Trent over at The Simple Dollar just wrote a great post about second jobs, and it’s an issue I have a few thoughts on, too. Since I started working as a teacher I’ve always had a “second job” of sorts. I coordinate an after-school tutoring program and work as a tutor in another. If I’m not doing either of those jobs, I’m writing curriculum or teaching summer school. Today, for example, I worked from 2:30-6:00 on coordinating today’s after school program and getting ready for tomorrow’s. I definitely put in enough hours in these programs to consider them a second job. Trent’s post really focused on how difficult it is to take on a second job and maintain your focus on the first.
My opinion about second jobs is pretty simple:
Is it exhausting to work two jobs? Yes.
Is it worth the energy? Absolutely.
I was extremely surprised to see how many commenters were negative about the idea of taking on a second job, ostensibly for the purpose of paying off debt or saving for something big (the person who wrote the original note to Trent that sparked the post didn’t give too many details about her financial situation.) In my opinion, taking on a second job is the single most important thing you can do to advance your financial goals, even more important than cutting spending. Of course, that’s a debate in and of itself, but I feel very strongly about increasing income as a means of achieving financial goals. Especially if you are currently trying to survive on minimum wage.
I have three simple reasons for being in favor of second jobs:
1. While cutting spending works, it works only so fast. Taking on a second job will give you a big boost in the right direction quickly and tangibly. If every two weeks you’re raking in an extra $100-$200, you can immediately see that debt go down, rather than painfully cutting every luxury from your budget just to squeeze an extra $100 out of your income every month.
2. Second jobs can serve the dual purpose of increasing your work experience and building your resume if you choose the work carefully, thus allowing you greater earning potential in the future.
3. If you’re working a second job, you have less time and energy to spend money. You kind of just want to go home, eat dinner, and go to bed.
Number three on my list is probably the most controversial. A lot of people would argue that this is no way to live your life. I agree. Which should motivate you to suck it up and get your debt paid off or your down payment saved up for so you never have to live this way again.
Of course, I do have certain stipulations about what type of second job is worth the time energy. In my opinion, a second job has to pay a relatively substantial hourly rate, have a flexible enough schedule that you’re able to continue working at your first job, and confer some type of professional benefit. If you’re working for minimum wage at a job that in no way advances you professionally – or that you don’t find personally interesting or fulfilling – it’s probably not worth the energy you’re putting out. But keep looking – great second jobs are out there!
What are your thoughts on second jobs?