Juggling a Side Gig While Maintaining a Full-Time Job

By L. Roberts on October 5, 2019

For those of us who have recently graduated from college, or are still making our way through a four-year degree, it’s not unusual for us to try to keep up with multiple jobs. For most of my time during undergrad, I worked more than one job, knowing that a single paycheck just wasn’t going to cut it.

Most of the time, I was working multiple part-time side gigs. I was teaching preschool at a church on Sundays, nannying during the week, and tutoring math in the evenings when my class load wasn’t too heavy. I was skimping on “social time” in order to make $50 here and there so I could afford groceries and gas when I wanted.

I was blessed in college. I had scholarships and my parents helped me, but there was something constantly driving me to keep a job (usually more than one). I think there tends to be this drive inside of millennials that tells us to “work more,” or “work harder,” or “make more money.”

Maybe it’s because we spend four years working our tails off and not having much to show for it. Then, we graduate and get a job that barely makes ends meet. So what do we do? We get a side gig. We squeeze more hours out of ourselves so we can bring home another paycheck (even if it’s tiny). Once you have a college degree, you think you’re going to start making the big bucks. But that’s not necessarily the case. You still have to work your way up the ladder, gaining experience and exposure, meeting all the right people, and then you finally land the job that pays the bills. Only then, you’ve gotten married and had kids and all of a sudden it’s taking triple what you used to need just to make ends meet. So we continue to work multiple side gigs. We hold down a full-time job, but we still look for the cracks that can be filled with just a little bit more income.

If you’re working a full-time job, but you’re also trying to hold down a side gig, here’s a word of advice:

via Pexels.com

1. Set limits for yourself.

Chances are, you’re probably working about 40 hours per week at your full-time job (maybe more). So when you talk yourself into getting a side gig, you’re asking yourself to come up with another 20+ hours in your week. That means another four to five hours per day during the week, unless you’re going to give up your weekends. I know people who have decided taking a day off is “for the birds,” and they’re simply going to work seven days a week. But I honestly don’t know how those people make it.

If you’re going to pick up a side gig and try to hold down your full-time job, you have to set your own limits for yourself. Only YOU know what you can handle. So before you commit to anything, make sure you know just how hard you can push yourself.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule.

Before you sign on the dotted line of your new part-time job, think about WHEN, exactly, you’re going to work this extra gig. It’s in your best interest to develop a weekly schedule of when you’ll get all your hours in. Maybe you’re picking up a job that only requires you to work a few hours on the weekends or at night during the week. You must schedule when those hours are going to be. Go ahead and get into your head that you’ll never have another free Sunday night. Go ahead and tell yourself that Wednesday evenings are for your side gig. Get it on a calendar and post it somewhere you can see it regularly. This is the only way you’ll be able to hold down a full-time job and a side gig.

3. Have a support system.

Your coworkers (at both of your jobs) might end up being the people who help you through the stressful weeks. More than anyone else, they know how hard it is to make ends meet with the job you’re working (hello, education!). So they’ll be the ones who will truly stand by your side on your bad days, make you an extra cup of coffee when you’re dragging, and pulling you together right before your big company meetings. Make sure you have friends and family who will stand behind your hard-working self. When you need some support, you’ll need people who will be there for you.

via Pexels.com

4. Keep things in perspective.

Surely you’re not working a full-time job that’s going nowhere. Surely there’s a way to move up the ladder. So it won’t be like this forever. You won’t always have to work a second job. It’s temporary. Soon enough you’ll be making more money than you know what to do with. Don’t get too caught up in making sure you bring home loads of money. Simply live within your means and make the best of the situation that you’re currently in.

5. Live within your means.

If you haven’t “checked yourself,” then you might not be living within your means. Why are you having to get another job? Is it your credit card bills or having enough to buy your groceries? Hopefully, you haven’t found yourself drowning under a huge pile of debt. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely that a part-time gig is going to solve your issues. At this point, maybe it’s time to move back in with your folks and work your booty off for the next few years.

Working a full-time job and trying to hold down a side gig isn’t easy. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is. If you’ve decided to make this move in your life, make sure you know how you’re going to keep yourself going. Create a schedule for yourself, know your limits, keep yourself in perspective, and make sure you have a support system to keep you going on the days you simply don’t want to go anymore.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her pup at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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