Overemployed: How to Work Multiple Tech Jobs Sustainably

Overemployed: How to Work Multiple Tech Jobs Sustainably

11 min read
Overemployed How to Work Multiple Tech Jobs Susta

In the era of the Great Reshuffle and Quiet Quitting, where professionals seek new avenues and flexibility in their careers, a new phenomenon is emerging: overemployment. Overemployment — the 21st-century rendition of moonlighting – is the practice of holding down multiple jobs simultaneously in an effort to enhance one’s income and career prospects.

According to recent surveys, 36% of tech professionals work a side hustle in addition to their primary job, with 32% spending just 5–10 hours per week on it. Reports go as far as estimating one in every two millennials in tech has side hustle, and other reports reveal that it’s 70% for Gen Z.

But overemployment is a different situation altogether. Truth is, side hustling — using your personal email address to peddle boy scout cookies while nodding to a Zoom presentation by your CEO — is, well, as old as debt and taxes. Overemployment, though, takes the poly-work concept a bit further — it’s actually about holding two or more jobs. Thus, it means having two email addresses from two companies and not sticking to the (mostly tacit) agreement that you’ll have one job at a time.

With remote work, where employers can swing between their laptops and cram their meetings accordingly, overemployment has probably bloomed. It’s also a testimonial to how much work culture has changed. With millennials and zoomers laughing off at the concept of a “dream job,” online users sharing their experiences simply label their routine work J1, J2, and so on. It’s the last gasp for the “my occupation is my life” motto.

In this article, we explore what overemployment means for developers, the benefits, and challenges it presents, and practical tips for juggling multiple jobs while staying sane and productive. Read on if you’re a developer looking to maximise your income and career potential.

How to achieve sustainable overemployment

According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August 2022, approximately 7.5 million workers in the United States, almost 5% of the labour force, were employed in more than one job. In contrast, in January 2023, an online survey by job site Monster showed that 37% of nearly 1,000 workers admitted to having multiple full-time jobs. Furthermore, among those who currently work only one full-time job, 57% stated that they would be willing to add another position.

So, statistics and anecdotal evidence suggest you can reach overemployment if you’re willing to. It’ll be a matter of time before you land into that lifestyle. But it might be a bit more challenging to keep it rolling.

Below are some ways to achieve sustainable overemployment without blowing your cover:

Embrace a “remote first” policy — or rather a “remote only” one

Is working remotely, from home, without colleagues gracing your presence, essential to being overemployed? It would make heads scratch if anyone answered, “no, it ain’t necessary to be at home to be OE.” Because really: you can’t be sustainably overemployed if you don’t work remotely.

Remember that this is not just side hustling, which you can do during a weekly meeting. If you land J1 and J2 effectively, you’ll have to deal with possibly different computers, separate corporate email addresses, bandwidth-consuming VPNs, IT admins lurking through your browser history, and other non-comfortable realities. What if you want to use one PC only, but one job requires you to use Google Suite, while the other opts for Office 365?

Let’s say you’re using a single computer — yours, which in some countries would mean you’re a contractor and not an employee — and you attend J1’s office. Wouldn’t it be fantastically bizarre to take a call to update founders about an altcoin — what J2 expects from you — while the manager — J1 — who was in another room crashes your meeting without warning and asks you, out loud, about your JavaScript code? In this case, fake backgrounds won’t do the trick.

So, if you want to last more than a week in either job, you better seek out companies that allow you to work remotely. If you’re optimistic enough, find founders who embrace and encourage overworking. Some are roaming around Reddit.

Build up a project-focused mentality

One of the keystones behind being overemployed is the notion that, if you’re deadline-driven and project-driven, (which every company on Earth claims to be these days), then you shouldn’t have a problem hitting the links on a Friday noon as long as you’ve punched the “git push” command in due time.

But, in truth, bosses who attended Woodstock in 1969 still expect you to sit tight and ready by your work desk until the sun sets. Since you’ll be most likely working from home, and time is limited, you’ll have to cut away from the non-strictly-work stuff and stick to delivering, delivering, and delivering. Even though we all enjoy a little banter, it’s primarily incompatible with the OE lifestyle. Small talk? Ball game recaps? Shouting matches about the latest Stack Overflow survey? If you’re overemployed, you’ll have to set all that aside and focus exclusively on delivering projects. And remember: Each second in which you’re quiet quitting in your J1, you’re currently lagging in J2.

Plus, if you work this way, you’ll soon develop a track record of meeting deadlines. Earning this rep might be a game-changer down the line, so go for it.

