Tips for having multiple careers
June 10, 2013 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Do you have advice on pursuing/ handling multiple jobs at once? Especially if both are jobs you plan on making into careers.

Right now I have two jobs, and while they are not permanent and salaried positions, I like both of them and would like to pursue a career/ work in both long-term. My first job is a project coordinator position, and it is a M-F, "formal" job. My second job is on weekends, as an assistant art teacher for kids. I don't have formal art or education training, but I am greatly interested in children and would like to continue assistant teaching on weekends.

In addition to that, I may be starting a traffic coordinator position at a creative agency 3 half-days a week, which may grow into permanent position after my first job ends. Do you have any tips on having two jobs during M-F that are similar in nature, but different in industry? I would like to do well in both and have energy for my second job of the day.

Do any MeFites have experience growing 2 (different) career paths? Mine would be project management and teaching. Perhaps teaching is not my career, but working with kids in some way is. If you have any advice on pursuing a project management career, I would appreciate it too.

1) How can I do my best in each job and be "fresh" when I go to each of them?
2) How do I develop as a project/traffic manager? I've had this role temporarily in IT and possibly creative agency, and I'd like to find a permanent position.
3) If I'm interested in working with kids on the side, how can I develop in this area without getting a degree?

Please tell me about your experience pursuing two careers paths, if it's feasible, and how you managed them. Thanks.
posted by ichomp to Work & Money (2 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I had a similar experience where my dayjob (9-5) was as a project coordinator in an office and my side job was in the arts. I too wanted to succeed at both, but after 5 years of double duty I found it very trying. The biggest conflict was that my co-workers at the dayjob thought I must be unfulfilled to want a side job. They did not always take me seriously because they thought my mind was elsewhere (on my side job, which it was sometimes, unavoidably). My advice here is to keep your dayjob and side job very separate. Whenever it seems like you have 15 minutes here or there to use the copy machine or telephone for the side job, the co-workers will see it as you not getting your work done.

Eventually (5 years) the side job became feasible as full-time freelance work for me. It was a welcome change from working 2 jobs, but it also came as a shock because the side job had always been for low pay, as a sort of hobby. But since I did not have to rely on side job for rent money, my skills developed nicely in that arena, slow and steady. It was like getting a master's degree in my passion project.

Over those 5 years of working 2 jobs I had no other life outside of work. But the sacrifice was worth it. Now I have 1 job and personal time for friends, family, relaxing, and travel, which I think is healthy. It was 5 years of hard work, but worth it in retrospect. Having 2 jobs (ft + pt) is really tough, even if it seems fun at first. If I had kids, I have no idea how I would have managed both jobs.

Can you do your side job on the weekends only, so you have week nights to decompress from dayjob?
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 9:44 PM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: With very few exceptions, I've had two jobs for my entire working life. One is my primary job, "the career". The other is a hobby job or full time school.

A few things:
Don't discuss one job at the other job. Very few coworkers/bosses will support you in that. Your having a second gig brings up a whole bunch of emotions in others: fear that you'll quit, fear that you won't work overtime, guilt that you're doing two jobs and what are they doing with their free time?

Keep your work separate. It's tempting to do a little work on your side project during some downtime on your job. Don't.

Invest in time management skills and tools. You need them.
posted by 26.2 at 10:19 PM on June 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

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