Is Long Working Hours the New Norm? Here’s What I Learned from Working Multiple Jobs

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Until today, I marvel at people who can juggle multiple jobs.

Here’s the truth: It’s exhausting. While some people strive for work-life balance, others are finding the right balance between their day job and a side hustle.

As a millennial trying to make ends meet, working long hours is the new norm. More and more of my friends are becoming freelancers, especially in this economy where living costs are high and the salaries are stagnant.

After they breeze through their day job from nine to five, they go home, have dinner, and work on their passion project. Some bake birthday cakes or organise art workshops on weekends, while others become Grab drivers or design websites after sunset.

The next morning, they wake up and take on their real jobs as legal executives, sales manager, or kindergarten teacher again.

I’ve been moonlighting as a freelance writer while working as a content writer in the day for a few years now. Balancing both of them was tough. If you’re considering the idea of working multiple jobs, here’s what I learned.

1. Time management

To be honest, managing my writing tasks between my day job and side hustle is an everyday challenge. There are moments when I had my content schedule under control, and then there are moments where I don’t.

Like for example, the day when my CEO threw in three ad-hoc projects with urgent deadlines. Or that time when the Universe aligned all of my writing deadlines in the same week.

When that happens, I had to say goodbye to my beauty sleep or relaxing weekend. Even that’s not too bad – sometimes I had to make other sacrifices such as cutting down on family time and weekend hang-outs.

It sucks, but that’s the reality of working multiple jobs.

2. Networking matters

Networking with people from the same industry does open a lot of doors. Since most of my weekdays were spent working, I would hang out with new writers every other Sunday.

Whether they’re a new connection on Linkedin or someone I met at a networking event, anyone could be a potential client.

Once, I hung out with a web developer who was seeking a content collaborator for his start-up project. While the meeting didn’t lead us to work on the project together, it led us to other opportunities.

So far, we’ve worked with various clients who require web development and content expertise. That’s why I never turn down a networking opportunity when presented with one.

3. Business operations

I see my side hustle as a real-life business management course. I learnt how to file my finances, running business operations, and recruiting other freelancers into my team.

These are valuable business insights I don’t get from my day job.

Being a freelance writer also helps me improve my decision-making skills. While I hardly see myself as a leader in my workplace, the side hustle makes a good training ground to becoming my own boss.

Every day becomes a chance to practice responsibility and accountability through my business decisions.

4. Personal branding

As a freelancer, personal branding is instrumental in promoting and advertising my services. I start by setting aside a small sum of finances on building a professional website.

There are plenty of websites, such as WordPress, Contently, or Tumblr, where you can upload your portfolio. A number of online businesses are making their presence known on Facebook and Instagram too. Having a social media presence does help if you have the time to manage them.

Another way I used to boost my writing portfolio is sending content contributions to several websites. A lot of lifestyle websites accept submissions in exchange for writer’s byline and publicity.

When I first started out as a freelance writer, I sent articles to various travel and fashion blogs to give my portfolio the boost it needs. Within a few months of writing, I managed to put together a solid portfolio that helped me land new clients.

Final thoughts

Working multiple jobs can be exhausting especially when you’re balancing your day job and passion project. Despite how demanding multiple jobs can be, there’s a great satisfaction from pursuing your passion and learning things outside of your day job.

While continuously improving my time management skills, I discovered that networking with other freelancers, learning business operations, and strengthening my personal brand made me a better employee in the office.

I communicated better with my clients and colleagues. I acquired an interest in business strategies and operations. I also learned to pitch new marketing and advertising methods I uncovered from my freelancing job.

Working long hours is not for everyone. However, if you have the opportunity to explore the best of both worlds, I promise you that it will enhance your professional development and career growth twice as fast. Trust me, it definitely improved mine.

For more articles on developing your professional skills, read I Still Haven’t Found a Job for past 6 Months – What Should I Do?

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If Cheng Sim can have it her way, she would live in a penthouse with an imaginary cat named Genghis. Since life has a sense of humour, she resides in Subang Jaya where she deals with their infamous traffic and subpar bak kut teh instead. She doesn't wreak havoc, but she writes at
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