For the estimated 25% of the US workforce who have seen their work
shift to be fully remote or for those leaving jobs in search of more fully remote work, there's a new trend that could double your salary. and it's simple, work two or sometimes more, full-time remote jobs
at once and in secret. My household income was probably $300,400,000 somewhere there before, and now we're over a million. People think of those numbers as really big numbers. It's not possible. I think it's just a mindset thing. In a survey published on October of 2021, nearly 40% of remote workers admitted to having two full-time jobs. This movement has been
dubbed over employment, and an entire community has popped up to help navigate their secret double-lives with advice like what you can use to be on two Zoom calls at the same time or how you can avoid
burnout by being mediocre. Proponents believe that for some, it can unlock both more
money and less stress but for both employers and employees, can multiple remote jobs be a sustainable part of our future of work? Trends in multiple full-time employment of course only apply
to certain industries.
There are of course some industries like healthcare and restaurants, and travel that simply can't be remote, but with the exception of those, many have the ability to work from home. Client facing roles or jobs that require in-person attendance can't be done simultaneously unless they operate in
completely different hours of the day. But that leaves a lot of room for knowledge workers, in sectors like technology and finance. People have gotten a lot more efficient working from home. And so that has reduced the working day to some degree and has probably allowed for especially software
developers for instance, to work another job perhaps, because they've saved on time.
Recent research found that 31% of tech professionals
admit to putting in just three to four hours of work a day, with one anonymous Facebook
employee saying that they put in less than one hour of work if you don't factor in
all the hours of meetings. A lot of people in the overemployed community are in accounting,
finance, insurance, sales. Obviously you know, software developers are kind of at the
forefront of the community, and still is the most remote friendly job just from a supply and demand reason. This is the voice of Isaac. He runs the website Overemployed.com a site dedicated to give resources, and promote the idea of working multiple full-time jobs.
And being someone who himself claims to work two jobs, he has asked us to keep his name, voice, and image anonymous. Overemployed really just stemmed from me trying, I guess, it out myself. You know, talking through several different lawyers, looking at my employment contract, and seeking knowledge and permission if you will. And then I happened to
talk to a family member who just, you know, chuckled at the idea 'cause she knew many
people that were doing it, and it's been the biggest
open secret out there.
And I was like, okay. For some, it may be surprising to
know that what people like Isaac are doing doesn't necessarily violate any laws. Generally speaking, there's there's no law that would prohibit an employee from having two jobs at once. At most, it can be a violation
of an employer policy. There are some employers
who have what they call no moonlighting policies. Some are a complete ban
on outside employment. Some say no outside
employment that interferes with your job duties or conflicts with what
you do for the employer or with the employer's business. Nevertheless, those who have two jobs often go to great lengths
to hide that fact. I tend to have a very defined structure on how I structure my days. My day's actually very busy being a dad. That's my number one priority. And then I fit work in kind of 90 minutes you know sprints, I call them, for you know, three four of 'em throughout the day to focus across you know one job or two job. Job one or job two, and get what I need to get done there. One thing is never mix the hardware if you will.
Keep it completely
separated and standalone. Don't use your employers property. Their laptops, computers, printers, paper, whatever
it is to perform work for the other employer. And don't ever lie
about not having the job because employers can you know, fire employees for dishonesty no matter what it relates to. Some companies are catching on to potential moonlighters using tool is like artificial intelligence or productivity monitoring software that can track employee engagement with various tools like monitoring how much your mouse is
moving during the day.
But even for these obstacles, the overemployed community
has well, solutions. And while technology can help keep some of these overemployed workers from legal issues, they also need to be aware of their own mental load. When you're thinking about two jobs, and when you're thinking
about the implications of having two jobs, not just in terms of responsibility but in terms of the psychological load of having to lie and having to hide, I think it, again it depends on your unique situation. It depends on how hard
it is for you to do that, especially when we know
that psychologically when you feel guilty about something, it's like the pressure of being found out, can almost be excruciating. This is Rahaf Harfoush, a digital anthropologist, and researcher who recently wrote a book on hustle culture and burnout. We're playing all of
this overemployment stuff on the backdrop of a global pandemic, of opening and closing borders. We're all already pretty stressed. Many of us are already pretty stressed managing enough uncertainty. So if that's not your personality adding yet another giant bundle of uncertainty that could
have legal, financial, reputational consequences, it would just be something
that I would advise that a person would really think through because you know, all the money that you could earn if it ends up tanking your
reputation in industry or having legal consequences, and stressing you out so you can't even enjoy your time off.
