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How to handle the downsides of taking on additional jobs

by Joanna Deala

Having one job is no longer enough for many Filipino millennials and Gen Zs.

A recent survey conducted by business consulting firm Deloitte showed an increase in the number of individuals from these generations taking on side hustles on top of their primary jobs.

The survey, conducted from November to December 2022, found that 71 percent of Filipino millennials and 65 percent of Filipino Gen Zs have side gigs. This is higher than last year’s 61 percent and 64 percent, respectively.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority also showed that the number of underemployed individuals or employed persons who expressed the desire to have an additional hour of work in their present job, to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer hours of work stood at 5.66 million, translating to an underemployment rate of 11.7% in May 2023.

Mhyrre Gonzales, 28, and Charles Pacanos, 30, are among the people who make up this group.

Not enough salary

Gonzales is an ultrasound technologist in a private hospital, while Pacanos is a graphic artist in a private aviation-oriented school.

When not on duty on her main job, Gonzales takes on the role of a radiologic technologist in a government hospital, where she conducts X-ray procedures, ultrasounds, and CT scans, among others.

Pacanos, on the other hand, has a photography and videography business where he covers events such as birthdays and weddings. He’s also a graphic artist at a restaurant, where he mostly designs marketing materials and its food board.

Gonzales shared with republicasia that she decided to apply for another job because of the low salary at her main job. Seeing how prosperous the lives of her high school batchmates were made Gonzales feel “pressured to be successful at her age.

“Feeling ko dapat ganitong edad madami na akong naipundar, madami na akong ipon, stable na sahod ko, etc,” she said.

“E ako? Dahil sa sobrang baba ng self-confidence ko, hindi ko maiwan yung trabaho kong napag-iwanan na sa rate ng sahod,” she continued.

Pacanos also established his business to generate extra income. But apart from that, his business became a way for him to pursue his passion for photography and videography, especially during his free time.

“I have my side hustles din kasi I kinda enjoy it as well, although nakakapagod pero nandoon yung fulfillment eh? Nandoon ‘yung masasabi mo sa sarili mo na you’re doing your best talaga [to survive] in this world,” he explained.

Lack of time

Gonzales attends to her main job Mondays to Wednesdays and Fridays to Saturdays, starting at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays are her days off, but instead of resting, she goes to her part-time job, where she’s usually placed on night duty. 

There’s also one day in a week that she has to juggle her main job and part-time job since the latter requires her to report for three days. For her part-time job, her employer can choose to place her either on 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. duty or on 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. schedule.

“Minsan nakakahilo din talaga lalo pag from 12 hours duty then didiretso ka ng pang 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. sa main job,” she said.

Pacanos, meanwhile, is required to work for eight hours on Mondays to Fridays on his primary job. He works on his side gigs mostly during weekends. But if he doesn’t have a tight schedule or urgent matters to attend to in his main job, Pacanos tries to squeeze in some of his part-time work during weekdays.

He said he would continue doing his part-time work at home if he didn’t finish it during the day.

If he could not finish his part-time work during the day, he said he would continue doing it at home, where, sometimes, he’d pull an all-nighter.

“‘Yung pinaka-late ‘di na talaga natulog eh. Aalis ako ng bahay 6 a.m., pagdating ko sa bahay 6 p.m. na and then I just eat my dinner, and then tuloy-tuloy na until kinabukasan. Siguro natatapos ko 4 or 5 a.m., iidlip ako ng onti, and then ‘yon pasok na,” he said.

Juggling these jobs not only resulted in them not having enough rest, but it also affected their relationships with their family and friends.

“Mahirap makagala or makipag meet with friends. Parang boarder na nga lang ako sa bahay namin. Pag-uwi, tutulog tapos paggising pasok na ulit,” she said.

She also recalled the time when she chose to sleep at the hospital instead of commuting back home just so she could rest.

Lack of time for his family, friends, girlfriend, and even himself is also a challenge for Pacanos.

“‘Yun ‘yung sad reality na pati ‘yung kalusugan ko naaapektuhan kasi talagang wala ka ng time mag-exercise, wala ka ng time to do what you want,” he said. 

Burnout

Psychologist Maria Daniela Samaniego-Tividad told republicasia that handling dual or multiple jobs could double the risk of acquiring work-related fatigue and burnout symptoms.

Burnout, she said, is different from the typical stress that people experience on a day-to-day basis. The fine line that separates stress from burnout is that the former is inevitable and could be helpful for people at some point.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines stress as “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation.” It said that it’s a natural human response that allows people to address the challenges and threats they encounter.

Through stress, people develop an urgency or hyperactivity that pushes them to solve the problem they are facing, Samaniego-Tividad said. 

“Stress can be characterized by overengagement. There is still that intention for you to do to the best of your ability what you can in order to resolve the problem that you have. Your emotions are intact; at times, you may overreact, but these are brought on by the usual stresses that we experience,” she explained.

Burnout, on the other hand, is a result of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” according to the WHO.

Samaniego-Tividad said that burnout happens when an individual has been exposed to a stressor for a prolonged period of time, which may lead to more serious mental health illnesses or conditions. If they experience burnout, people feel disengaged from situations that happen to them.

