Juggling more than one job: mission impossible?Featured

How do you introduce yourself when meeting people?

I usually start by mentioning that I am VP of Marketing for Visable /wlw Germany and Managing Director at Visable / europages France, Speaker, Advisor, Teacher, and a mother. But before I can finish my sentence adding that I love cooking and I’m an active supporter of welfare associations for people with disabilities... I often get interrupted by the unavoidable question: “How do you do it?”

How do I juggle two jobs in two different countries, raise children, be available for my family, enjoy life, be socially active, and look forward to new challenges... without losing my sanity? Good question!

It’s a rollercoaster ride, where every loop, twist, and turn presents a new challenge to conquer and a potential reward to reap! Strap in tight as we explore the thrilling world of balancing work, life, and everything in between, without having to be Wonder Woman.

Why work two jobs?

Why on earth would someone want or agree to work two jobs? Well, the reasons are diverse:

  • For career advancement. Working two jobs can be a strategic career move if you’re looking to gain experience, develop new skills and stay ahead of the curve by positioning for future opportunities and promotions. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show an increase in workers holding multiple jobs. However, this doesn't appear to be due to increased financial need, as the percentage of workers holding multiple jobs increases with the level of education. By cumulating two jobs, you interact with different people and organizations, expanding your professional network and potentially opening doors to new career paths.
  • For personal fulfillment or side ventures. Working multiple jobs can also be driven by passion and personal fulfillment. If you have side projects or creative pursuits you’re passionate about, it can provide the flexibility and financial support needed to turn entrepreneurial dreams into reality or push hobbies into some kind of business venture.
  • For diversity of income streams. If you’re struggling to make ends meet or face financial pressures, working two different jobs will provide an additional source of income. In France, by the end of 2020, nearly 2.4 million people exercised simultaneously several jobs, which is a substantial 8.4% of total employment.
  • For corporate strategic measures in response to resource optimization needs or lack of availability of personnel who can fulfill a certain position. By appointing one employee to handle two roles, a company capitalizes on their comprehensive skill set, while maximizing efficiency and productivity and limiting the effort to search for a new candidate to onboard.

For these individuals who blend diverse income streams and are turning the traditional career model upside down, a specific term has emerged: "business slashers."

How to juggle more than one job?

Are sleep and rest neglected when you have two jobs? Not necessarily! Multitasking doesn’t mean non-stop tasking. Let's be honest, finding enough hours in the day to conquer overflowing inboxes, attend Zoom or Teams meetings, and keep a good workflow between two countries can feel like an Olympic sport. But with planning, personal organization, patience, cross-cultural communication skills (in my case due to the 2 country locations of my company), and support from peers and managers, you can bridge the gap between different working styles, decision-making methods, countries, and languages like a seasoned diplomat.

Working multiple jobs will impose a significant physical and emotional strain on you. The constant juggling of schedules, tasks, and responsibilities will lead to high stress levels and fatigue, if not well monitored. Also, the pressure to perform well in more than one role can also contribute to feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, and even self-doubt... all this potentially leading to burnout if not well managed.

As a Managing Director at Visable International (editor of europages) based in Paris and Vice President of Marketing for Visable group, headquartered in Hamburg, I make frequent trips from Paris to Berlin or Hamburg for management and team meetings. My daily tasks must take into consideration cultural differences in work styles. It can feel like navigating a linguistic obstacle course when dealing with feedback mechanisms and decision-making processes in French, German, and English languages. Addressing these challenges requires a proactive approach.

How to combine two jobs and a fulfilling family life as a woman?

Or how to navigate through two jobs and a healthy family life without a magical lasso. From being a powerhouse in the boardroom to a multitasking mom/spouse at home, we women face unique challenges as we strive to excel in both our professional and personal lives. With the support of your tribe, a healthy dose of self-care, and a sprinkle of boundary-setting, the world can be our oyster. Just take it one step at a time with these few tips:

  • Avoid the time-consuming traps: Give your time or energy only to what brings you peace or profits. Minimize the urge to engage in non-productive activities like browsing social media or answering private messages by disabling push notifications to reduce the temptation.
  • Establish clear boundaries between work and family: Set aside dedicated time for work during which interruptions are minimized, and similarly, carve out quality time for family without distractions from work.
  • Get a support network: know when and who to ask for help. No one expects you to be wonder-woman. By surrounding yourself with the right people, not only will you go faster but you will go further. Building a strong support network is vital for managing multiple roles successfully. Whether it's your partner, other family members, friends, childcare providers, colleagues, managers, or even a coach, having a reliable support system in place can provide assistance with childcare, household tasks, other logistics, and emotional support when needed.
  • Use the right tools: Stay organized to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the demands of multiple roles. Use tools such as calendars (shared with your close network including partner and family), to-do lists, grocery, gift lists for birthdays and Christmas (also shared with your partner and family), and productivity apps with IA to keep track of deadlines, appointments, and help you with tasks.
  • Be patient and persistent: Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is the perfect balance between two jobs and personal life. Be patient with yourself, embrace the learning curve, celebrate small victories along the way, and be compassionate with yourself.
  • Last and foremost, let go of the guilt associated with not being able to devote 100% of your time and energy to either role. It's okay to ask for help, prioritize your needs, and make choices that support your overall well-being.
  • Give yourself the chance to revert the initial decision and give up on one of the jobs, be it the less rewarding or the most challenging.

Juggling more than one job is not mission impossible, but it certainly isn't an easy feat. It requires strategic planning, adaptability, and a supportive network. While it can be an avenue for career advancement, personal fulfillment, or financial stability, don't forget the potential pitfalls: stress, burnout, and neglecting personal well-being.

Remember, finding balance isn't about perfection. Prioritize ruthlessly, embrace help, and celebrate small victories. Let go of the guilt of not giving 100% to everything, and remember, you have the power to adjust if one job becomes unsustainable. Ultimately, the goal is to find a harmonious blend that nourishes your career and personal life, not become a Wonder Woman juggling act. So, embrace the challenges, and enjoy the ride as the benefits of working multiple jobs unfold like a hidden treasure map leading to exhilarating personal and professional growth!

Very inspiring! As a multitasker and an achiever myself, learning to say "no" and accept not to please everyone is still a work in progress for me. But it feels good to read that it's ok to make mistakes and even to feel guilt. It also encourages me to treat my team with greater kindness and understanding.
Thank you Joyce for your comments and personal experience.
This is very beautiful. Captures the spirit behind why we work multiple jobs. At some point, it may be to make more money... but most of the time, it is career advancement and/or fulfillment. Sometimes the fulfillment from a volunteer role where impact is felt and appreciated far outweighs a C-suite role with lots of stress.
Thank you Bridget for sharing your thoughts and experience on this topic