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Can Taking a Second Job Hurt Your Career?


Between reduced work hours and the ever-mounting pressure of debt, a good portion of America’s working class turn to second jobs to supplement income. While a second or even third job can help to put bread on the table, can it actually hurt your chances of landing a dream career later on?

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The Motivation to Work Multiple Jobs

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Most people try to map out a career path early in life, by pursuing training and education in an area of strength. However, the reality for many working folks is that they may not get all the income or benefits they need from a single job in this vocation. In other cases, a lifestyle or family need may necessitate an additional source of income. Either way, the reality for those who take a second job is that there is a lot of juggling of work tasks, skills, and hours for each employer that can create havoc if not managed well.

A New York Times article highlights the growing trend of 20 and 30-somethings who are forced to work second and even as many as four jobs just to survive and pay off college debts in a tough economy. Carl E. Van Horn, the director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers stated that, “Young college graduates working multiple jobs is a natural consequence of a bad labor market and having, on average, $20,000 worth of student loans to pay off.” Others merely take on second jobs to learn new marketable skills in order to leverage themselves better to potential employers.

The Pros and Cons of Working a Second Job

Considering the above motivating factors, there are some unique pros and cons to working a second job. While many people generally start out working two or more part time jobs, they eventually gravitate towards a single job that can offer stability and a salary worthy of their credentials. Sometimes, people create a second income out of a desire to achieve this goal sooner, or to earn the added income to pay for classes. Here are some more pros and cons of working a second job.


  • The opportunity to earn additional income to pay for living and educational expenses.
  • A perception of security in case the primary job falls through or there is a reduction in hours.
  • Added learning experience and training opportunities to boost work skills and references.
  • The freedom of creating your own income through potential self-employment options.


  • The individual must carefully balance out work and life commitments in order to reduce conflicts.
  • Some primary jobs do not like the idea of employees holding additional employment elsewhere.
  • A second job cannot solve financial problems or living expense shortages overnight.
  • May not give it your “all” at your primary job, therefore you may miss out on promotions.

Before You Take a Second Job

When evaluating whether you should take on a second job, take a close look at your lifestyle and career needs. Sure, the extra money may sound nice, but you’ll also want to consider if the second job will be closely tied to the kind of work you ultimately want to do. Keep your goals in mind, manage your time well, and never bite off more than you can chew. Keep close tabs on your physical and mental well-being to avoid career burnout. Find a second job that’s flexible and offers maximum learning and earning potential. Soon you’ll be on your way to success.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a second or third job? How do you manage your time and earnings? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below!

Tess C. Taylor
Read more from Tess C.

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