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Hi, I am Nataly and I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom! I write the daily Work It, Mom! Blog where I talk about issues affecting working moms, goings on in our Work It, Mom! community, new site features, updates,and contests. I also share my own juggle between work and family and love to see members jump in with comments. Come and visit often!

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Working two jobs: Necessity or pursuing your passion?

Categories: Balancing Act, Career Talk, Working Women Issues, Your life

13 comments

Over the past year I have met a number of moms, including many Work It, Mom! members, bloggers, and contributors, who have two jobs. Many of them do it out of necessity — they can’t provide enough income for their family from just their day job so they take on another. This appears to be a common trend: According to one recent survey 50% of moms said that if they had more time they would take on another job. While I work a lot and often late into the night my hat is off to these moms — I think your stamina and energy are amazing!

But I also know several moms who work on their second job at night, after the kids are asleep, because they are passionate about it. A friend of mine is a lawyer by day and a freelancer writer by night. She is exhausted and doesn’t sleep a lot, but she says that her freelance gig is literally like a lifeline for her, giving her a creative outlet and preventing her from throwing in the towel on the day job she doesn’t enjoy, but pays the bills. I was recently talking to her and asked whether she considered her freelance writing as a hobby or work; she told me emphatically that it’s work, just the kind she enjoys.

Thinking back to my own career I remember only a few years when all the work I did was at my day job. A few years out of college my husband and I lost our minds and started a publishing company. It started out as a fun idea and turned into more work than we could handle (especially when we found out that we were going to be parents). I started working on Work It, Mom! while toiling away at my bill-paying day job, doing it late at night and on weekends. Among the many entrepreneurs I know this is extremely common.

So I got to thinking about this. With all of us working longer hours and more jobs, whether it’s out of necessity or to pursue our passion without starving our families, are we eventually going to run out of steam? Books like The 4 Hour Workweek are hugely popular for no reasons — Americans are overworked. Sure, there is a lot of talk about Generation Y valuing work-life balance more than previous generations, but I know plenty of Generation Y members who are crazy busy and working multiple jobs, so I am not buying it.

What do you think? Are we headed in the wrong direction with this endless overworking? Or are work and life just becoming more blended and it’s OK?



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13 comments so far...

  • I tend to think that it’s both, really.

    Gen X and Gen Y are both more concerned with work-life balance–but I think we are also realistic about the idea that you sometimes have to sacrifice one thing in the short term to achieve a long term goal.

    Let’s face it. While a few companies are finally making more flexible job arrangements available, for most folks, being a freelancer or entrepreneur is their best bet at having the freedom to craft the optimal schedule for their family.

    Right out of college, or with a longer work history of less-relevant jobs, it’s usually hard to break into an industry as a freelancer or startup.

    Bootstrapping often means working more than one job in the short term, but you do it with the hope that you’ll eventually be able to have a much greater level of freedom.

    KatFrench  |  July 9th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

  • I work a second job teaching accounting at a community college. Because the concepts are elementary compared to what I deal with at work all day, I feel like it’s easy money and I actually enjoy teaching. The toughest part is the commute. Based on my experience I think I will continue having some sort of a second job until I have kids. A couple things I try to be aware of are: not increasing my lifestyle so that it’s no longer bonus money because I always want to be able to just walk away. Also, since it is after hours the money has to be worth it. If my earning power increases at my “real” job I will reevaluate if it’s worth my time to do the night job. As long as this job is a low source of stress in my life, I don’t think it’s unhealthy at all…and makes me look like a go getter on the ol’ resume.

    Lindsay  |  July 9th, 2008 at 9:23 pm

  • I either worked two jobs or worked one and took classes until I started teaching full time - with the exception of a short time when my kiddos were babies. Now I “moonlight” judging music festivals, which is something a lot of teacher/ musicians also do. I don’t call it a second job because it is only on Saturdays and only for a few months a year.

    Daisy  |  July 9th, 2008 at 10:22 pm

  • My husband and I bought into our Taekwondo studio where we train as an investment, I quickly learned that owning a business may be an investment but a lot of work too, even an ongoing entity. I find it helps though to actually balance things out which is odd. Its something I can do with my kids so I don’t worry about not having enough time for them though sometimes it would be cool to have more “hang around time”. However when things are nuts at work, I can throw myself into the studio emotionally and vice versa. I don’t know if I can keep the energy up forever but so far its added more to life than its taken away. And the truth is what I learn from one job I often apply to the other.

    Stacey  |  July 9th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

  • Very interesting. Nataly, I like that you brought this up. KatFrench, I agree with you.

    I guess you can say I have two jobs. My day job pays the bills and provides health benefits for the family. And my other job is pursuing my passion, my business.