Those are the hidden costs that we need to take a look at. I think that is a misconception that people have that you know, if you do multiple jobs,
you must be overworking. You don't have to if you're productive, and thoughtful about how
you allocate your time with deep focus work, et cetera As Isaac explains having two jobs, at
least in his experience, has actually reduced the
stress around his work. I haven't found it stressful, but to each their own. One of the nice side effects of virtual remote work is, you know, with two jobs or three jobs or whatever, if you don't like a meeting, you don't have to go to it. See what happens. Just say client, "Can I
get the meeting notes?" You know, if that meeting
was wasting your time, it wasn't adding to
your bottom line results that you're tasked to produce.
You can state why. And I think a lot of the overemployers are kind of leading some of the charge, and pushing back with overworking that a lot of people with one job are over compensating actually, and overworking 'cause they worry about their job. And that's why they're
the ones that are like, you know, going through meetings 12 hours a day back-to-back. You know, it's a choice. It's really comes down to, it's a choice of what
you do with your time. And taking that time back is mindset shift that is at the core of what the proponents of overemployment believe. Detach yourself from your job. Don't wrap your identity into work. And strive to simply meet expectations, not exceed them. In our work culture, we have the sociological phenomena called work devotion, which is a set of behaviors that we all do that we've all done that signal to our
colleagues and coworkers that we deserve our success.
So what ends up happening is their sense of self worth becomes intrinsically linked with how hard they work with the type of job that they work, and then it's not even about the job that they have. It's about how hard they're
working for that job. But we've actually been
seeing research-wise economically for years, is that people are working really hard. There are some people
that are working two, and three jobs.
Not overemployment, just two to three jobs in the gig economy, part-time work, and still are not able to make ends meet. And so for me, I think if you are going to do this, and separate your sense
of self from your job, if that's what it takes for you to say, "Hey, I am not my job title. That maybe I wanna be present, and joyful and healthy and happy, and have relationships." I think that's great. And even if it is possible to work two full-time remote jobs, it likely isn't gonna be for everyone. But it does point to a
larger trend happening in work overall, a shifting perspective
on our work life balance. When the pandemic happened, and lots of people lost their jobs, a lot of people were slow to come back to their employer or there was just this psychological shift where they were rethinking the type of work that they wanted, and that resulted in a labor shortage.
And so now people have
this power to negotiate, and sort of get the type
of work that they want. As the economy recovers, workers have used this new power to find better working accommodations in a movement that some have been calling the Great Resignation. We really saw this idea of the Great Resignation start in the middle of last year. And this was as unemployment benefit started to kind of unwind, and people were going
back to jobs that they had before the pandemic, but they realized that the hours were very rigorous for example, or that the work was not positioning them for the
future that they wanted. We've moved away from 40 hours a week at your desk nine to five, and toward people having more autonomy over how want to shape what their careers look like long-term. And for some in the overemployed community, growing your income
the traditional fashion by being promoted can
look less attractive. For example, according to Glassdoor.com the average total pay for a software engineer is about $156,000 per year at Google, and run $166,000 per year at Meta.
And while Senior Software Engineers make significantly more money, it still isn't as much as having two more junior roles. If you have a full-time job, you know you are, you have one source of income. And if based on continuing
economic disruptions, layoffs are becoming more and more common across industries. So does it make sense for you to devote all of your time and your extra time into one company where one day you can
come into the office, and suddenly it's like, guess what? No more job. This has just sort of opened a door for people to navigate
employment in new ways but it doesn't necessarily mean people are gonna be able to sustain two, three jobs at a time for many years because as we mentioned,
burnout is a real thing. And even if you can do
it for a year or so, it doesn't mean you can do it you know, once you've got children or once you've got other responsibilities that kind of take time out of your day. I think you're gonna find that there are people that are going to be engaging in overemployment for very different reasons in very different ways.
If there's one thing that we can take away from overemployment, it's this idea that we have more control over our time than we think. There are things that
we believe to be true about working about our day-to-day, about our calendars, about our relationships with our teams, and our bosses that are the way they are because we've never questioned them because that's just how
they've always been. So the more interesting
thing to think about is how can I – where can I do things a bit differently? Where can I explore new ideas or try new things or
test out new concepts? And maybe by doing that,
you'll start to shift, and realize that your work reality is whatever you make it..