How do you switch between roles?
Have you ever considered accepting a second job? Or are you already doing more than one job?
People take on extra roles for a variety of reasons. They might need to make more money. Perhaps they want more fulfillment in their lives. Maybe they want to start a new business, or go back to school. They also might find themselves pushed into this lifestyle as companies strive for a more flexible workforce, or downsize to cut costs.
There's little doubt that doing multiple jobs, or being in multiple roles, can be challenging. In this article, we'll explore the benefits and disadvantages of doing more than one job, and we'll discuss how to cope with the challenges.
Managing two careers or roles doesn't have to mean working a day shift and a night shift – at least, not anymore. Here are a few scenarios:
An accountant has two part-time accounting jobs with two small firms, neither of which has enough work to offer a full-time position.
A marketing executive works four days a week for a large advertising firm, but works unpaid on Fridays for her favorite nonprofit to help with their fund-raising and marketing.
A recent MBA graduate works for a medium-sized consulting firm. She spends half of her time as an internal HR manager, but the other half doing client work.
An ambitious bank teller wants to earn a promotion within the next two years, but has no experience of managing people. He takes a Saturday job as manager of the coffee bar at his local sports center. He's able to get this job, because the center manager recognizes that taking charge of a couple of people serving coffee doesn't require years of experience, but it gives our bank teller a great opportunity to build his résumé.
This article is about people working two or more part-time jobs at separate times of day or of the week. We strongly disapprove of "daylighting", which is the practice of doing freelance work or working for another organization during the time you're being paid by your main employer. This is profoundly unethical, is potentially illegal, and is a breach of trust that could, quite legitimately, lead to dismissal.
Be careful not to slip into this, and be totally transparent, particularly if it’s part of your job to work from home.
In his 2001 book "The Elephant and the Flea," UK professor, speaker, and author Charles Handy calls doing multiple jobs "the portfolio life."
For Handy, managing several different roles is about seamlessly blending work and life together. A weekly schedule might be made up of a mix of activities, similar to someone's investment portfolio. Some activities would be for money, some for personal interest, and still others would be to give back to the community.
According to Handy, a portfolio lifestyle will become much more common in the future, as people seek a better work/life balance.
However, the realities of working multiple jobs can be complex. Let's look at the disadvantages first:
So, what are the benefits of doing multiple jobs?
Doing two jobs can open up plenty of opportunities. And there are several ways to take advantage of them.
First, you might find that one of your roles will improve the other, either through skills learned, through networking, or just through a break from the routine. Managing multiple responsibilities like this can actually help you do both jobs better. So, keep your eyes open for this possibility.
Another advantage is that your clients in one role could easily become your clients in your other role. You might work in IT for a large company, and then get hired to do a related job in the other organization.
How can you cope with the challenges that are sure to arise when you start working multiple jobs?
If you'd like more information on working multiple jobs, check out our Expert Interview One Person/Multiple Careers with Marci Alboher.
Doing two jobs can be incredibly challenging, but it can also open up many opportunities. It's important to have excellent time management skills, and be open with employers about what you're doing.
Techniques like carefully scheduling your day and taking a break during role transitions can help ease the stress of working multiple jobs. It's also really important to ensure that you have sufficient time for rest and family.
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