Secretly working multiple jobs can be very profitable, but some workers say it makes career advancement difficult.

Some people have made as much as $500,000 a year secretly working multiple remote jobs. But splitting time between roles can make it difficult for some workers to advance in their careers. However, some job jugglers say the extra work experience provides valuable skill development

While Robert, a Gen Xer living in Florida, was able to earn roughly $335,000 last year as an overemployed worker, he said the high pay came at a cost.

“There is a certain level you cannot be at to perform well on multiple jobs,” Robert said. “It’s definitely harder to truly advance.”

However, Robert was willing to make that trade and held three jobs simultaneously for half the year, which he said required only about 50 hours of work a week. He said the extra income helped him pay down debt and take several expensive vacations — including a roughly $20,000 cruise.

Over the past year, Business Insider has spoken with several people who’ve made as much as $500,000 annually working two to three remote jobs simultaneously. They’ve used the extra income to pay off their mortgages, plan for an early retirement, and take luxurious vacations.

But life is full of tradeoffs, and that’s as true as ever for the people secretly working multiple remote jobs.

Business Insider asked four current and former overemployed workers whether their career trajectories stalled when they began working multiple jobs, and if so, whether this bothered them. They spoke on condition that pseudonyms would be used for fear of professional repercussions, but BI has verified their identities and earnings.

A lack of career advancement might be worth it for the extra income

Overemployed people are deploying a different career strategy than traditionally employed workers — one that could make it difficult for them to thrive and advance at any single job.

Career advancement is among the top things Robert had to give up in his pursuit of overemployment, he said. He added that it can also be difficult to line up vacation time — it has to be approved by multiple employers.

But ultimately, Robert said the extra income that job juggling has provided him makes it worthwhile. Even if he could earn a comparable income in a more senior role, he said he might prefer the overemployed lifestyle.

“I could be a senior director making $25,000 to $30,000 a month and really stressing, or I can do two to three jobs and cruise through,” he said.

Splitting time between jobs is sometimes unsustainable

Job juggling can come with its pros and cons. While having multiple jobs can be stressful and require long hours, most people have told Business Insider that it’s worth it for their higher incomes.

In the same vein, intense competition for remote roles and return-to-office mandates could make overemployment a difficult strategy to sustain over the long term — and working multiple jobs could be a fireable offense if one is ever found out. But for many workers, the extra job security that can come with having multiple jobs outweighs these concerns.

Career advancement — and how much one values it — is another factor many job jugglers are forced to consider.

William, a Texas-based tech worker in his 30s who earned over $500,000 in 2022 secretly working multiple remote roles, also weighed his professional progress.

Working as much as 14 hours a day across his roles meant he didn’t have much time to relax, William said. He also found it difficult to dedicate sufficient time to each of his jobs.

“It was definitely a trade-off of short-term financial gains,” he said of overemployment. “It did make it harder to put in 100% in either role, which is required to move ahead in your career.

In February 2023, only eight months after he started, William decided to resign from his two corporate jobs and focus on his consulting business.

Overemployment can provide workers with valuable experience

Not every overemployed worker agrees that working multiple jobs is bad for career advancement.

John, a millennial IT professional in California, was on track to earn over $300,000 last year across two remote jobs.

He said the skills he’s learned in one job have sometimes helped him become more productive at his other job. He thinks this has made him a more valuable worker and could ultimately help him progress in his career.

“If anything, it makes me more creative in my work because I can look at problems in different ways,” he said.

If job juggling helps John land more senior roles — and these roles have greater job responsibilities — it may be difficult for him to continue job juggling. But that might not have to be the case, based on other overemployed workers’ experiences.

Justin, an IT engineer in his 50s, earned over $300,000 in 2022 secretly working three full-time, remote IT engineer jobs. By the time he began job juggling, he said he had already advanced considerably in his career and wasn’t concerned about his job trajectory.

“I didn’t have future advancements I was looking toward,” he said. “But I can afford to travel now. So I’m not really giving up relaxation time. So really what have I given up? Nothing.”

Are you working multiple remote jobs at the same time and willing to provide details about your pay and schedule? If so, reach out to this reporter at jzinkula@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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