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How to survive two jobs (or three or four)

Today’s headlines are dominated by news of the recession, rates of unemployment and at the more extreme end, the inevitable collapse of the American economy. While U.S. unemployment is at a stubborn 9.1 percent, another outcome of the difficult economic times has been an increase in multiple jobs to help make ends meet.

According to a 2010 survey by AARP in collaboration with the National Hispana Leaders Institute and impreMedia, 10 percent of Hispanic baby boomers have taken a second job; the same percentage of spouses have also taken second jobs. Financial challenges are exacerbated for many Latinos who – in significant numbers – support spouses, parents, and children. Of those surveyed, 45 percent of Hispanic baby boomers have helped a child pay bills or expenses, and almost 30 percent have helped a parent pay for their expenses.

Seeking another source of income makes sense considering that this group is overrepresented in industries that have been faced with larger wage decreases. In contrast to whites who were more likely to be multiple jobholders because they “enjoyed the work” or “to get experience,” Hispanics were more likely to report that they worked more than one job to cover household expenses or pay off debts.

A second job can help mitigate some financial worries, but with all the stress and juggling that comes along with it, it is important to adopt a long-term approach that will sustain more than your pocket book.

Strategize: Choose part-time work that will be most beneficial to your future goals, but avoid an organization or company that competes with your current workplace. If it’s something that can enhance your skills at your full-time job, your employer may be more flexible. Set specific financial goals as well, so that you can determine the optimal number of hours or length of time you will need to devote to the side gig.

Compartmentalize: Be present. This means don’t let your mind or focus wander to one job when working on tasks for the other. Women are especially prone to multi-tasking, but periods of intense focus can help you be even more productive and feel less drained.

Socialize: Don’t neglect your family or friends in your mad dash to make money. Your support system is even more important now and will help restore some well needed balance to your life. Find creative ways to reconnect with the people in your life who increase your energy…a chat on the phone with your sister, a session on Skype with your best friend, or a long coffee break with your favorite colleague.

Jazzercise: I’m kidding about jazzercise, but your health is a serious matter. When under the stress of two jobs, be sure to take extra care of your health and well being. The same AARP study found that 60 percent of Hispanics over 45 got less sleep due to stress or worry. Don’t skimp on sleep or meals and keep at least one “no-work” day sacred. Overall, don’t compromise your health to pay a few bills.

Maybe Latinos will start taking their employment into their own hands: Hispanics over 45 were twice as likely as the general population to have started their own business. This strategy may be a more efficient way of not only paying your bills but building a system of support that will survive for generations to come.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Thank you Adriana for the post. I agree that a second job can help mitigate some financial worries. I would only add that a second job be something related with one of your hobbies, something you are passionate about, something you love to do. If you love what you do, first, it doesn’t feel like work, and second, the path to your success becomes more joyful and clear.

  2. I’m glad that you’re writing about this, Adriana but I started noticing that more people, of all races and ethnicities, were working more for less money going back to the late ’80’s. That’s when I started to notice how almost all of the couples from the little suburb where I was raised were working. When I was little, it was almost all the fathers at work, now it is both parents and then some. When I was reporting on certain Latino communities in Pa in the ’90s, one of the factors affecting school policies and our children was the fact that most of the parents –single and otherwise– were at work when they’re kids were coming home.
    This is about more people working more for less pay and fewer benefits. It has become dramatically worse in the last few years but this trend goes back at least 30 years.

  3. Excellent observations, Rick. That was certainly the case in my family.

  4. SOO true, Sebastian. That’s currently my situation. Unfortunately, many others aren’t so lucky. Thanks for reading!

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