Overemployment has gained in popularity due to the growing prevalence of remote work, the rise in cost of living, and the popularity of the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early).
The financial benefits make it easy to see why overemployment is so attractive: A Resume Builder survey has found that 1 in 3 remote workers have 2 full-time jobs, with the vast majority making more than 6 figures. If you want to maximize income, it’s certainly a faster route than promotions and pay raises at one company.
Described as working two remote full-time jobs at once, overemployment can absolutely accelerate your path to semi-retirement or full retirement. However, being overemployed isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not a lifestyle for everyone. Doing your research first is key to knowing if overemployment is right for you and how to approach it.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of overemployment, without burning out, getting caught, or making financial mistakes, you must formulate a strategy. In this article, we provide you with 10 tips to be successfully overemployed. Stick to them, and you’ll not only be in a position to avoid potential issues, but also maximize the benefits of overemployment.
1. Do NOT Talk about Having Two Remote Jobs
This first rule of overemployment is obvious, but it must be emphasized. While it can be tempting to talk about how great it is juggling two full-time jobs, information still spreads rapidly via word-of-mouth, especially on online forums. This is how you get caught and get fired from one or both jobs.
For example, the Overemployed Subreddit can be a vital source of information for being overemployed. However, employers do lurk there. If you provide information about what you do or who you are, you could be discovered. Instead, use these forums as a source of information and guidance, rather than a place to discuss your overemployment specifics.
2. Use Paid Time Off (PTO) Wisely
Think of your PTO as a way to meet the requirements of both jobs. Of course, you want a full vacation from both jobs during the year. But also, if Job 1 is particularly busy during a certain period, you can request off Job 2 to focus on meeting your duties at Job 1 (and vice-versa).
Most companies have a set amount of PTO days, and you should use them all! If one of your employers is among the 6% of companies that offer unlimited PTO, take advantage of it.
3. Do NOT Go Above and Beyond
At both jobs, you should be a team player, you should be reliable, and you should produce high-quality work. However, at both jobs, you should not take on extra tasks and projects that are outside the job scope. This is how you get overloaded and burn out.
Going above and beyond also doesn’t carry much benefit. According to academic study published by Sage Journals, exceeding promises or expectations reaps little benefit over simply meeting them. If you break a promise or don’t meet expectations, the consequences can be severe (such as getting fired). In other words, make sure you meet your obligations, but don’t go above and beyond.
4. Work for Companies in Different Time Zones
If possible, find jobs in different time zones to avoid meeting overlap and make it easier to meet deadlines. Overemployed forums are full of funny yet frightening stories about having to be on two client calls at once. The solution here is to not work for companies in the same time zone.
For instance, I have a friend who works for one company in Europe and one in California, while living on the US East Coast. The situation presents almost no overlap in work time. You could try something similar.
5. Take a LinkedIn and Social Media Break
Social media has made it tough to hide today. For workers, your entire employment history is viewable on LinkedIn. If you want to be successfully overemployed, your best option is to turn off your LinkedIn for a while.
How do you explain this to your employers? It’s simple, really. Simply say you’re taking a break from all social media for mental health purposes. You can even cite academic studies that say social media breaks help reduce anxiety and improve productivity.
6. Forget Your Ego
If you’re capable of overemployment, chances are you’re intelligent and efficient. Of course, those are great characteristics to have. However, you can’t let your ego hinder your goal: To maximize income with two jobs.
Here’s how ego can get in the way: You want your peers to view you as incredibly talented, so you spend more time on projects than necessary; you fear being considered average. Expending that extra energy to impress your two employers could lead to unmanageable hours, burnout, and stress.
Simply put, don’t try to be the best employee just because your pride wants you to be. Instead, live by this saying: Why be great at one job when you can be above-average at two?
7. Sleep Well
You may think overemployment requires sacrificing sleep. That’s actually counterproductive. Study after study shows that those who sleep 8 hours per night are more productive than those only getting 5—6 hours. Catching less than 5 hours of sleep per night reduces your productivity by 22%.
So, you should have a consistent sleep schedule. It’s what will keep your brain working at peak levels.
8. Eat Well
While fast food may fit in with the busy daily schedule of overemployment, high fat and high sodium meals can make you groggy and lethargic. Like with sleep, study after study shows that eating healthy meals makes us more engaged, creative, and productive.
To avoid having to eat unhealthy meals on the go, plan out your meals before work. That way, you always have the proper fuel on hand to maximize work efficiency.
9. Have an Exit Strategy If Stress Becomes Too Much
For most, overemployment is a way to get financially ahead, and only should last a few years (and hopefully never much more than a decade). If you’re beginning your overemployed journey, have a financial goal in mind. Once you approach or reach it, it’s perfectly fine to try to go part-time at one job or quit one altogether.
Additionally, be aware that the stress of juggling two jobs may become too much. If you do feel overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a break from overemployment. Just be sure to maximize earnings on the way out.
- Utilizing any PTO you have left
- Giving a month’s notice (enjoy a few extra weeks pay as you help who’s next to your role)
- Reading the employee handbook to see if severance packages are available for employees who resign
10. Have an Exit Strategy If You’re about to Get Caught
You can take every precaution possible, from having different phones for each company to working in different time zones, but still get discovered having two jobs. It could be something your partner says to a friend that gets around. It could be a Job 2 co-worker seeing you with coworkers from Job 1. It could be something you accidentally say about the other job’s client in a meeting.
So, if you feel someone is about to find out you work two jobs, you should begin your exit strategy. Just be sure to maximize earnings on the way out (as mentioned above).
Doing Overemployment the Right Way to Achieve Financial Freedom
The financial benefits of overemployment are tremendous. As we write in our guide to overemployment, being overemployed can allow you to increase your retirement savings by 5-10x. How amazing is that?
Given the financial potential, it’s important that you approach overemployment the right way. Use these tips and you’ll be less likely to experience burnout or get caught. And, you’ll accelerate your path to financial freedom.
Do you have any more tips for successful overemployment? Join the conversation on Facebook!
About the Author
Nick Callos has always had a passion for reading, writing, and discovering the new and unknown. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College. He currently splits his time between his hometown, Chengdu, China, and the open road. A full-time travel writer, Nick hopes his work can inspire others to explore the world more deeply and enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.
Featured image by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash