Job loyalty is diminishing quickly.
For some, that means job hopping in a short period of time. For others, it means working two full-time jobs at once. It’s not always out of choice either. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, multiple jobholders reached 8,137,000 this past spring – a sign of a worsening economy as people struggle to support themselves on just one check. We were also reminded this year how quickly companies are to lay people off without much notice or remorse. And it makes some wonder why they should be loyal to just one employer.
In the latest edition of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we hear from a woman who works two full time remote jobs, in addition to freelancing, writing a blog, being a mom, and traveling around the world. For her, it all started with being laid off and never wanting to be unemployed again.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What jobs are you juggling?
I work as an HR technology consultant, which is payroll-related items, and the work tends to be very independent. I am a full-time employee for one job, which I started in January, and then the other I have a three-year contract. Before this one, I had another full-time job that I balanced with my contracted work as well.
Then I do some other consulting on the side. I just finished a six-month contract on top of that, and they asked me to extend it, but I had to say no. I have a lot of projects going on right now, which means lots of meetings.
Why did you decide to work more than one job? Do the two employers know about each other?
I kind of stumbled into it with the contract job. I was only working 24 hours a week at my full-time job and didn’t have a whole lot of work, so I had the time to spare. But what really gave me the idea was because I was laid off during Covid, and I had a limited source of income, and my son was one at the time. It took me four months to find another job and I just never wanted to be in that position again where I lost my sole source of income.
I didn’t feel the need to tell them because they don’t really conflict. If there was a conflict of interest, I would have left one or the other, but there isn’t. I’m being truthful in my hours of work, the work is getting done, I’m not using their equipment, I have two separate laptops. I don’t see a problem with it.
How do you make it work?
It can be rough, because I also travel too. I’m actually in Malaysia right now (note: the companies both know she travels), so the time zone is a huge factor because I work nights instead of days. But I have to keep all of my calendars on my phone and in sync so I don’t have conflicting meetings. And there are times where I still end up with conflicting meetings and I’m on two meetings at one time. It can get a little nerve racking. It’s rare, but it has happened. So I have one earbud in listening to one meeting, one earbud in listening to the other and I kind of bounce between the two. I usually don’t have to be on video, but there have been instances where I’ve led two calls at one time. It was rough, But I got through it with lots of muting and going back and forth. Surprisingly, I did it pretty well.
I try to maneuver my schedule as much as possible. When I schedule for one, I try to block off my calendar for the other. My full time job is in the eastern time zone and my contract job is in central, so I also plan around that. I typically work from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m., and then I go to sleep. I wake up around 9 a.m.. My wife is amazing, she has our son during the morning. And then I wake up and we hangout and do stuff. I come home, I’m asleep by 4 p.m., and then up by 6:30 to work.
What is the benefit of working multiple jobs?
I’ve been doing some fun and exciting projects with big name companies and expanding my skill set. I’ve almost quadrupled my salary. I was making about $80,000, and I’m up to $230,000 now. I also run a digital nomad blog for families, where I make another $50,000.
With each job being remote, we’ve been able to travel full-time. We’ve been in Malaysia for about six weeks. Before that, we were in Cambodia, Singapore, Dubai and Brazil, staying in Airbnbs and apartments around the world. We are flying back to the states for a cruise. It’ll be our first time back since 2022.
We were traveling when I was making just $80,000 a year, but the additional income has definitely given us an opportunity to relax and save more. I get two checks every Friday. I went two paychecks a month to ten. I’m 34-years-old, but I want to retire in 10 years. It’s an opportunity to save a lot faster. My paychecks from one of the jobs goes straight into savings, so we just live off of the other one.
What about burnout?
That’s why I didn’t extend this other contract job when they offered it. Just juggling the two isn’t that bad at all. It’s not super meeting intensive or stress-inducing work. It can be, but it typically isn’t. A third throws a wrench in it.
I see myself juggling the two jobs for at least another two to three years because we want to have another kid. With the contract job, I don’t get any leave or pay. I want that money to take time off, but the full-time job offers those benefits.