Working 80 hours

After my guest post on Monday I had a lot of comments about working multiple jobs and the quote “for the last year and a half I’ve worked 2 or more jobs simultaneously. At times, that means 80-hour work weeks and 2 days off each month. If it is feasible to pick up a second job, even short term, you will likely find more opportunities in a high COLA.”

So I thought I’d clarify here.

I do not currently work 80 hours/week but I have in the past. When I was working to pay off my car I worked 45 hours in Sacramento, 24 hours in town, spent 10 or more hours on articles for the newspaper and at least 2 hours a week writing, researching and submitting articles for my online job.

Work like this is not sustainable long term but does have its benefits.

It helps to like what you do. When I was learning a new position for my job in Sacramento I eagerly put in overtime to understand the computer system, get the files organized and cross train. When I’m writing for a blog or newspaper, I enjoy the research, thinking about new topics and looking for quotes, interviews and photos.

Working also kept me out of the stores – when I was done with 8 hours in Sacramento, a 30 minute commute, a 6 hour shift at the video store and got home at midnight all I wanted to do was sleep! A long term benefit was that I also had a lot of little projects that built up: books I wanted to read, files to organize, rooms to paint, photos to put in albums. Now that I work fewer hours I am catching up on those projects which also keeps me busy without spending lots of money.

This is possible, however, because I do not have children or a spouse. Which works for me right now. I’ve never claimed that all adults, regardless of their family status, could or should work 80 hours a week but should ask if it is feasible. I qualified my experience in the article by saying

“If it is feasible to pick up a second job, even short term, you will likely find more opportunities in a high COLA.”

So please, don’t miss the forest for the trees. When reading such advice or personal stories consider if and how it can be applied to your situation. No writer can address every person’s needs but if you take the general principals you can learn a lot.

An alternative way to “work, really really hard” makes sense for every out of home worker. Do great work that matters to someone. Talk to your boss(es) and identify what they care about, what matters to your customers and how you can consistently deliver great value. Be open to change and adaptable, improve skills that work in several industries and across job titles. Treat people with respect.

The guest post also shows how stay at home parents can utilize their time and skills to bring amazing value to their family without working outside the home.

What I do now

This year has been somewhat of a transitional phase. I have a “full time” job that I work 32 hours – 4 days a week. Approximately every other Saturday I work 4 or 8 hours proctoring tests. Once a month or so I submit an article for the newspaper and all the follow up that the photography and writing entails. I also write for this blog (which is closer to fun than work) and guest post on other blogs. Total writing related projects are maybe 14 hours a week. Most of my time, approximately 24 hours a week, is spent on a new freelance service offer. This project takes a lot of time up front but should settle down in the coming months.

Lastly, I volunteer for the library which has averaged 8 hours per week in the last month and am raising money for a charity event in October. Some of the library work crosses over to other businesses, for example I took photos during a press conference yesterday that were picked up by the director of the local news station for a story. A lot of times I write media coverage and prepare web content.

Other Guest Posts

Someone asked for my other posts on Money Saving Mom. They can be found here and here.

Also this week I had a guest post on organizing recipes over at The Empty Kitchen. You can read it here.


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