Some of us are lucky enough to be able to make ends meet with a single job, but the following points are for those looking to pick up a second job for monetary or experience benefits, not because of necessity. Maybe you’ve decided you need a little extra cash, and you have enough spare time up your sleeve to squeeze in a couple of extra shifts outside your regular hours. You might have a holiday you’re trying to pay off, or car repayments that are nudging you towards a second job. Maybe you’re trying to get experience in a different industry or are working towards a major savings goal. Whatever the reason for grabbing the extra hours of work, there are a couple of things you need to know about before embarking on the two job journey.

job things

Weigh up the extra income against tax

When you start working, you fill out a nifty little tax form so that you can get your cut of your pay, and the government can get theirs. On your first job (usually the one where you’re going to be earning the most) you tick the box that says yes to claiming the tax-free threshold so that you don’t have a crazy amount of tax being taken out. But, for your second job, where you’re not going to be working and earning as much, you won’t be claiming this threshold and you’ll be seeing a lot more tax coming out of your payslip. At this point, you should weigh up travel, time, energy and actual income of the second job as well as the extra tax. If it balances out, great, your bank account will be thanking you. But if not, it might be worth dropping the side hustle and spending your time on something else.

Schedule time for yourself

When you’re working two jobs it’s easy to get caught up in the grind and forget how to function if you’re not donning a uniform and slaving away for hours. While you might want to bump up your savings account quickly, or build up experience in a different industry, you need to let yourself breathe and give yourself a chance to laze around in bed or catch up on that TV show you’ve been meaning to watch every now and then.

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Make time for family and friends

Being able to slot in extra night fill shifts at your local supermarket or hours pouring beers in the early hours of the morning at the pub means that the time you had free to spend with your family and friends might be taken up by your second job. Particularly if you’re working a regular 9-5 job, then running off to do a late-night Thursday shift or hours during the weekend, you might find that your schedule isn’t matching up with anyone else’s. Don’t get trapped in an endless work cycle; as good as the money and personal satisfaction of getting so much done may be, it can be pretty isolating if you don’t make time to hang out with people other than your co-workers.

Don’t be scared to say no

If you’re constantly picking up extra shifts and saying yes when your manager asks you to come in, it can be hard to say no when you need a break or have other things on. Don’t be afraid to tell your boss that you can’t come in on your day off or that you can’t cover your co-workers shift for them, even if it’s just so you can have a sleep in. If you’ve got a solid goal in mind it can be easy to feel guilty for not spending every moment working towards it and you might feel like your boss or co-workers will be mad at you for letting them down. What’s important to remember is that you don’t owe anyone anything and a simple ‘Sorry, can’t do it’ is enough if you need a day off.

wanna go home

Know when to stop

You’ve been putting yourself under the pump for the last week/month/year…now what? Know when it’s time to opt out of the extra workload. If you’ve hit your goals or you’re reaching burn out, it’s totally okay to take a step back and readjust your schedule to cut yourself some slack. While you might miss the boosted income for a while, working yourself into the ground isn’t sustainable and you need to look after yourself, especially if the extra hours aren’t really necessary.

Emma Kocbek

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