    I am not in a position where I can quit my day job and fully focus on my start up idea. I work on it in the evenings and weekends. Since the business is in its very early stages, that works for now.

    Eventually I am hoping that my business will replace my day job and I will be a full time entrepreneur.

    Vera Babayeva  |  July 9th, 2008 at 11:58 pm

  • Great topic! I have worked two jobs for several years out of necessity, but have always been lucky enough to find jobs I can do in the evening/early morning while my kids are sleeping. It’s a tough inner struggle wanting to be with your children, but needing to work crazy hours to provide for them. Early in the year I began blaphing (blogging) for the company I’m with now. I am truly inspired by ee and everything they stand for. So although I need to work a second job, I’m more passionate about my second job than I am about my first!

    BlapherMJ  |  July 10th, 2008 at 6:43 am

  • I enjoyed reading this! I have a different take on it because I tend to do the same thing. My day job is accounting and my night gig is an independent consultant with a children’s book publishing company. I feel that when we work late into the night, it’s out of choice because we are pursuing our passion and doing what we really love. Our passion is what gets our hearts pumping and energizes us, and we do this for fun. Eventually this passion will eradicate the need for the day job. The day job just happened to come first.

    Alice  |  July 10th, 2008 at 10:59 am

  • [...] Nataly at Work It, Mom mentions that despite the increase in people working two jobs, Gen Y (and I personally think you have to include Gen X here as well) claim to value work/life balance more than previous generations. [...]

    Wrestling with the Soul of Work, and Stories under the Surface | Internet Bard  |  July 10th, 2008 at 11:40 am

  • [...] answer is this: It’s also amazing what you can do if you feel you have to, whether it’s working two jobs to support your family or carting four kids to karate class because you don’t have a sitter and it doesn’t seem [...]

    How do busy moms do it all? Three answers - The 36-Hour Day - Work It, Mom!  |  July 10th, 2008 at 11:56 am

  • This is a thought provoking topic, Nataly, and especially relevant to a generation who is used to having it all and to instant gratification. To have or not to have a second job is not really a choice for some women. Like you mentioned, it’s an economic reality for some families. Others are fortunate that they have a choice. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with having a second job as a choice as long as you don’t harm or hurt the part or people in your life that mean the most to you. Otherwise, regardless all the justification you use to make yourself feel better, no amount of monetary benefit or self-fulfillment will make it worth it. Didn’t someone once say that no one ever says at their deathbed that they wish they worked more? I also think that successfully juggling 2 jobs and family depends on the “season” in your life as in “there’s a season for everything under the heavens”. Years ago I don’t know how I would have juggled 2 jobs, kids, husband, household, etc. But nowadays, with my kids older and more independent and busier with their own social lives, I can see myself having a second job in the evenings without hurting anything or anyone. This article is actually making me want to look for a “second job” that I can do at home, so if any one out there has any ideas, please let me know …

    Maria Victoria  |  July 11th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

  • I think it’s a little of both. I have two jobs, one sort of necessesity out of the home and the other at home out of pure passion. I work both part-time so I guess I really have one big job! My at home is as an online college instructor and I truly love it. When I get to the point where maybe I can do that and only that (which requires a serious change in my lifestyle habits) I’ll quit the office job.

    I am torn every day with wanting to be with the kids, but also having a challenging career. Luckily I found a job that has been EXTREMELY flexible and I only work 2 days a week. My kids are number one now, so I wouldn’t work two jobs if they were both very time consuming, but I understand some people have to.

    We all get into careers that maybe we thought we’d love when we were younger, or would make us a lot of money then we grow up and realize that we want more family time but the real difficulty is “giving up” that money that we’ve become accustomed to. So that’s where I’ve learned to do it overtime by gradually reducing my hours to the point where one day I will only work my “passion” stay at home job. I know I’m very fortunate though, not everyone can do that!

    Christy  |  July 15th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

  • I work two jobs and have for years. I actually have two full time jobs - during the day I am a school counselor and in the evenngs/nights I work as an on-call social worker for child abuse and neglect. Plus have three teenagers!! Both are challenging and stressful, but, surprisingly I love both jobs and would hate to choose just one. I feel the jobs have been great for my children - they are more compassionate to others situations. Although, they know that mom may have to leave at a moments notice when the pager goes off!!!

    Anita  |  July 18th, 2008 at 12:18 am

  • I think people just like to work and fill their lives with something they can remember the next day. It’s even better when it’s something they love to do. I mean if you don’t know what you want to do in life, just keep doing something and hopefully you’ll find something.

    Ace  |  February 19th, 2009 at 2:03 am

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