“You become detached from what you do. Whenever there is a problem, you’re no longer motivated to resolve it; you disengage from your role already,” she said.

Burnout has three dimensions that affect not only a person’s emotional but also interpersonal and intrapersonal aspects.

The first dimension is emotional exhaustion, wherein an individual experiences the feeling of being depleted of their own emotional resources. 

The psychologist explained that it’s the feeling they get when a person has exhausted everything they have emotionally, but the people around them still require them to do more tasks, leading them to feel drained.

The second dimension is personalization, or the interpersonal dimension, wherein people become detached not only from their work, but also from the people around them, including their family, friends, and colleagues.

Samaniego-Tividad said that this dimension can be a protective barrier for them, as it would allow them to protect their energies and resources from being depleted by taking a step back. But if it’s overdone, they may become emotionally and socially detached from their surroundings.

A person may also develop a cynical attitude, wherein he or she becomes doubtful of other people’s intentions.

“Ang magiging thinking mo, ‘They’re going to deplete my energy again. Uubusin na naman nila ako,’” she said.

“You may even blame your family for having to work multiple jobs. ’Dahil sa inyo kaya ko nagtratrabaho ng ganito.’ That’s one of the impacts of having that cynical attitude,” she added.

The last one is self-evaluation, or the intrapersonal dimension, wherein a person may feel reduced personal efficacy. This is where they feel incompetent, despite working on multiple jobs. 

“You may feel that what [that] you’re doing is not bringing you to your goal, to your end goal. It’s the feeling that you’re not progressing in what you do despite how hard you try to handle and balance these multiple jobs that you have,” the expert said.

‘Recalibrate’

The phrase, “Prevention is better than cure” also applies when people manage the downsides of taking on additional jobs.

People must know first what their limitations are. Samaniego-Tividad said it is important for them to connect with their feelings and reevaluate their perspectives on their jobs. If they feel they need to go out of their comfort zones, then it’s best for them to do so.

“It’s the best that you can make out of it. You need to every now and then recalibrate whether this is really what you want,” she said.

Tracking their work performance is also helpful to avoid burnout. The psychologist said that they can compare their previous performances to their current ones to know if they should focus on a certain area where they can improve.

“Like what I’ve mentioned kanina in the long run ang effect ng burnout is disengagement. They become easily content with, if not poor, mediocre quality of work. If they used to be keener with details, now, ‘pwede na yan,’ ganyan,” Samaniego-Tividad  said.

“‘Yung mga ganyang klaseng nuances in your quality of work, in your standard of work deliverables, ‘yun din ‘yung kailangan natin mapuna,” she continued.

People who experience burnout can seek advice from their friends, family, or even superiors at work. They can ask their supervisors about how they can improve their work performance or their family if they notice any changes in their behavior.

Of course, seeking the opinions of professionals like psychologists or counselors can be helpful.

Strategies to improve well-being

To better care for their well-being, employees should set boundaries and stick to them, Samaniego-Tividad said.

If they set a day or two in their schedule where they plan to take a rest, the expert said they should follow it and not do any work-related activities unless it is urgent or an emergency.

She mentioned that there are cases wherein people have the tendency to feel that they are not productive when they’re not doing any work-related activity; therefore, they end up accepting side hustles during their free time that is supposed to be allotted for other things such as self-care or bonding time with their family or friends.

“Wala namang masama tumanggap [ng trabaho], pero kung ganon lagi ‘yung pattern mo every week, basta may free time ka tatanggap ka ng work, then it would be very dangerous for your well-being,” she stressed.

Setting boundaries also comes with establishing workable goals, in which employees need to determine what is acceptable, adequate, and overdeliverable to know if what they are doing is still ideal or already exceeding expectations.

“Going beyond expectation is a nice thing, but again, if you do it so often that it leaves you dreading eventually ‘yung work mo, then I wouldn’t say that it is positive,” she said.

Samaniego-Tividad said they can look at the number of hours they spend working on it or the number of deliverables they submit at work.

The next thing they can do is employ time management hacks. There are a lot of ways that people manage their schedules, and one of these is the Pomodoro technique. 

Developed by entrepreneur and author Francesco Cirillo, this technique allows a person to work on a particular task for 25 minutes without distraction and then take a break for five minutes.

“Four sets na 25 minutes, 5 minutes break. Kapag naka-four sets ka na, may one-hour na break ka,” the psychologist said. However, this technique doesn’t apply to all employees, especially those who are working on-site. 

People can pick from other time management hacks on the internet that best fit their working schedule.

Lastly, taking breaks and practicing self-care are big ways to improve their well-being, by  allotting time for something else aside from work, which can be quality time for themselves or for their loved ones.

How employers can help

Employers play a big part in enhancing their employees’ well-being and work performance.

They can help by identifying the needs of their employees, such as benefits that they can provide aside from their fixed salaries.

Samaniego-Tividad said that companies can offer a flexible working schedule where their employees can work remotely. This would help their employees save a lot of time preparing and going to the office, as well as allow them to do side hustles to expand their source of income. In return, employees must ensure that their tasks in their main job are delivered. 

Another benefit is to offer them health support services that will cover both their physical and mental health.  

Employees may feel supported if the companies offer these benefits, Samaniego-Tividad said.

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