- Some white-collar workers are secretly holding down two full-time remote jobs at the same time.
- It can be tricky to balance two jobs, but some are earning more than $200,000, they told the WSJ.
- They drop in and out of meetings, or avoid them entirely, to ensure they aren’t caught, they said.
Some white-collar workers are taking advantage of remote work by holding down two full-time jobs — and not telling either employer.
The Wall Street Journal spoke to six workers who had held multiple full-time jobs. They told the publication that it’s a difficult balancing act but one that is worth it for the doubled salary. Most earn from about $200,000 to nearly $600,000 a year, The Journal reported.
The Journal verified the workers’ claims by examining offer letters, employment contracts, pay stubs, and corporate emails.
The workers said they’d used the extra money to pay off student-loan debt, top up their kids’ college-savings accounts, and buy luxury goods like an engagement ring and a sports car.
Read more: Employers need to rethink salary negotiations now
Employment lawyers told The Journal that holding two jobs at once didn’t violate federal or state laws but that it could breach employment contracts and get people fired.
“I’ll wake up in the morning and I’m like, ‘Oh, this is the day I’m gonna get found out,'” a software engineer told The Journal.
Many workers said they had strategies to get around difficult situations and didn’t work more than 40 hours a week between both jobs.
A data scientist in Richmond, Virginia, told The Journal that he was teaching an online coding class at his second job when his first boss asked for a video call.
He told his students to take a short break and used his other computer to join the call, he said.
Another worker told The Journal he regularly attended two meetings at once by joining one on his computer and the other on his phone. If he was asked to speak in both meetings at the same time, he answered the questions in one call and dropped out of the other, before rejoining and saying he had problems with his internet.
And whenever possible, he tried to avoid meetings completely by telling colleagues he could help them on
instead, he said.
“Let’s be honest. You have to be pretty bad at being sly to get caught,” he said.
The Overemployed website, which focuses on the benefits of holding down two jobs, has tips for workers on how to do it, such as by being visible at meetings and carefully watching what they post on LinkedIn.
One of its cofounders said that he started applying for second jobs last year because he was expected to be laid off from his job at a San Francisco Bay Area tech company.
He got an offer for a role at another nearby tech company and planned to quit his initial job — but decided against it.
At his first job, he started handing off some responsibilities to a new colleague and even took a whole month off using the company’s unlimited paid time off, citing COVID-19 burnout, he told The Journal.
The practice was around before COVID-19.
One software engineer in Europe told The Journal that he took a second job, a contract assignment, in 2018 by telling his employers he was attending a cybersecurity course in London. He said he spent several months in the city and earned an extra $350 a day. He’s been swapping between second jobs ever since, he said.