If you feel extremely cash strapped one of the debt management tips you’re almost sure to run into is to take on a second job. Make no mistake about it. This is definitely a good way to earn money that could be used to pay down debt. While part-time jobs rarely pay more than $8 or $10 an hour this can still add up to around $600 a month after taxes, which could certainly help get your debts paid down and fairly quickly. Of course, second jobs are not just for people that need to earn extra money. For some people it’s because they want to learn new skills or feel like more of a free agent. Of course, not all employers are keen on the idea of their people working second jobs.
Like many things in life there are both pros and cons to moonlighting. And you should be sure to weigh them before you go out looking for that second job.
Of course, the biggest pro to moonlighting is money. This is without question the biggest reason why people take on second jobs. Even if you’re not struggling to pay down your debts, today’s health insurance premiums and the ever-increasing cost of food can be an incentive to taking on part-time work. Or given the state of the economy you might be one of those people where your income has been frozen. Or maybe you work for a company that thinks a 1.5% annual raise is totally sufficient even though it’s not even enough to keep up with inflation.
There are also psychological benefits to having a second job. You might feel freer if you’re not totally beholden to one company. A second job can also serve as a nice change of pace giving you a break from the work you do five days a week. You might see your full-time job as something to just get through every day. A second job in an entirely different field could actually be energizing as it would not only give you something different to do but something different to think about.
Moonlighting can also mean increased security. A lot of professionals these days look at moonlighting as a fallback position because there is the belief that their jobs are not very secure – which is often the case — and that a second job would be there in the event they dud lose their jobs. Plus, there’s always the possibility that the part-time job could turn into full time work
Taking on a second job can also mean learning new skills. You might be thinking about changing careers but are a bit afraid to take the plunge. If you could get a part-time job in that other field it would be a good way to test out things at the same time as boosting your income.
The biggest con to moonlighting is your time. You may not really want to spend 10 or as many as 20 hours a week working a second job. Plus, there could be a hassle in terms of commuting, along with the time you would lose with your significant others that would like to see more of you and not less.
Second, there could be a conflict of interest. You could be in a very dicey position if you were consulting for even an indirect competitor. This can be a particularly large issue in software engineering and other industries where you would use what you learned from your current employer. The fact is your employer has a right to any intellectual property you created and you would need to be careful to not use it.
Working a second job could actually lead you to burn out. Your performance at your current job could slip. There are companies that want your full-time attention even in off-hours.
Finally, taking on a second job could irritate your employer. While your company might allow moonlighting, your supervisor or manager may not like it. Some think that they’re paying you X dollars a year and that should be enough.
Tips for making it work
Before you take on a second job there are tips for making it work. First, be sure to choose an unrelated field. This would reduce the chances of becoming burned out or running into a conflict of interest. For example, if you’re a marketing professional you might be better off teaching music or doing landscape architecture.
A second good tip is to check with your HR department. Your company might have moonlighting policies in place. If your employer doesn’t it would be wise to check and see if a second job would be a conflict. This is particularly important if you’re considering part-time work for a company related to your full-time job.
Finally, think about why you’re doing it. While it’s certainly okay to supplement your income you need to think about how a second job would impact your overall career plan.