At the point of this writing, I am currently working two jobs. The first is a possible stepping stone in a call center. The second is a job I wouldn't mind stepping into full time (and then some.) However, regardless of what jobs they are, there are certainly the good, the bad, and the ugly of holding more than one job at once. I will do my best in this to avoid economic and political laments as I describe this triad. (For more in depth on why I am doing two jobs, please read Desperate Living Wage.) That said, to start with the benefits.
Most obviously, the main reason for holding multiple jobs, whether for necessity or greed, is increased income. This allows us to meet our budget for bare necessities and also secondary necessities, e.g. new clothes, preschool for Dante. Though, this also gives us breathing room for unexpected medical or vehicular repair costs. We have the ability to purchase yard implements, as required by our lease, and, you know, adulthood in suburbia. We have yet to acquire a mower and/or trimmer, but that is part to my indecision over an eco-friendly reel mower that may not keep the grass cut and a motorized one with more upkeep. We are also able to contribute more for charity. (I am desperate to see my 10 bikes raised through World Bicycle Relief, even if we have to finish the fund off ourselves.) Finally, as part of full disclosure, it allows us to feel more apt for leisure. Though, we are still attempting to live frugally as we do not want to overextend and shoot ourselves in the foot.
Which, that leads to the next part, the bad. Yes, we have more income, but I am exhausted. During the work week I have minimal downtime. I drive to work at the call center, am there for 8.5 hours, and drive back (9.5 hours total.) I have a little free time as I get ready for bed (half an hour), which is 6-7 hours of sleep. Then, I get about 1.5 hours before heading to the other job, but those are usually filled with errands. I work 4 hours, then head home (which isn't bad as it's only half a mile from home, so even on bike it's two minutes each way.) I get another 1.5 hours, spent playing with Dante, catching up with Casey, and eating. Then the cycle repeats for five days. Friday afternoon my 50 hour weekend starts. However, 12-14 of that is sleep, so we get approximately 36-38 hours together. In total 84-96 hours of sleep and 51-53 hours non-work. I have slowly been learning to savor these hours, but that is the ugly.
The other day Dante and I were out driving to the store before one of my shifts. Always inquisitive, Dante suddenly asks, “Dad, do you have to work today?” I reply, “Yes, both jobs today.” He pauses before continuing, “I'm going to grow up and work really hard so you can stay home and relax with mom.” Oh, my heart. This sweet child of mine, reminding me that despite him not listening about cleaning his room, not jumping on the bed, or not carrying the cats around, he loves and misses me. He recognizes the gravity of our situation even at his young age. He wants more time with his dad and I want more time with my son and wife. Not only is he affected, so too is my relationship with Casey, based on our limited hours together. Apart from breaks and lunches where I can call or text her, communication is severely reduced. As mentioned, errands take up much of the down time, which for her the rest is continuing her studies. We too try more than ever to maximize our time together.
In short, the good is we can afford necessities, some savings for emergencies, and even some leisure. The bad is my body is feeling it, getting only slightly more sleep than in college (not to mention whatever this is doing to me mentally.) The ugly is the direct disconnect effects experienced by my wife and son. I long for the day where one job will suffice (preferably the one about which I am passionate.) At that point I can spend more than a few fleeting hours with my family. I could continue training for charity rides. I could resume attending church. I could have time for friends. Until then, I have to operate like clockwork, lest one second slip away, wasted.