In an economy that has often been unpredictable when it comes to knowing whether or not a job will cease to exist, many people decide to take on a secondary job out of need or want. For some it is a way to make a career change, for others it is a feeling of security. Individual financial circumstances usually play a primary role in the decision of whether or not a person works two jobs.

There are a variety of other reasons why someone may decide to take on a second job, but before taking this step it is a good idea to also consider the disadvantages of working two jobs before making that a commitment to add many more additional hours to your work week.

Top drawbacks to working two jobs can include:

Less Social Time

Those who work more than one job can likely attest that their level of socialization with family and friends is significantly decreased. Everyone needs to have down time. People that work around the clock, and/or are always on the go due to work obligations, are not usually unable to carve in time for other activities. Over time a person a person may become at risk to becoming isolated from family and friends.

On the go
Credit: Nguyen Vu Hung on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

In marriages, the level of time absent from home can create problems with a spouse or put stress on the kids. For instance, if one spouse is working two jobs and the other is bearing the brunt of tending to the home and children, he or she may become burnt out as well, not to mention become lonely for adult company. This aspect of working two jobs is something to seriously consider because the extra cash may not be worth the cost of causing family problems or discord.


While the extra money received each week from working two jobs is appealing, the exhaustion that often accompanies working more than one job is not. It is not uncommon for those who work two jobs to find themselves too exhausted to meet other obligations or take care of other household needs.

This exhaustion typically comes not only from working hard, but also from a lack of sleep depending on the shifts worked. Often when a person works two jobs, sleep comes at a premium and one of the first things people opt to compromise on when it comes to trying to balance both jobs with the other aspects of life. Exhaustion can lead to burnout and other health problems.

Sleeping in public transportation on the trainCredit: Sasitis/Public Domain

Burnout and Health Problems

People who work two jobs may eventually find themselves suffering beyond exhaustion leading to complete burnout and/or find themselves experiencing other types of health problems. The human body is not designed to take on an overabundance of activity with little sleep and, over the course of time, if the body and brain does not have adequate rest to correlate with the level of activity being done, a person can become ill.

A lack of sleep has a tendency to bring on migraine or tension headaches. Stress can affect blood pressure and this can also lead to problematic health issues. In addition, when burnout occurs, the body's natural defenses may not be able to keep up with the pace of activity and a person's health could suffer with frequent illnesses and/or infections.

Additionally, working too many hours has also been linked to depression. In 2012 a study published in PLoS ONE suggested people who work more than 11 hours a day "more-than-doubled risk of a major depressive episode," reported Huffington Post. 1

[Related Reading: 5 Ways to Ruin Your Sleep ]

Increases Stress

With increased responsibility that two jobs bring, a person's individual stress may increase along with the responsibility and obligations. Time will come at a premium and in addition to the constraints of the clock, a person should consider the fact that they'll have two bosses which may be demanding, two sets of colleagues to work with and two different work policies. Double the work life may cause stress that may not be bearable for some.

Woman under stress
Credit: eflon on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

Puts Job(s) at Risk

If any of the above downsides occur, this may impact a person's ability to work at both of their jobs and remain at a productive level. As a result, judgement can become impaired and a person's quality of work can suffer. It is not easy to keep up the pace of two jobs, but be assured both bosses will take note if productivity or quality of work decreases.

"I can tell you from experience that going into a meeting tired and distracted means you will suck in that meeting," says You'll be bad at generating new ideas, finding creative solutions to problems, and worst of all you'll suck at listening attentively to the people around you. That disrespects them and wastes their time as well as yours." (quote via Inc.) 2

If too much decrease in quality occurs, this can put both the primary and secondary job at risk. Before taking on another position, be sure you can absolutely handle it and that you are getting enough rest in order to properly function. If not, you could hurt yourself professionally and potentially find yourself out of one or both jobs.

While there are many advantages to taking on a second job, the disadvantages should also be considered when weighing this decision. Some people can indeed work two jobs and be successful at it, but this is not for everyone. The tradeoffs on health or family life may not be worth the extra paycheck.  Are the extra hours spent away from a family or social life worth it in the end? Or will you look back on regret (especially if you have kids who tend to grow up quickly) because you missed out on many special events or opportunities because you were working too many extra hours?

Sometimes the money is needed, but truly evaluate whether or not it is a want or a need before making the tradeoff.


[Related reading: Overcoming Information Overload at Work ]