Imagine this: You walk into a room full of millennials, all of whom are out of college and working in first and second jobs. You ask them, by a show of hands, how many people have complaints about their jobs. Almost all of them raise their hands. The top complaint? Most likely it has something to do with money.
With cost-of-living expenses going up, living on a starting salary is harder than ever — especially if you're trying to make your way in a big city like New York, San Francisco or Chicago. But everyone has to begin somewhere, and starting salaries are all part of the journey (or so you keep telling yourself).
The problem is: How do you afford all of the expenses in your life while making what you're getting paid? For many people, the answer is finding a second job. If you aren't sure whether that's the right option for you, take a look at these questions to ask yourself when considering whether to find a second source of income:
What's Your Financial Situation?
Again, one of the most common reasons people begin to look for second jobs is to make a little extra cash. Part-time jobs are a good way to supplement income or even come up with a little extra spending money.
However, second jobs are not without their disadvantages, especially in the long-term (more on that later). That said, it's a good idea to ask yourself how long you would have to work a second job to get back on track financially and whether you could solve your money woes by sticking to a strict budget instead.
If you need extra money for a specific expense in the future– say, you're moving to a new apartment and need to save up for movers, deposits, fees, and everything else involved– getting a second job for the short-term may be your best option. However, it's a good idea to give yourself a tentative time frame. That way, you can develop a budget for the months you're making extra money and look forward to the days of freedom in your not-so-far future.
How's Your Overall Job Security?
Another reason getting a second job may benefit you? If you're worried about your job security at your current one. For many young people, even a few weeks of not working after losing a job and before finding another one can be the difference between on-time rent payments and an angry landlord. For that reason, it's important to have a backup plan if you think you may be without a job in the near future.
Could You Benefit?
Whether you're looking to save money, get discounts, or further your career, second jobs can have a lot of benefits. If you love clothes, for example, a retail job that offers employee discounts may help you fund this obsession without overspending.
But that's not the only way you can benefit from picking up extra work. If you can find a part-time gig in your industry, it may provide you with opportunities to network and gain valuable skills and insight.
Are You Interested in Another Industry?
Or, if you aren't crazy about the industry you're working in, a second job could allow you to gain experience in a different type of career altogether. Like your college internships, part-time opportunities may allow you to explore options you hadn't considered before or find your calling in an industry you aren't completely familiar with.
Will It Be Too Much?
Second jobs can certainly be beneficial for your life and career, but what about their drawbacks? A major one you should keep in mind if you're considering picking up extra work is burnout.
Many people find themselves exhausted physically and mentally after working two jobs for more than a couple of months, and this can take a huge toll on your body and your mind. That's why it's a good idea to consider a short-term second job.
Will It Interfere?
Another potential negative: Sometimes second jobs are demanding enough that they actually start to interfere with the work you're accomplishing at your main job. In other words, the time you spend and the energy you dedicate somewhere else could mean you're taking less time and spending less energy where it counts the most.
Even if you decide to take a second job, keep this in mind, and make sure you're putting enough into the job that will advance your career the most.
What's Your Priority?
So, all that said, what's the verdict? Is a second job the right choice for you? To make the decision, you must prioritize. Would you rather make extra money while splitting your focus and potentially burning out? Or, is putting yourself on a tight budget, living a bit more frugally than you're used to, but having free time to unwind and let loose a better option for you?
Living on a starting salary isn't easy, but remember: Whether you decide to get a second job for now or develop a budget that helps you spend less, it won't last forever!