The Pros and Cons of a Taking a Second Job

by Matt B

At one point or another in our adult life, almost all of us consider taking a second job. Maybe you are looking for some supplemental income for Christmas, so you can get more presents for your kids. Maybe someone in your life has become ill and you need more money to help them out. Maybe you are trying to pad your current income to pay off debt or just improve your current financial situation. Any number of scenarios may arise to make you consider a second job. When weighing the option, take these things into consideration before making the final decision.

Family
Your first thought when debating whether to pick up a second job should be family. After all, this is who you are doing this all for in the first place, right?

  • How much time is this new job going to monopolize?
  • Will this affect the relationship with my family?
  • Is the upside (money, benefits, education) worth the time exchange?
  • Of course you would not want to try to help your family with a supplemental income and then end up driving a wedge between yourself and them due to the time you are putting in. Make sure you are helping more than hurting by asking these questions before deciding on a second job.

    Money

  • Is this job worth what I get paid to do it?
  • How much does it assist myself and my family financially?
  • Does this job open other opportunities?
  • Could this new income help with retirement, or is it only for the “now”?

    Is it worth it to work for $7/hr when you could be spending your time better? Could a budgeting issue be the hole in your finances that you are trying to plug? Money may not be the issue here, it could be poor money management. If the reason for the second job is poor money management, you will have the same problems even with the second income.

    Enjoyment

  • Is this perspective new position something I enjoy, or will it suck the “life” right out of me?
  • How will this new job affect your personal life and personal time?
  • How much will it cut into your entertainment and “quality” time with friends or family?
    I speak here from experience. For a period of about 6 months I worked like a dog. Between my 2 jobs, I averaged between 65-80 hours a week. During that time, I intended to intensely pay off some debt. That did not happen. I still do not know where all of the extra money was going, but it seemed as if I was making little more than I was with only one job. Add to that the lack of time with friends and family and I came out with an experience that I would rather forget. Sometimes a second job can be pure joy. If you choose your second job based on your passions, you could end up with a position that you enjoy so much that it may not even feel like work.

    Future/Retirement
  • Does this position improve my current skills and make me more marketable to other companies?
  • How much will taking this job really improve my financial situation in 1yr/5yr/10yrs? If looking for a boost to skills or talents, there are many secondary jobs that may help you excel. Learning is never a bad thing, so take into account how much more the secondary position will make you worth to other perspective employers.
    If you have weighed everything and taken into account all of the variables such as how badly you need the money or how much your overall quality of life will be affected, you are now ready to get (or not get) a second job. Hopefully, you do not make the same mistake I once did and dive headfirst into a ton of hours with no proper plan for the money. Good luck!

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