Would you rather have two jobs or one?
Now, I realize that reactions will probably fall into two categories:
1. "In this economy I'd be happy if I could find one job!"
2. "I barely have time to do one job, let alone two."
Both good points, but they also bring up two reasons many workers are choosing two jobs over one: the economy and time.
For many job seekers, a full-time, permanent position is an ideal solution to their job woes, but the economic situation has put many employers on a hiring freeze. Even if they want and need full-time employees, they don't have the budgets to bring someone on board. They're turning to an alternative solution: part-time (and possibly temporary) positions.
If you're averse to the 9-to-5 grind that monopolizes your weekdays, part-time jobs can offer you the flexibility you need. Today, plenty of people are doing this and they're finding it a better alternative than being unemployed or stuck in a job they hate.
Scott Rutt works two jobs, although they're technically classified as full-time positions. In today's economy, he takes comfort in having at least one job to rely on if he loses the other.
"I split my time between a business intelligence software company by day and a major financial reporting Web site by night," Rutt says. "I've found it very beneficial since both companies have downsized in recent months. I was able to avoid the layoff in both cases, but took a lot of comfort in knowing that I'd still be able to at least make the mortgage."
Aside from financial security, two jobs can also offer you the comfort of a smooth transition into a new field or business venture. You can't always land a full-time job in a new industry, but with a second job, part-time job you have the flexibility to try new things. This is especially true if you want to be an independent worker or start your own business.
"This is a great opportunity for people who have ambitions of being their own business to take advantage," says Jill Lazar of Everything Events, an event-planning company. "If you can't find a full-time job right away, contract your work out to small businesses that can't afford to hire someone full time." She runs her own small business and works as an event planner. Her partner does the same.
"She enjoys both the security of the job and still receives health benefits, yet gets to be in business for herself as well. Sounds like the best of both worlds," Lazar says.
If you're supposed to clock in at 9 a.m. and clock out at 5 p.m. (or later), your personal life and obligations have to be squeezed into weekday evenings and weekends. While that may be fine for many workers, it's not simple for everyone. Life doesn't always work around your 40-hour schedule.
Heidi Waterfield has two part-time jobs at SFBags.com and Square Two Designs, both as communications director, and she finds the flexibility refreshing. This includes the freedom to concentrate on the more pressing job of the moment.
"I can also focus my efforts on the job that is at that time most in need of my time," she says. "Sometimes when both jobs heat up, it gets pretty busy, but I'm gaining many more new skills by having two jobs than I would by having only one of them."
Her latter point is also worth thinking about from a job-seeking perspective. In a competitive job market, you want to outshine the other candidates. A work history that proves you're the ultimate multitasker and allows you to acquire new skills faster than other job seekers? Not too shabby.
You can expect find more employers open to these types of opportunities, says Robbie Kellman Baxter, a strategy consultant for consulting firm Peninsula Strategies.
"One of the great things about this down turn is that companies are getting serious about flexible work. It's in their interest and the employee's interest," she says. Employers need help but don't have the financial freedom to hire whomever they want and job seekers need a paycheck and a job that's suitable for their lifestyles.
"Two part-time jobs? Three part-time jobs? Short-term roles? Remote? It's all fair game," Baxter says. "Everyone is thinking more creatively and flexibly about their careers. Most jobs can incorporate flexibility around the scope of your role, the distribution of the hours you work, the location of work and the duration of your role."
If you feel like your current situation isn't working for you as well as it could, finding part-time work might be the way to solve your problem.