4 pro tips to juggle multiple jobs (and stay sane)
Samantha Renée doesn’t have one 9-to-5 gig — she’s a job juggler.
One part of her career involves working at an e-commerce company, helping support business owners. The other part of her career is being an entrepreneur herself as the owner of an online hair extensions retailer. And, on top of all that, she also does some freelance consulting work on the side.
“I wanted to have more control over my time,” says the 30-year-old Markham, Ont. resident. “I’ve always been very entrepreneurial.”
And she’s not alone. More and more workers — particularly millennials — are opting for the flexibility of multiple jobs, rather than one full-time gig, to gain extra income, pursue passion projects, or build a working schedule that suits their lifestyle.
In Canada, the number of people holding down more than one job rose each year from 2012 to 2016, according to Statistics Canada data. And as Forbes reported last year, more than one third of stateside working millennials have more than one gig, along with 29 per cent of workers aged 35 to 44.
But while it may be trendy, job juggling is just that — a juggling act. So how can you work multiple roles and stay successful? We asked some career experts for their top tips.
“When you’re dealing with multiple schedules and demands from different sources, it’s easy to become overwhelmed,” says Eileen Chadnick, principal at Big Cheese Coaching. And that means it’s important to be as organized as you can be, she says.
Maintaining a tidy e-mail inbox, for instance, can help you stay on top of multiple employers’ demands. It’s also crucial to use a calendar — whether it’s an app, e-mail calendar, or an old-fashioned notebook — to keep track of which days you’re working, any upcoming deadlines, and other job-related dates, to make sure you stay on top of your commitments and don’t double-book your employers.
Transparent communication and clear boundaries are important for job jugglers, says Sarah Vermunt, founder of career coaching company Careergasm and author of Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work.
“If you’re only want a certain number of hours a week or are only available at a certain time of day you have to communicate that upfront, ideally at the time of hiring,” she says. “People are often afraid to do this because they’re scared it might cost them the job, but you don’t want to work for an employer who can’t accommodate your needs anyway.”
It’s also key to maintain those boundaries, Vermunt adds. If an employer isn’t sticking to their end of the agreement, you might need to gently remind them of your availability.
Ask for help
Gwen Elliot, a career transition consultant and self-professed job juggler, says it’s incredibly hard to actually balance multiple jobs successfully — but that’s doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
“You need to communicate what you’re working on and cultivate a supportive team of friends, family, colleagues and perhaps hire help (such as freelancers, coaches, housekeepers etc.) to keep everything your life running smoothly,” she says.
While hiring a housekeeper, for instance, might seem like an extra expense, it could give you more time for work or de-stressing time, which will pay off in the long run.
Enjoy the ride
Not being locked into one full time gig means you can find part-time, contract or freelance roles that align with your interests and the type of hours you enjoy working. So, if you play your cards right, you can wind up with a fulfilling career that doesn’t make you feel trapped by one employer’s schedule or corporate culture.
“Many people are opting out of corporate life and choosing to do this, choosing to build what I call a collage career — customizing a unique combination of work activities so you can build a life that actually feels good,” Vermunt says.
“There is an incredible sense of confidence, creativity and freedom that comes with being a side hustler,” echoes Elliot.