• Beth Ott

When Working a Second Job Doesn't Pay

You guys, I had to make a hard decision this week. You see, I’ve held a second job for about as long as I can remember. As a teacher, my regular income just didn’t quite make ends meet when I started, and then when I was afforded a more reasonable salary, I still continued to work a second job to earn some ‘fun money’.

I’ve been a Personal Care Attendant, Night School instructor, Furniture Refinisher, and Fitness Instructor at one time or another for the past 10 years, at least. But recently I made the decision to quit altogether.

This wasn’t a decision I chose lightly. I love having supplemental income, and most of the jobs I’ve had haven’t been too taxing as far as actual workload. However, the mental space that they’ve been taking up and the time spent traveling, planning and actually working has been. It had gotten to the point that I was beginning to dread my second job, and that’s a place I don’t like to be.

I could feel the anxiety set in as the day crept closer and closer to my second job shifts. I would have to give myself pep talks to get myself to work. Once I was at work, everything was fine and I was able to say to myself ‘see, it’s not that bad’. But I began to think that having that pre-work anxiety and dread wasn’t healthy for me either. I began to imagine what a self-care practice would entail if I didn’t work a second job. How would my daily habits change, how would my mental capacity change. I had to decide if the income I was getting from this job was worth the mental work.

I knew that all I had to do was make a few tweaks to my spending and I would be fine. In reality, I wasn’t making a ton of money from the second job. Cut back on my Audible book addiction by supplementing with Podcasts. Stop being lazy and bring my leftovers for lunch instead of forgetting them at home. And that would basically make up for it.

Now there are other factors that either support or challenge my decision to quit, but I won’t go into all of them. The biggest ones were how I began feeling about this job, and if I could monetarily let it go. I had to learn how to make space for two feelings (I loved my part time job, and it wasn’t serving me anymore) at the same time, and try to honor them both, knowing that I couldn’t choose both in the long run.

So I knew I had my answer, but it was still difficult to write. I am not a quitter. But today I was one. And you know what? I’ll be better for it.

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