hard to figure the boss’s stance, it’s probably best to keep quiet. But that of course comes after you have checked through the contract to see if you can actually have another job.

Career advisors say you need to think strategically. For example if your reasons are purely monetary, you may be able to talk to your current employer to pick up extra shifts rather than take a second job. If your day job is boring, try finding something on the side that would really interest you. If your first job is a pressure-cooker, find a second one that is relaxing to you. And finally remember, moonlighting in short doses – to accomplish some short-term goals – usually works better than working multiple jobs for long stretches of time.