Beyond making ends meet: 4 surprising reasons why employees juggle multiple jobs

April 24, 2024
4 min read
Image of a black individual sitting at a desk with multiple laptops open in front of them. This scene represents the concept of juggling multiple jobs

In 2022, Abby* was getting increasingly worried about the spate of layoffs in the global tech space. Encouraged by her friend who had two software engineering jobs, one at a Nigerian company and another abroad, she decided to get another job to supplement the income from her full-time product design role. 

After several applications, she landed a full-time creative content writer role at a German company. She lasted only eight months before tendering her resignation. 

"Now I know running multiple jobs isn't for me," Abby reflects. 

The psychology of working multiple jobs

A well-documented reason for working multiple jobs is to get by or make ends meet. 


Per a study predicting that poly-employment (working more than one job) will be one of the hottest work trends in 2024, more people will embrace the trend to have more diversified income sources, for several reasons, including childhood experiences of financial insecurity.

A recent post on X (formerly Twitter) by Harry Obi, a blockchain marketing expert, aligns with this. However, his post referred to job-hopping. 

"Workaholism as a trauma response to growing up poor."

Working multiple jobs, as disclosed by different sources could also be a sort of insurance against layoffs. It definitely was for Abby. 

"For eight months, I didn't have to worry about losing a job. Plus, I could comfortably pay my bills."

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A digital strategist/marketer who once worked three full-time jobs, now two, agrees that it provides a sense of job security. After all, "you can't get laid off from your two jobs at the same time," he quips.

Another respondent who started with a part-time job needed a second one to reach her financial goals, something she never considered when she had a full-time job. She seeks jobs in the same field that pay well and don't stress her much.

While Abby and the other respondents don't see multiple jobs as part of their mid to long-term plans, they can’t ignore that the decision currently addresses their immediate needs.

Interestingly, the digital marketer seems to have mastered managing these jobs. 

Talking about schedules, he ensures the times needed to be on-site for his jobs do not clash; while one is fully remote, the others require him to be at the physical office on different days of the week. 

While attesting to the possible impact taking several jobs can have on managing work and life, he proposes that being in management roles and not being entirely hands-on in at least one of the jobs can provide some sort of respite. Another tip he gave is to make sure one of the jobs is what you genuinely enjoy doing. The fulfilment from that may rub off on the other and make it less stressful.

An HR perspective

One person who commented argued that employers have to come to terms with the fact that at some point, their staff will have more than one job. And Bolaji Shote, Founder of Ingenuity HR Solutions, agrees, especially for part-time workers. 

She arrived at this conclusion after encountering three employees who did not disclose their other jobs; she found out herself. 

Shote reveals that employers often pick up on signs that reveal that their staff have other jobs, including absenteeism, distraction, reduced commitment, lack of concentration, and missed deadlines.

Those who have this under control are likely self-motivated and skilled at multitasking. On the other hand, other parts of their lives often suffer. 

Employers might have to let employees go depending on how much of a toll their reduced performances/output have on an organisation’s goals, especially if their loyalty to the company is called to question. But it is not so straightforward. 

It would be unfair to restrict part-time employees, for instance, from having other income streams. But when employees are valuable and handle their roles properly, employers often make concessions and support them. 

Shote acknowledges that the stigma around working multiple jobs has reduced over the years, unlike when it used to be talked about in hushed tones. Now people disclose it boldly. 

"I see that in the nearest future, a lot of people will do multiple jobs and this is why organisations need to start embracing it so that you don't lose out on talent."

The HR professional sees benefits in employees having more than one engagement. She believes that they have diverse skills and experiences, and capabilities that can be used for the good of the company.

But success hinges on effective time management to avoid neglecting one job for another. She has let go of two employees, not because they had other jobs, but because they were obviously overwhelmed and could not deliver on the primary job responsibilities. 

While the digital marketer disclosed his job status to his two employers, he discourages others from doing so.

"I will say it’s best if you don’t let Nigerian employers know you work multiple jobs for obvious reasons."

* - Not real name

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Human enthusiast | Writer | Senior reporter | Podcaster. Find me on Twitter @Nifemeah.
Human enthusiast | Writer | Senior reporter | Podcaster. Find me on Twitter @Nifemeah.
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Human enthusiast | Writer | Senior reporter | Podcaster. Find me on Twitter @Nifemeah.

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