Workers Seeking Debt Relief Look to Second Jobs

Workers look to second jobs

Rather than wait for a break in the recession, many people are getting second jobs to find debt relief. More and more households are resorting to moonlighting to fend off unemployment woes, high expenses, wage cuts, and layoffs. The unemployment rate as 10.2% in October, and full-time employees are averaging a record low 33-hour work week. It’s estimated that 7.5 million people now hold multiple jobs.

14-hour work days

Kelli Conway, a graduate of University of Louisiana, works as a junior publicist by day and a restaurant hostess by night. Her average workday is from 10am to 4pm, and then 5pm to 11pm. She told her daytime boss about her second job when she was hired. “The founder of the company was great about it from the get-go,” she said, “he completely understood that I need two jobs to be able to survive in the city.”

Depressing survey statistics

In a recent Yahoo! Survey, almost 15% of respondents had taken a second job because of the recession. The survey also found that almost 30% of workers feel “less satisfied in their jobs” than they did a year ago and 68% are not making as much as they would like. The most telling statistic is that 42% were concerned about job security and worried they would soon suffer a lay-off or furlough.

Second-job remorse

Experts warn that people should be careful about taking on second job. Andrea Kay, a career consultant in Cincinnati, said, “If the second job detracts from time with your family, will you be creating new problems in your life? Who do you need to have a conversation with about that? How will it affect your health? People can get easily overwhelmed when they take on second roles.”
There are also financial issues to consider in taking on a second job. Commuting, daycare, taxes on extra income, and necessary equipment purchases add up. For example, some call centers employ at-home agents at around $8 an hour, but workers have to pay out-of-pocket for a landline that averages $25 to $30 a month. Employees with small children may also still need some type of babysitting care to handle children while they answer calls. If consumers are taking on a second job to find debt relief, they need to be aware of all additional costs involved and make sure the net earnings are worth it.

What are the motivations?

Career counselors warn that if extra funds are the only motivation for taking on a second job, then other options should be explored first. Kay thinks it may be more advantageous to look for ways to increase pay at a first job: “Is there something you can do on the side — education, training — that would enhance your value so you’ll be paid more at your current job or at another one? Or help you build toward that goal in the future?” Like many experts, Kay believes people should figure out what they’d like to learn and what gets them excited as a part of their career goals, rather than simply running after more money.

Focus on building a better career

The bottom line is that consumers should do what they need to do to handle their budgets wisely. A second job can be a healthy alternative if strategized the right way, but there are other options to handling debt relief. It may be wiser to increase marketability and education because this is the kind of action that will contribute to bettering careers, rather than just temporarily bringing in extra cash.

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