Why Two Jobs Might Make You Happier Than One


A new year is upon us, and perhaps you’re thinking about what you’d like to do differently in 2023. If you’re looking for more fulfillment at work, believe it or not, the answer might be getting a second job.

According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, a quarter of Americans may wind up moving into a new career path in 2023. The survey of 2,000 adults finds that while 33% of respondents are likely to switch jobs within the same sector, 26 percent of employees are looking to change careers entirely.

Today, some workers are eschewing a traditional 9-5 in favor of a portfolio career, which means working multiple part-time jobs or combining full- and part-time employment across industries.

The idea is that putting more arrows in your quiver can challenge you, better speak to your talents and interests, and ultimately, turn your passion project into a thriving side business. As April Rhine writes in Harvard Business Review, “It’s a new way to think about, talk about, and — most importantly – craft your professional future to navigate our ever-changing world of work with purpose, clarity, and flexibility.”

A portfolio career also might be your best bet for financial security. A recent outlook report from Citi Global Wealth Investments estimated the US economy will cut 2 million jobs over the next year, which means widening your employment potential by investing in outside interests may be the smartest goal you’ll make in 2023.

Build a Skillset, Not a Side Hustle

To be successful, a portfolio career must be viewed differently from the gig economy, which is picking up work when you want or need it to fill in income gaps. Instead, a portfolio career means crafting a full-time schedule from several income streams. In doing so, you hone a distinctive and transferable skillset that crosses industries, described by Laura Gibbs in Medium as creating “career capital.”

Nikki Corson, CEO of Roofcrafters, one of the largest roofing companies in Georgia, utilized her management abilities and talent to inspire confidence in others to launch a second business. Prissy Nikki provides reusable, cruelty-free, and vegan-certified false lashes.

“I have always been interested in the beauty industry and breaking the stereotype of what makes a woman beautiful,” said Corson. “I want to inspire women to love themselves for who they are and to be fierce and confident.”

Growing a side business alongside a job can also spark professional reinvention and keep your options open, said David Nebinski, host of the Portfolio Career podcast.

“A parallel career path creates near-term and long-term optionality and diversification and may make each day a little bit more interesting,” he said. “For example, Serena Kern-Libera is a singer, the Head of Market Access Policy at HM Treasury, and is the Founder of D2D Records.”

Divide Rather than Add

Rather than stacking work hours onto your schedule, create a visual plan of how you spend your time to see where you might be more efficient. So suggest Tiffany Cruz, Chief Editor, and Executive Resume Writer at Power Writers USA. For example, did you recently switch to a work-from-home position? Perhaps you’ve gained hours previously spent commuting or on lunch breaks. “Treating your life as a business is helpful to capture data and allow a more subjective analysis of where opportunities lie for improvements or adjustments,” said Cruz.

Some portfolio careerists have even found this type of schedule to be a form of self-care—pursuing your passions leaves you more fulfilled. That fulfillment energizes your traditional work setup As long as you can stay flexible.

“It’s helpful for me not to try to have a schedule that can work forever. Instead, find something that works for this month or this year and know I’ll need to readjust regularly,” said Janssen Bradshaw, who runs a book blog, a reading and math coaching program, and a children’s accessories line. “I love the diversity of things I do daily, and I like being able to focus on multiple things.”

Fitting it all in also means keeping distractions to a minimum.

“I know there is a big discussion of balancing your life, what balance really means, and can you balance work and private life — or two businesses and private life. For me, balance is being present 100 percent where I am needed,” said Corson.”

Reframe The Picture

A portfolio career can help you land your next corporate position even if none of your portfolio jobs become full-time. Employers recognize the value of a well-rounded person, and this spans from business and technical skills to volunteer work to world travel, research, and interpersonal skills, said Cruz. In addition, employers like seeing applicants who can demonstrate success in a chosen area but can also model a growth mindset across various experiences for other employees.

“One of the core values of my company is finding ways to self-improve,” Cordon said. “If I’m not doing that as a female leader, then I can’t expect it from my team.”

Although the numbers constantly change, 7.6 million American workers report holding two or more jobs. This goes beyond the obvious reason that additional income is nice. Caroline Castrillon writes that the biggest risk can be specializing in just one thing. “Combining skills and pursuing multiple career paths provides more security and is an effective way of staying agile. While this work style may seem unconventional to some, it will increasingly become the norm as more people discover the benefits of creating the career they deserve.”

Zoom technology platforms make connecting and creating content or products relatively easy, said Nebinski. “The best time to start building your portfolio career was years ago; the second time is now.”

Seeking a second role may also be the best way to get an inside look at the new career you’re perhaps interested in pursuing. You can also find out if you want to continue developing those skills or might even learn that you’re looking for something different.

Overall, whether you’re to increase your skills to advance your full-time job or transition into running your own company, looking at a second job as an option will be a great learning experience and beneficial for your future.

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