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The gig-economy: Pros, cons and tips for balancing multiple jobs

After graduating from EF Academy Torbay, I moved to the US for university. I moved with the knowledge that I would have to financially support myself so I applied to multiple jobs before I even settled in. Since then I have worked in customer service, sales and marketing, business development, operations, logistics, recruitment and more. People often ask me why I am such a workaholic, and as much as I hate to admit it, there are certainly some pros and cons of the gig economy.

Pro #1: Extensive work experience

When I was in university, my biggest fear was not being able to find a job after graduation. However, due to the extensive and diverse work experience I have, I can now easily prove my ability to adapt quickly and my broad knowledge in a range of fields. In addition, work references are easy to come by if you have a good work ethic. The best example of this from my life is that, as a psychology student, I was hired as a logistic planner because they trusted my ability to learn after seeing that I maintained a 4.0 GPA while working multiple jobs in university.

Pro #2: New tasks and multiple incomes

I consider myself to have a bubbly personality, and I love having new challenges every day. Accepting different responsibilities keeps me on my toes and ensures I don’t get bored with my jobs. For creative people like me, having different short-term gigs or projects to work on also allows us to maximize our ideas and show our potential to the fullest. Besides, who doesn’t love getting a paycheck every week (most companies in the US pay bi-weekly).

Pro #3: Working remotely

Working remotely is a relatively new concept that has revolutionized the world of work. Since I can’t physically work in different locations for multiple companies, working remotely has become my preference. All you need is a good internet connection, strong communication skills and the trust of your employers in your self-discipline to work outside the office. It can be difficult to convince large companies to allow remote work, so working with smaller startups is generally preferable as they’re more open to it. It’s also great to work in companies where every move matters and I can help them to grow.

Con #1: FOMO

For me, the most difficult thing while working multiple gigs is maintaining a good work-life balance. Often there have been days when I don’t feel I have enough sleep, food or fun. FOMO (fear of missing out) has definitely increased for me because working more than 12 hours per day is usual. It’s at its worst when everyone has gone for happy hour and I stayed for overtime. But I do make sure that I don’t miss out on special events!

Con #2: Burnout

I personally find working to be enjoyable, but it can be too much sometimes, even for me. Constantly working my brain can take a toll, especially when I focus on my work almost every working moment. I find myself skipping meals, not exercising and staying up late. It sometimes feels like there isn’t enough time in the day for everything and it can affect my mental and physical health. However, at times like this, it is important to take time for yourself to recover. There is no shame in taking a break!

Con #3: High expectations

All your bosses will set deadlines and expectations for you. When so much is expected of you by different people it can become overwhelming. Being able to multitask and prioritize is essential, but there is always a limit. It’s even harder when bosses recognize your talents and want to add even more to your plate. There were definitely times when I thought twice about my jobs. With that being said, it is okay to know that you are not a superhero. Keep your priorities straight and learn to turn down a job, if needed.

But hey, there’s a reason why people like me still love working. I personally think the payoff is far better than what I need to trade-in. Here are some tips for you if you’re thinking about doing the same:

Tip #1: Take time for yourself

During the week be sure you save some days for yourself to take a break. It is easier said than done at times but a good way to overcome this is to schedule a vacation. It could be a couple of weeks ahead or a couple of months, but as long as it’s in the calendar it gives you something to look forward to. In my experience, a nice change of scenery will always relieve the stress.

Tips #2: Manage your work time

As important as it is to schedule your personal time, it is equally important to schedule your work time. Work can be enjoyable, and you’ll be far more productive if you manage your responsibilities effectively. Organizing due dates will help you manage your time. Knowing what to expect from the day helps it run smoother. Having a ‘to-do list’ is a must and apps like Slack, Trello or even a personal planner can be of great help for you.

Tip #3: Remember your goals

Every day I wake up I want to be sure that I am one day closer to my dream. I set up short-term and long-term goals and try to stay on track. For me, my overall goal is to work hard, save up money and travel the world while working remotely. It is because of this goal that I strive for success in my work and can manage multiple jobs. Keep pushing for your own goals and you’ll find yourself where you need to be.

You can follow my travels @phobsyay

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