Friday, September 30, 2022

Is a Second Job Worth It? The Pros and Cons of Working Two Jobs

Getting a second job is worth it in many cases. If you’re trying to achieve a specific goal like saving for a down payment or paying off debt, the added income from working two jobs can make a big impact quickly. A second job is also worth it if you want to learn new skills to further your career.

Woman stressed from working a second job.
Working two jobs brings in extra money, but it can be stressful and exhausting.

If you’re looking to improve your financial situation, you might wonder if getting a second job is worth it. There are pros and cons to everything and working two jobs is no different.

Making more money is one of the best solutions to common financial problems. Working a second job is a way to make extra money, but it’s not the most exciting or lucrative.

An extra $1,000 a month might help you get out of debt, save for a down payment, get a month ahead on your bills, or start an emergency fund, but it’s going to take time, effort, and sacrifices. The question is do the benefits of getting a second job outweigh the drawbacks?

Let’s start with the benefits.

Benefits of Working a Second Job

Besides the obvious making more money, there are several additional advantages to working a second job. Having two jobs will help you:

Reach Your Financial Goals Faster

Setting goals and keeping track of your progress are basic principles of good money management. Whatever your financial goals are, making more money will help you achieve them quicker.

Goal progress might not be immediately apparent, but that doesn’t mean working two jobs is a waste of time.

For example, let’s say your goal is to get out of debt. On your current $40k salary, you estimate it will take you 8 years to be debt free since you can only afford to make the minimum payments.

If a second job gives you $500 extra dollars a month to throw at your debt, you’ll save thousands in interest and shave years off your debt payoff date. If you cut that 8 years down to 2 or 3, the extra money from your second job makes a tremendous impact, but it’s not obvious every day.

Improve Your Financial Stability

If you lost your job today, what kind of financial shape would you be in?

As someone who has been laid off multiple times, watching your income cut to zero with no advance warning is a sickening feeling. A second source of income provides more financial security in the event of a job loss or other unexpected event.

Do you have another income source or enough savings to tide you over? If not, getting a second job might be the answer. You can use the money to build a bigger emergency fund or save it for other things and just be content with not having all your eggs in one basket.

Relieve Financial Stress

Being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and not having any savings causes a lot of stress. You might feel angry, worried, or irritable often.

I’ve been broke, in debt, consumed by negativity, and unsure how I was going to make rent. I lost sleep, withdrew from friends and family, and was unpleasant to be around, mostly because of my money troubles.

Getting a second job and the extra money that comes with it can relieve a lot of the financial stress you feel. Establishing a second source of income did wonders for both my finances and my mental state.

Learn New Skills

There’s always something more to learn. Working a second job can expand your knowledge, help you brush up on some skills you haven’t used in a while, or teach you something entirely new.

For example, you might have to learn new software or hardware in your second job. You might need to sharpen your communication and other people skills. Or maybe you’ll learn things like sales skills that have nothing to do with your primary job.

You can probably learn something whether the second job pays minimum wage, $15 an hour, or whatever. Once you learn something new, it’s yours to keep. The things you learn from your second job could serve you well in your career or in life.

Expand Your Network

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. You’ve heard that a million times, because it’s often true.

When I was a freshman in college, I had a part-time job in an ice cream place. I got along great with one guy I worked with. When I graduated, his dad ended up getting me my first full-time job at a wealth management firm. We still keep in touch.

I never thought scooping ice cream would lead to a career in investments, but it did. I later decided I wanted to be a computer guy and went back to school, but the point is don’t dismiss the networking opportunities a second job provides.

You just never know who you’re going to meet. Even if your second job has nothing to do with your main job, you never know how the connections you make are going to affect your career options and your life.

Downsides of Working Two Jobs

While working two jobs can solve the financial problems you face, it’s not without its cons. Before you go all out looking for a second job, consider the following drawbacks:

You Won’t Have Much Free Time

When you get a second job, you’ll have less time to do what you want to do. That means less time to spend with friends and family. Your hobbies, activities, and social life might fall by the wayside.

If you’re constantly bored or having trouble filling the hours, then less free time might be a positive thing. A second job might also do you some good if you spend a lot of your free time wasting money, being unproductive, or indulging in bad habits.

Working Two Jobs Can Be Physically Draining

Are you the kind of person who needs 9 hours of sleep a night? Do you enjoy physical activities like lifting weights, running, or playing sports?

If so, taking on a second job might not be the right move. A second job might cut into your sleep, and you might be too tired to do anything other than recharge.

If you’ve been chained to a desk for a long time, a second job where you’re on your feet your entire shift might feel like punishment.

Even if your second job is not physically demanding, long hours can sap your energy. I’ve been driving for DoorDash for a little while now. It’s not like hard physical labor, but if I work a full day at my day job then do deliveries during peak dinner hours, I feel it.

It Can Be Stressful

A second job can be a valuable source of income. It can also be a source of stress. Heavy workloads and little time for yourself can be stressful.

Running from job to job, not getting enough sleep, socializing less, and not being able to take a break from working might wear on you. Learning new skills and dealing with new people can add stress.

Don’t take a job that has pressure built in. A job that has a sales quota or requires you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, like cold calling, could be a disaster for your stress levels.

Taking on more stress to get rid of your financial stress isn’t sustainable or sensible. Make sure you have an outlet for coping with stress before you commit to adding another 20 – 40 hours to your work week. Find a second job you enjoy that won’t put you in stressful situations.

You Might Jeopardize Your Main Job

Unless you have a contract that specifies the reasons you can be terminated or belong to a union with a collectively bargained agreement in place, your employer might have the right to fire you for having another job. One thing you don’t want to do when starting a second job is put your primary income at risk.

Your company might have a ban on moonlighting. Some companies require notification and approval of your second job. By getting another job or not reporting your second job to your first employer, you could be violating policy and end up fired.

If you take a second job with a competitor or use your principal employer’s equipment to do work for your other job, that’s an obvious conflict of interest and a fireable offense. You won’t have much of a defense if you’re caught.

If your performance, productivity, or attendance slips after you take on another job, that’s a clear sign you’ve taken on too much. If you’re showing up late, unprepared for work, or clearly exhausted, that second job will get you in trouble or possibly fired from your first job.

Check your state’s employment laws and your company’s policies before finding a second job. You don’t want to put yourself at risk of being cut off from your main source of income.

Your Relationships Might Suffer

When you spend most of your waking hours working, you won’t have much time for the people in your life who matter. A second job can make it rough on your partner, children, family, and friends who depend on you for things other than money.

If your family and friends are accustomed to you being available, suddenly being busy and saying no all the time might be too much for your relationships to bear. Routines, commitments, and expectations might have to change, which can cause anger and resentment.

Before you get a second job, talk about it with your family and the other important people in your life. Go over the changes that will happen because of your lack of availability.

You need them to be on board and supportive. No second job is worth blowing up your relationships.

Is Working Two Jobs Worth It?

Working two jobs is worth it if it helps solve financial problems without negatively impacting your life. The extra money from working two jobs can get you out of debt or help you reach other financial goals much faster.

But there are several things to consider before getting a second job. Can you handle it physically and mentally? Are you putting your first job or your relationships at risk? Can you live with the sacrifices you must make? Are there alternatives like asking for a raise or freelancing from home?

So is a second job worth it to you? Weigh the pros and cons of working two jobs, then make your decision accordingly.

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