While you might be dreaming of the corner office, Drake wasn’t joking when he pointed out that to get to the top, you often have to start at the bottom. Especially in many glamorous industries, you have to start out as a coffee-and-errand-running assistant before you make the big bucks. As a result, I’m finding it more common than ever for my 20-something peers to pick up side jobs on top of their full-time careers to help make ends meet while they wait to move up the corporate ladder. I’m no exception—I spent seven and a half years working retail while also working a few full-time office jobs.
When you’re juggling multiple gigs, time is short, money structures your days, and rest is precious. The struggle is real. Don’t believe me? Here are 10 things 20-somethings with more than one job especially understand:
Multitasking is your middle name.
Because you have little downtime, multitasking is the secret to getting things done and staying on top of your checklist. You probably have multiple browsers open so you can pay your credit card bill while waiting for a presentation from your boss to load, or you’re on the phone making a doctor’s appointment while also typing up the agenda for your company’s afternoon meeting. If you’ve got a free hand, you know you could probably be multitasking.
Wearing versatile clothing is essential.
Sometimes you’re running from the office to a restaurant job or from one retail gig to the next. Either way, you have to be clothed in something that works for every dress code and anticipates any weather changes. On top of all of this, you also want to be both comfortable and stylish, because you have a very long day ahead of you and you want to feel as good as you can.
Lunch breaks are a time to get things done.
Forget dining; lunch breaks are the times you run errands or do things you won’t have time for when you get home. You’d much rather wolf down a sandwich at your desk if it means you can have time to buy your mom’s birthday present on your break.
Convenience is key.
Maybe your Seamless tab is starting to run high or you find that you’ve been dropping off your clothes for wash and fold service a little too frequently. No matter what you’re doing to save time, you’re finding it well worth the extra money.
Holidays are less about relaxing and more about getting extra dough.
Because they are often days when companies offer time and a half of hourly pay, holidays are often less relaxing and more about squeezing out a little extra cash. Even if the pay isn’t better, having extra time off often means opportunities to pick up extra shifts or assignments.
You have at least two bags at all times
As you run from job to job, you might find that you’re travelling heavier to make sure you have everything you need with you. After all, the tools you need for one gig are not necessarily what you’ll need for another, so it’s best to just to have it all handy.
Work perks are as good as gold.
Bagels at a morning meeting mean free breakfast (and possibly lunch if you grab one on the way out). Employee discounts means cheaper holiday presents for all the people on your list. If you’re already working two jobs to try to make rent, any opportunities to cut costs are just extra pennies in your pocket.
Free time is precious.
Because you have so little leisure time, you want to spend it doing things that make you happy. You surround yourself with close, reliable friends. You enjoy ‘me’ time. You don’t have time to waste hours away on things and people that aren’t bringing you joy.
Payment schedules are a well-orchestrated dance.
Maybe the side gig pays you on a weekly basis, whereas the office check comes in bi-monthly. Either way, you’re well versed in the dance of watching money come in and then sending it right back out again as the bills roll in.
You don’t take anything for granted.
You work hard, so you deserve to reap all the rewards that come with it. Every day off, every pay check, everything you buy with that paycheck– you earned it. Even in the future, when you’re reflecting on how you started from the bottom, you’ll know the journey it took to get to the top, and you’ll have full permission to enjoy it.
[Image via Comedy Central]