Overemployment: The Potential Benefits (& Big Risks) Of Working Several Jobs Simultaneously

When the pandemic first struck three years ago, perhaps no one had imagined how drastically it would change the world of work. Overnight, we moved en masse to working from home, which has led to greater productivity for many as well as the phenomenon of productivity paranoia. Many of us continue to enjoy the convenience of doing so to this day. Yet, with the ease of working from home at hours of our own choosing comes the luxury of time which allows us to complete more tasks than were possible before. Yet, you also run the risk of working even longer hours at home than you would in the office — a sad truth about working from home that's been confirmed.


Enterprising individuals are using this time by taking on side hustles or, in many cases, more than one job to pursue financial freedom at a faster pace. This has led to the onset of overemployment, or as some people call the trend, moonlighting.

The pursuit of several jobs simultaneously certainly has its benefits (extra income and financial empowerment at a younger age are the most obvious), but this comes with its own set of risks as well. These include ethical issues and greater chances of burnout. Let's explore the benefits and drawbacks of working multiple jobs.

What is overemployment?

Simply put, overemployment refers to the phenomenon of working multiple jobs at once. It doesn't necessarily include side gigs, extra work taken on after work hours, or freelancers pursuing multiple opportunities. It is more in line with signing on to work full-time at two or more jobs in the same or related industrial sectors (though they can also be different industries).


This trend has risen in recent years due to many different factors including the pandemic, the rise of economic inflation, and the growing tendency of quiet quitting (putting in the bare minimum without extra effort). With work-from-home opportunities cutting commute and organizational times, people realized they could use the extra time they had to be more productive and earn extra income.

These two factors, coupled with the fact that inflation is at an all-time high in many parts of the world, have led many people to seek out other remote jobs they could easily pursue from home.

The benefits of overemployment

The economic benefits of working more than one job cannot be ignored. By earning extra income, one is able to deal with inflation and increased expenditures related to rising living costs. Working multiple jobs also helps to quell the fears related to job security. Overemployment also helps pacify the desire for financial freedom and the emotional security that is often related to it.


Other benefits of working multiple jobs include access to greater benefits, such as increased coverage for health, dental, and prescription medication expenses. Some people may be entitled to more mental health benefits or even free massages, while, in some cases, 401k contributions may be matched to help speed up your savings journey.

In other cases, overemployment may lead to greater creative fulfillment, as you can explore different skillsets while pursuing a job you are qualified for. Hence, this allows those who feel stuck in the rat race or in jobs that do not satisfy them creatively to flex their creative muscles while feeling a sense of security.

The risks of overemployment

At its very core, overemployment may be viewed as an unethical practice, especially if you feel the need to hide from your employers the fact you're juggling multiple jobs. However, this is a personal call for you to take.


In some cases, overemployment, of course, comes with serious legal implications as well. If you signed a non-compete clause that you are ignoring by pursuing a similar job at a competitor's company, it will not bode well for you if you are caught. Using resources made available to you for one job to complete the tasks of another job is another problem that may get you in trouble with your employers. Some companies have now established policies against moonlighting to keep this trend under check, and you should take these policies seriously.

The simplest effect of overemployment is on your productivity levels, as, by taking on extra tasks, you are at a higher risk of feeling burned out or less effective at completing either or all of your roles. You might feel mentally and physically exhausted or be at a greater risk for disorders such as heart disease, anxiety, lowered immunity, cognitive impairment, and more.


Is overemployment right for you?

Technically speaking, there is no law preventing you from pursuing multiple jobs at once. Although there may be some contractual obligations you could be held liable for breaking, simply on its merits, overemployment cannot land you in serious trouble. So, does this mean this practice is right for you? This is something you must decide for yourself, depending on your financial realities and your appetite for taking risks in life.


What seems to be unanimously accepted by everyone discussing this trend is that it's better to keep your overemployment to yourself to prevent any unpleasantness in your workplaces. Career coach and consultant Emily Button-Lynham gives sage advice in this regard. She tells Stylist, "If it doesn't breach your contract, working multiple roles is a great way to add to your skill set. Even if the fields are similar, working in a different company with a new culture, environment and reach can help you to round out gaps in your CV." 

However, she cautions that you should consider the possible fallout of working multiple jobs before you begin. "The most important thing is understanding what is driving you to consider overemployment and what you want to get out of it. What kind of life do you want to be living, and will this actually help elevate you to get there? Once you've assessed what you want ... it will be easier to look at other, perhaps less risky, ways to achieve those goals," she recommends.