"I work two jobs because I need the money in this economy. My full-time-job salary goes to all my student loans, bills and car payments, while my second paycheck goes towards things that I need or want," says Laura Gutierrez, a full-time marketing assistant for a Minneapolis-based law firm and a part-time liquor store associate. "I make it work because I have to. It's nice that my second job is really flexible and can fit around my unusual hours at the law firm."
Gutierrez is just one out of millions of people working two jobs. In November 2008, 38.6 million people were working part time, defined as working less than 35 hours per week, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of those people, 7.1 million were working part time for economic reasons.
When Catherine Patterson accepted a full-time account executive position for a Chicago-based public relations agency last year, she also accepted a decrease in pay ("Completely worth it," she says). But, she knew she needed to start saving money, so she took on a part-time job as an associate at Potbelly Sandwich Works, where she works two or three shifts per week.
"When I started at Potbelly, I knew the economy was heading for the tank but I didn't foresee it would get this bad," Patterson says. "I am immensely grateful that I have my Potbelly job in addition to my PR job."
Marcy Morrison, owner of Careers with Wings, agrees that many people are working multiple jobs to increase their cash flow. People have to not only deal with usual cost of living increases, but as the job market worsens, more workers are taking salary cuts and dealing with the layoff of a spouse or partner, Morrison says. In order to make ends meet, taking on another job might not be a choice.
"Others might take on a part-time opportunity to increase their skill set to become more marketable in the work force," Morrison says. But the larger percentage of people who take on an additional job for monetary reasons "can find relief in meeting their financial obligations" by working a second job, she says.
Indeed, Dana Hughes has been working two jobs simultaneously for over a year to help pay the bills after her husband was downsized 17 months ago. During the week, she works full time as a communications manager for a nonprofit membership association; on weekends, evenings and holidays, she works as a freelance graphic designer. Hughes, who is also a mom to three young children, says it's often challenging and stressful working all the time; it requires her to be very organized and efficient at managing her time.
If you're thinking about taking on a part-time job in addition to your full-time gig, or if you do this already and need help, here are five tips on how you can make it work and how others make it work every day:
1. Consider what you're doing. "There are lots of ways to make money that don't require physical labor or long, demanding hours," says Katie Mattson, a life coach. "If you have a talent for writing, pick up a few freelance gigs. Bottom line: Try to work a second job that doesn't demand too much from you so you don't overload your system."
2. Find jobs that mesh well. Beth Zeigler is a full-time professional organizer for her own company, Bneato, but for part-time work, she writes for a blog called Apartment Therapy. She writes about inspiring home spaces, how to make space work and organizing -- her expertise. "Not only have I become more of an authority on organizing while writing for AT, it's given my business exposure that I never would have had otherwise," she says.
3. Make time for yourself. "Make sure that you budget adequate time for yourself in the week to recharge your batteries," says Dave Crenshaw, author of "The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing It All Gets Nothing Done." "While holding multiple jobs may help cash flow in the short term, in the long term, the loss will be tremendous if you find yourself unable to hold any job due to stress or health concerns."
4. Find something that works with your schedule. Erin Shanahan worked full time at a publishing company, but needed help paying off some debt, so she found a nonprofit looking for someone to telecommute whenever possible as long as it was 15-20 hours per week. "I would put in my full day at one job, go home and work two to three hours for the other one. I also usually put in at least one full weekend day," Shanahan says. "I made sure to take a night off here or there when I needed to and to do something for fun each weekend to keep me from feeling too stressed out."
5. Be honest with both of your employers. Have an honest conversation with your boss about both of your jobs -- you never want one to start interfering with the other. When Laura Kassenbrock relocated, she took a job that she soon found out was not challenging enough. She found a better fit, but was afraid the short stint would look bad on her résumé. "I made a proposition to my current employer: Keep me on part time and I could do the amount of work I was doing in 40 hours in 20," she says. "It saved them money and allowed me to follow my passion and have extra income to pay my student loans."
"Always work on your long-term vision. You don't want to be stuck with working two jobs forever," Morrison says. "Set goals and get organized on how and when you will reach your ultimate goal and take steps each day to get you closer to that goal."