People who hold two jobs show as much engagement and performance in the workplace as their colleagues who have one job, according to a new study. However, dual job holders are likely to sacrifice family and personal time as a result.
The apparent ability to work two jobs without conflict challenges the commonly-held notion that people who “moonlight” are not as focused or dedicated as those with only one job.
Recent estimates suggest more than 7.2 million Americans work two or more jobs at once. These “moonlighters” work an average of 46.8 hours per week, compared to the average American employee who works 38.6 hours per week.
A typical example of a dual job holder is a teacher who works as a bartender during the evenings or weekends in order to supplement his income. Other dual job holders work in a second job in order to gain work experience in a new field for future career development.
In the new investigation, Brian Webster of Ball State University tested the hypotheses that moonlighters are likely to be tired, devoid of energy and lack commitment to their jobs.
To do this, Webster and his co-researchers conducted two studies. The first study compared the level of work engagement of dual jobholders towards their primary and secondary jobs. The second study used a sample of teachers and bartenders to compare the work behavior and attitudes of single and dual jobholders.
Both studies found that people who have two jobs do not prioritize one job over the other.
Dual job holders were equally committed as an employee of both establishments, and to helping their co-workers. In fact, dual job holders demonstrated the same high levels of work engagement and job performance at both their primary and secondary jobs.
They performed as adequately as their single job holding counterparts and were not more strongly involved in one job to the detriment of the other.
Still, the added work hours may cause personal strife as both experiments showed that having two jobs may contribute to higher levels of work-family conflict. In most cases this was due to the time that dual job holders spend away from their homes.
This level of work-family conflict tends to be significantly more compared to that experienced by single job holders. The study appears in the Journal of Business and Psychology.
“Although dual job holders do not appear to be hurting the organizations in which they work, they may instead be hurting their lives outside of work,” Webster said.
According to the research team, the results from this study show that there is no real need for organizations to enact policies that prevent people from taking on a second job.
“However, given the negative, personal effects of holding two jobs and the impact it has on work-family conflict, organizations may be inclined to enact policies that help dual jobholders strike a healthy balance between work life and home life,” Webster said.