The side hustle is back

Lizzy O’Connor, 26, is a nurse at Horizon Family Medical in Monroe, NY. And on weekends for a year and a half, she’s been a bartender working on big events like weddings and company parties at the Villa Venezia barn in Middletown.

“I just picked it up for some extra money,” she said of the weekend gig. “You know, my fiancé and I are getting married in July, so I’m just trying to save as much money as I can now, while I’m young,” she said. “I don’t want to go into debt in the future, start a family in a few years. I think now is the time to do it, to work our butts off now while we can.

She’s determined to pay for her own wedding, and she plans to do both jobs until she walks down that aisle. “A lot of people usually get help from their parents, but I just have a mindset, I wanted to do it myself. You know, my parents really gave me everything in life, so I ‘just trying to help them as much as I can by trying to pay myself now,’ said O’Connor, the youngest of four siblings.

The bartender makes an average of $300 a night, on top of the $60,000 salary she earns as a nurse. The pandemic staffing shortage that has plagued the service industry had a silver lining for O’Connor: She and only one other bartender worked at even the most enormous weddings, taking home between $500 and $700 a night in tips. Now that her employer has recruited staff, those tips are split three or four ways.

O’Connor manages to get to the gym at 5 a.m. in the morning when she feels “extra-motivated”. But his social life has, unsurprisingly, taken a step back. “I feel bad, but I just know that sometimes money is a little more important than going to a restaurant and spending $100,” she said.

Her best friend understands, though, because she’s in the exact same boat. She even works for the same two companies as O’Connor – as an office manager and a bartender.

“We have a bit of the same state of mind: we are exhausted. Its purpose is to make money, to save money. She is a few years younger than me. She’s a hard worker,” O’Connor said. “I just counted down, 10 more months of misery. I’m a very positive person, so I just know that in 10 months when my wedding is here, I’ll be happy with the success I’ve had.

Counter-trend to the Great Resignation

As headlines announced the big resignation, O’Connor and her best friend joined an army of more than 7.7 million people living an opposing reality, quietly patching up paychecks to make ends meet or build a nest egg, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The centuries-old tradition of working two jobs has rebounded to near pre-Covid levels, gaining traction as historic inflation outpaces wage growth. From 4% of the workforce in April 2020, multiple workers rose to 4.9% in September 2022, according to data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve. In February 2020, 5.1% of workers in the United States held two or more jobs.

In a Straus News survey of 104 multi-workers, the reasons ran a gamut: “I’m a single mom and can’t afford rising costs. In addition, teenagers are expensive! “I like to keep my options open”, “I have a lousy ex-husband”, “I can’t survive on 30,000 after tax”, “I need dinero!!” “Trying to pay off high interest credit cards”, “I’m paying off my daughter’s college loans”, “Dental and vision costs are ridiculous these days”, “It’s fun to do things that you like – why limit it to one type of career?” and “I’ve been doing it for so long, I can’t remember why.”

Slip into self-care

The vast majority of survey respondents said the hardest part of working multiple jobs was lack of time or sleep. One respondent – ​​the parent of three teenagers, including one at university – took on a second job after her husband left during Covid. Working 50 hours a week, she said, leaves “not enough time at home to cook dinner, be with my kids and take care of my house.”

Others mentioned inconveniences like childcare, sitting too long, lack of benefits and paid time off, scheduling conflicts, “coming to work at the ‘fresh’ second job when I have ever worked a full day’, ‘choose jobs’, ‘all passwords/software’, ‘remember what day it is’ and ‘never feel like you’re done’.

Self-care for this crowd should fit into short installments. Samantha Stankiewicz is a full-time art teacher and mother of two who commutes 50 minutes from Monroe, NY to Ridgewood, NJ, and works on the side at a summer camp, painting murals and running a program. ethics for children.

“I try to take a few yoga classes every week and take daily walks at lunch to stay sane,” she said. “I don’t cook fancy meals. We try to keep some things simple. I probably need to learn to say “no” more often. »

The family hired a cleaning service to come to the house twice a month.

