Feel like you're burning the candle at both ends? Here's how to cope when you work two or more hospitality jobs
In today’s economy – with rental and home prices surging in many markets and the cost of basic living expenses increasing every year – it’s not uncommon for hospitality professionals to work more than one job at a time. In fact, data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 5.3 percent of employed Americans (across every industry) held multiple jobs in October 2016, with the vast majority taking on a secondary part-time job on top of their primary full-time position.
To say that all this time on the job can be rough on your health would be an understatement. All work and no play doesn’t just make Jack a dull boy, as author Stephen King famously wrote in his novel The Shining. It can also lead to chronic stress that manifests as anxiety, irritability, depression and fatigue while causing headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, loneliness, emptiness and despair. Fortunately, there are techniques you can employ to help you cope – and even thrive – when you’re working more than two jobs.
Start by setting clear boundaries. If you’re a rock star at what you do – and we’re sure you are – it’s possible that both of your bosses are going to want to monopolize your services. But while it can be tempting to fill every moment of your week with extra shifts, or call into your lower paying job to pick up unexpected hours at a higher paying one, you need to set boundaries for yourself as well as the people signing your paychecks.
For best results, determine your availability for one job (whether it’s the best paying or just your favorite) and then fit your other position in around it. You might work as a front desk representative in the morning and a bartender in the afternoon, a regular 9-to-5 accounts payable position and late shifts as a waiter, or full time as a hostess during the week and a few shifts cleaning hotel rooms on the weekends.
Don’t neglect to set aside at least one day a week – or a couple substantial blocks of time if a full day isn’t possible – where you don’t work at either job. You’re going to need this free time to relax and decompress as well as take care of errands and chores at home.
Keep track of your schedule and necessary tasks. Whether you use a smartphone app or an old-fashioned day planner, enter your schedule for both jobs each week along with any other appointments you may have. While you’re at it, keep a running list of errands and chores that need completed as well as essential to-do lists for each day in each of your positions. Make this a habit and you’ll always know where you need to be, when you need to be there, and what you need to accomplish – keeping your boss happy and ensuring you do the best possible job at both your places of business.
Careful schedule and to-do tracking will also allow you to see where you need to plan ahead for extra-busy periods when you may need to delegate household matters to roommates or family members or be more proactive with tasks such as laundry or meal prep.
Don’t skimp on sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night for optimal physical and mental health. Depending on your schedule, you may not be able to get all your sleep at one time (if you work a day shift and a late-night shift, for example) so you may need to fit in a few naps as well. You’ll find some great tips from shift workers that may help you make sleep a bigger priority here. They include keeping your jobs as local to your residence as possible so you can avoid a long commute and spending that time on much needed rest instead.
Make an effort to maintain your relationships. If you’re in a long-term relationship with a spouse or partner, discuss the pros and cons of taking on a second job before you start looking for a position. Once you’ve begun moonlighting, check in regularly to get a feel for how well the arrangement is working for both of you. If you find out your additional work is costing you in ways you didn’t imagine or cannot afford, you may want to reconsider your decision. It’s always easier to explore alternative ways to make extra money than to lose an important relationship.
To some extent, this goes for your relationships with friends as well. Plan time to engage with them before or after work, between shifts or on your days off. If you can’t fit in an actual face-to-face coffee date, meal or fun night out, make sure you’re exchanging texts and calls regularly. Good friends will understand your reasons for needing to hold down two jobs and should be willing to work around your busy schedule