6 Tips for Keeping Up With Two Jobs
6 Tips for Keeping Up With Two Jobs

Posted on 09 April 2020


The National Wage Council has recommended that when there is no work, employers should support employees taking up a second job to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. This would be mainly part-time or temporary work. (Take a look at what positions are available!)

According to the MOM Advisory, which also details other employer and employee responsibilities, employees may take up a second job unless there are:

  1. Prohibitions in their current employment contract from taking on other forms of work; and/or
  2. Conflict of interest with their current employment.

While the various advisories and recommendations have paved the way for employees to supplement their income with a second job, actually doing the work is another matter entirely. For some of us, this will be our first time juggling two jobs, or the new, part-time job will be very different from what we’re used to. (Just ask the many executives who moonlight as private hire drivers, and always have stories to tell!)

We’ve whittled down a list of five things you must be on top of when you sign your second employment contract, to prevent burnout and over-commitment. They are:

1. Manage expectations

The MOM advisory has laid out some expectations for first and second employers, and employees as well. As an employee, you have the responsibility to:

  1. Discuss and clarify with both employers should there be conflict of interest or conflict in work scheduling.
  2. Ensure that you are able to take on both jobs without compromising the interests of each employer and be transparent in terms of the requirements of both jobs to both employers.

As a general rule, MOM has stated that the first employer remains responsible for salaries, CPF contributions, and statutory and contractual benefits which may be pro-rated based on the reduced work hours; while the second employer is responsible for fulfilling terms in the employment contract.

On a personal level, this means letting your employers know about your hours, commitments, and general job scope. Also, be open for discussion and negotiation especially regarding matters of payouts and benefits as employers may have conflicting concerns.

2. Set clear goals

What do you want out of this second job? To make some cash to tide yourself over this crisis. How much would that be?

.... Many find it easy to answer the first question, and have more difficulty with the second.

Before your leap into your next gig, sit down and do some clear budgeting about how much you want to earn and how much time you have for your second job. After that, look into jobs that will help you achieve these goals and shortlist what you’d like to apply for.

Be realistic and have some clear objectives. Setting clear goals at the start will prevent overloading or overcommitting later, and you’ll feel reassured and confident as you fulfill them

3. Get a schedule

Stay organised to stay on top of things. As your second job will likely be part-time, keep track of shifts and schedules via your Calendar app and set alarms for your various working hours.

Especially with temporary work, your employer may ask you to report on short notice, or have tight deadlines. Remember to check back with your first employer if a conflict of commitment is likely, and sort your priorities.

Even in these turbulent times, you can finalise a schedule and make work routine. Once you get used to it, it will be easier to keep to your time and achieve your goals.

4. Don’t take on more than you can handle

Are you agreeing to extra work hours because you need the money or because the boss begged you desperately? Do you find yourself doing unpaid overtime because the project was larger than first expected?

Avoid overcommitting yourself. You might have been prevented from getting a second job by a limiting contract clause that has suddenly been lifted, and sign up for that position you’ve always wanted to try out… only to find out that the commitment is more than expected.

Organise your time so that you don’t wind up biting off more than you can chew. It’s a good idea to reference the goals you set out beforehand and ask yourself if this job will fit the bill. And when asked to work extra hours or take on another task, check if you can manage it before agreeing.

5. Keep every commitment

At the same time, if you say “yes” to a job, you should see it through. You have a responsibility to finish your tasks and do the best job you can.

While you may need to suddenly cancel things if you’re sick or have urgent business, don’t make a habit of it. Your employers – both of them – are relying on you to work as stipulated, and leaving things half-done or sudden no-shows speak badly of your ability to manage yourself.

Christopher K. Lee, founder and career consultant at PurposeRedeemed.com, had the following advice: “If you find that you're often late or scrambling, take a step back. Evaluate your priorities and determine what you may want to cut back. Focus on excelling at a smaller number of activities. Those successes will take you further in your career than a bunch of mediocre performances.”

6. Give yourself a break

In these difficult times, it may be necessary to get a second job to keep your bills paid. But it’s also necessary to stay healthy and strong (especially to fight off the virus!).

Make sure that you have sufficient time for rest and relaxation. Schedule this in like any other job, and make sure you keep to it.

Some people find that when rushing deadlines and projects for different employers, they cut back on sleep and meals to make the timing work. Don’t do this! The long-term consequences to your health will be dangerous, and work produced in such a state of stress is often rushed and full of mistakes. Make sure you’re as healthy as you can be, and turn in good work!

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