Patchwork of jobs for love and money

Debra Hollinrake, of Milford, owns three businesses – not because she wants to, but because she can’t charge enough for her natural healing services to support herself.

“In this area, some people can afford the regular price we charge, but we’re not going to turn anyone away,” she said. “They can find a way to barter. We have a certain threshold that we cannot afford to go down, but we will cut our price in half.

So she’s stuck spending 35 to 40 hours running her 24-year-old virtual administration business that pays the bills and splits roughly the same time between her healing practice and her trauma, retirement and rehabilitation center. healing in Newton. , N.J.

It’s not uncommon for her to stay up until midnight to finish her work, but in her field she knows enough to take breaks. “I do some self-care in between, half an hour or something to take care of myself,” she said. She can qigong, hike, meditate or relax in the garden with her husband and cats – or laugh. She even laughs when asked what she does to take care of herself.

Most people with multiple jobs have one full-time job and one or two side jobs, like O’Connor, Stankiewicz, and Hollinrake. The second most common setup is to whip up two or more part-time gigs.

That’s what Stephanie Poli-Zilinski, 36, of Andover, NJ, has been doing since she was in college, doing odd jobs that fit into her class schedule. She had hoped to eventually go into teaching, and while working towards that goal, she found other jobs to make ends meet. Then she had her daughter and a full-time job was no longer an option.

These days, in addition to homeschooling her seven-year-old, Poli-Zilinski juggles three part-time jobs. She runs the business side of her brother’s sewer and drain business, she’s treasurer of a historic 501c3 organization, and she recently took the plunge and bought a local t-shirt business that her family had been patronizing ever since. years.

The decision to buy Neverland Crew came quickly after Poli-Zilinksi’s 14-year job as nanny ended. “It was like this mad dash to immediately find another job. I did it almost instantly, because, you know, there’s really no room for not having income. Plus, she had a soft spot for the company, whose matching shirts featured in family photos for her daughter’s entire life. “We don’t really have a lot of holiday traditions, but I love looking at those pictures of her at 1 a.m., then 5 a.m., and that’s us in the exact same place.”

But as Poli-Zilinski is well aware, families like hers are cutting back on non-essential purchases. “Starting a small business when people don’t have disposable income isn’t ideal, to say the least,” she says. “And so I even really looked for a fourth job.”

Working so many jobs, and all of them remotely, means Poli-Zilinski never comes home from the office and never gets up. Nights, weekends, she never goes out. “My phone is attached to me 24 hours a day,” she said. You kind of always feel like – I don’t want to miss a client trying to reach me, or my brother might need me for something. You know, you’re on the go, but you still feel a little guilty doing things.

There are also perks to his disparate work life. Most invaluable is the time spent with her daughter, watching her grow. Also, she falls asleep later than her husband, an HVAC service technician.

“It would be nice if my t-shirt business started to take off and I didn’t have to keep working so much,” she said. “But I don’t necessarily bet on black, especially not in our current economy.”

Among multi-workers, the fastest growing trend is those working two full-time jobs, logging 70 or more hours per week. They still make up a tiny fraction of the workforce, but in a sign of the times, the 420,000 people working two full-time jobs — a feat made more achievable in the age of remote working — are close to from a record set this summer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Four of 104 respondents to the Straus News survey said they worked two full-time jobs.

A burgeoning subcategory of dual employment is that of the so-called overemployed, who simultaneously switch between two “full-time jobs” in order to double their salaries, usually on the sly. Credit reporting service Equifax, after using its own technology to monitor employees, fired 24 dual-job remote workers in October, Business Insider reported. One survey respondent seemed to fit the overemployed label. They had put in 40 hours a week working two “full-time” STEM jobs for a year without the knowledge of their employers, they reported. They won over $80,000 and did it for “the excitement and the challenge”.

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