Keep it down low

Low-profile people don’t strike multi-million dollar deals, but they attain overemployment, which is close enough. Since, in some countries, being overemployed is illegal (in Germany, for example, you can only work for 8 hours a day) or requires permission from your J1 (even if you’re part-time overemployed, i.e., as a college professor on Saturdays, you ought to receive permission from your current employer to hold another job), this strategy, as you correctly guessed, is usually kept a secret.

So, don’t post heroic tales on LinkedIn, don’t get too snarky on team calls, and don’t swash about how much money you’re making with J2, or you might raise some eyebrows — and some unforgiving “Your Account Has Been Suspended” messages if the corporate goons find out about your secret.

Be nice

You have to be kind and nice to thrive. Not only will you be happier, as top-dollar universities have demonstrated, but you’ll also buy yourself some wiggle room if you ever mess up with J1 and J2.

What if you ever have a personal problem and your two jobs stack up so much that you underperform in both? If you’ve been mean and rude, your colleagues will not have your back, and you’ll be kicking a tumbleweed in two days' time for not meeting expectations. Otherwise, if you’ve been constructive, good-intentioned and responsive, people will instead ask you if they can help with anything, and you’ll be able to recover and turn in your deliverables.

Being kind is the most brilliant move if you want to land a J1 at a top-paying tech company. For years, Google sported “Don’t Be Evil” as their mantra, and they’ve certainly done well.

Work smart — or pick your battles smartly

We’ve already gone through how different companies pay surprisingly different rates. So if you’re expecting to have at least two jobs, you better choose those that pay the best. There’s a catch: if you’re about to land a job that pays well but offered you a middle management role, you might not be able to pull off the multi-job strategy, as being a manager means you’ll have to respond to people from the two ends of the ladder — those below and those above. So, it’d be smarter to pick two jobs that pay slightly less but are indeed combatant roles, where you punch in code, deliver, and close your laptop to open your other laptop.

To make things a bit cushier, you can check company reviews and ensure that your J1 and J2 employers have a sound culture where they respect boundaries and don’t expect you to overwork. You’re overemployed already, so having kind and respectful teammates is an influential circumstance you cannot put on the backseat if you want your OE run to be prolonged and achievable.

Work hard — it is what it is

Quiet quitters wax about delegating responsibilities to a mouse jiggler while they whip up a scotch and soda, but that’s a one-jobbed-person possibility: If you’re overemployed, you can’t quiet quit. Unfortunately, there’s no supernatural Life Hacker advice or magic wand shortcut here; you’ll have to work hard to make overemployment — which implies working wisely — a sustainable practice.

Prioritise time management

To effectively manage multiple jobs, it’s crucial to prioritise your time and stay organised. One way to do this is by implementing time management tools and techniques such as time blocking, the Pomodoro method, and productivity apps. Time blocking refers to scheduling specific time slots for different tasks, helping you stay focused and on track. The Pomodoro method involves breaking tasks down into short, focused intervals separated by breaks, which can increase productivity and prevent burnout. Also, the Pomodoro system is usually sold in a cute-looking tomato-shaped timer. Timing your deliverables shouldn’t be that bleak.

Use your clout to negotiate

If you’re a developer looking to take on a J2, it may be worth considering negotiating with your employer(s) for more flexible hours or additional time to complete projects. This could free up more time for you to pursue J2 — and other interests outside of work, why not.

When negotiating, leverage your clout and provide evidence of your ability to maintain high-quality work despite the changes in scope and the impossibly messy instructions you got over Slack. It’s also important to consider potential trade-offs and compromises that could benefit both you and your employer. By negotiating effectively, you can create a more fulfilling work-life balance and level up your job juggling game.

Wait — is overemployment worth it?

Now that you’ve seen what it takes, are you pepped up to learn what’s in store for those taking that path? Fortunately, the pros are varied and rewarding. Let’s look at them.

It enables financial stability and expands the safety net

Holding down multiple jobs simultaneously offers a number of tangible benefits for tech workers, including financial solidity and diversification of skills. In a survey conducted by Aviva, individuals who started a side hustle during the pandemic cited financial reasons as their primary motivation for doing so.

Overemployment allows devs to create an additional income stream, effectively boosting their cash flow and financial stability. Having multiple income streams can be particularly useful during periods of economic uncertainty, providing a cushion against unexpected expenses or job losses.

When individuals diversify their income sources, they provide themselves with more stability and flexibility. Such security can go a long way towards addressing financial struggles such as debt or losing a job. As such, diversifying income through overemployment can be an intelligent way for people to expand their financial safety net and gain more control over their financial well-being.

