Today, many Americans are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. With a still-recovering economy and most young American college grads swimming in debt, the decision to work more than one job seems like obvious plus. However, there is also another set of people working funky hours and odd jobs for a different purpose.
These are the intentional professionals.
Of course, working multiple jobs isn’t how most of us envisioned making a living. When enrolling in four-year institutions, or graduate schools, many young college students saw their futures playing out differently. Personally, I always liked the idea of sitting around my extravagant New York City apartment in designer clothes, tapping away on an apple laptop, and making a living as a writer. That truth no longer exists, if it even ever did in the first place.
There are an estimated 2 million Americans working multiple jobs; A number that has increased 11% since 2007.
While many young workers entered the workforce with little experience and significant financial baggage, they are finding ways to thrive in today’s marketplace. They’re using it as a time to hone in on their dream career, grow their networks, and sharpen vital transferable skills. This market is creating a new type of worker, a multi-faceted, super-worker who is highly connected across various industries.
Besides the obvious benefit of added financial stability, working more than one job has many benefits.
- Discover where you thrive
As you move from one job to the next, certain job placements will suit your life and suit your strengths better than others. This is 10 times stronger than taking a job skills test. This is actual life experience showing you where you belong.
- Develop transferable skills
Transferable skills are unique traits developed in one job and easily moved over and applied in a different job. If working multiple jobs is going to help you reach your goals, it’s important to recognize the skills necessary to be where you want to be, and keep focused on these. Don’t worry if you’re not certain where you want to end up yet, the skills developed in one position will automatically transfer with you wherever you go.
For example; Working in a restaurant requires strong multi-tasking and customer service skills. Teaching in a school requires both of these traits. If you’re in a position now that isn’t what you want, keep your eyes open and be willing to learn. There’s always something to be gained that will help you and your future company.
- Make valuable connections
Networking is important in any career path. Not only does it help to know people in order to get a foot in the door to a career path or a position, it helps to expand your web of knowledge. Groups of people are always stronger than one person alone. You never know where your next opportunity lies, nor do you know who will open the door for you. Do a good job, show up on time, demonstrate strong work ethic, and help whenever you can.
- Dip your toe in the water
Try something out! Maybe you’ve always wanted to work with animals but are uncertain where that path may lead or if you’re willing to leave your current job to get there. Get a part-time job working at an animal hospital, perhaps even a pet-sitting service. What an excellent opportunity to gain connections, learn the vernacular, and find out whether or not the type of job you’ve been daydreaming about fulfills you.
- Enrich your life
Working more than one job is refreshing! So long as you’re able to manage your time efficiently, switching from one job to another that is completely different turns the brain back on and stimulates it in a different way. Especially if the second job is something the worker has been curious about, then this new opportunity could even open up connections and opportunities never available previously.
The Portfolio Life
More and more millenials are piecemealing their careers. Not all of us were forced into working multiple jobs, many of us arrived here looking for a better life balance. Writer Charles Handy, author of The Elephant and the Flea, theorized that many people would begin to lead something he calls the “Portfolio Life.”
In this life, workers choose to vary their work schedules with intention.
The intentional variance is akin to creating a diverse financial portfolio. The worker is not pigeon-holing herself into one category or one set of job skills. She is instead opening up her time to work on multiple things. While keeping the stability of her job she loves, she has now doubled (or tripled) her access, network, and transferable skills. While, of course, also increasing her income.
While not ideal for everyone, for many people it’s a life-changing choice. I know it was for me. Working multiple jobs is sustainable, as long as you choose career paths that speak to you and enrich your life.
Do you agree? If you’ve had this experience, share your story in the comments below!