It diversifies your skill set

Overemployment offers developers a unique opportunity to enhance their financial stability, advance their careers, and broaden their skill set. You’ll soon be able to tell HR people that you used Python, R, and SQL in a single year; you don’t necessarily need to disclose it was across three different jobs.

It offers networking opportunities

Having more job opportunities can lead to a broader network of professionals to connect with, which can provide many benefits for developers. First, it allows for more opportunities for collaboration with professionals from different sectors. This can lead to new insights and problem-solving perspectives, improving creativity and decision-making skills. It can also lead to more job opportunities and higher earning potential.

It boosts your slumbering entrepreneurial spirit

For some developers, overemployment is an avenue to entrepreneurship. Working multiple jobs can provide developers with the necessary funds to start their own businesses and gain critical skills and experience. Furthermore, having a stable income stream from overemployment can reduce the risk and uncertainty of starting a new business

Quick Facts

86% of today’s six-figure businesses started as side hustles
36% of tech professionals work a side hustle in addition to their primary job
50% of millennials have a side hustle
70% of Gen Z have a side hustle

How to deliver tasks on many ends

Integrating a side hustle into your already busy schedule can be overwhelming if you’re not adequately prepared. Fortunately, there are practical tips you can follow to manage multiple jobs effectively while mitigating burnout and avoiding missed deadlines. Here are some essential strategies to consider:


By leveraging AI-powered tools and productivity applications, you can streamline your workload and automate repetitive tasks, saving you valuable time and minimising the risk of burnout. Consider tools like Zapier or IFTTT to bring your apps and integrations to one place and automate recurring tasks across your multiple jobs, or recur to the wondrous power of AutoGPT for a cranked-up automate-anything tool.

Leverage AI

Integrating AI into your workflow allows you to automate repetitive tasks and streamline your processes, freeing up time to focus on other Js. You can even use AI tools to polish and optimise your resume or project proposals. Additionally, leveraging AI can help reduce errors and improve accuracy in data entry and analysis tasks.

Prioritise and Delegate

Make a list of high-priority tasks and delegate non-essential responsibilities wherever possible. This can help you focus on the critical tasks that require your attention and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, consider hiring freelancers and contractors to outsource tasks that are outside your expertise. Make it clear to your colleagues (at both jobs) that you don’t want to be disturbed unless its necessary — only essential meetings, everything else can be an email!

Communication and Organisation

Managing multiple jobs as a developer can be challenging, but effective communication and organisation can make it much more manageable. Using project management tools such as Trello, Asana, or ClickUp to organise your workflow and keep track of deadlines is essential.

It is essential to acknowledge that burnout can happen to anyone, but it is crucial to establish a system that can mitigate its adverse effects when it does occur. Prioritising your health and happiness alongside your professional success is crucial, and setting boundaries and mitigating burnout is important. Automating tasks and meetings using tools like calendar applications can save time and reduce stress. By following these tips and integrating AI-powered tools and applications into your workflow, you can effectively manage multiple jobs while preserving your work-life balance, avoiding burnout as much as possible, and preventing your cover from blowing up.

“If I manage all 5 [jobs] for a year, I will make around 1.2 million in 2022. I made 16 dollars an hour in 2016. I’m still struggling grasping the sheer amount of money dumping into my bank account.” — sweetmullet on Reddit.

As a developer juggling multiple jobs, there are some legal considerations and tax implications that are specific to the tech industry. For example, you may need to be aware of any non-compete agreements or intellectual property agreements you have signed with your current employer and any conflicts of interest that may arise from working for multiple companies in the same industry.

In terms of taxes, it’s important to understand the tax implications of earning income from multiple sources. This includes being familiar with different tax brackets and how they apply to your combined income and understanding any deductions or credits that may be available to you as a developer.

It’s also important to be aware of any tax laws or regulations specifically applicable to the tech industry, such as those related to cryptocurrency earnings or equity-based compensation.

To navigate these complexities, seeking the advice of a tax professional who is knowledgeable about the tech industry can be extremely helpful. By staying informed and ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations, you can maximise your earning potential while maintaining a successful work-life balance.


If you’re bored with the traditional “one job at a time” approach, why not consider embracing the chaos and conquering the tech world like a chief with the power of overemployment? With the right combination of effective time management and communication skills, you can achieve financial stability and unlock exciting opportunities in the ever-changing tech industry. And let’s not forget about the added bonus of avoiding burnout and savouring the sweet taste of financial freedom.

But before you dive headfirst into the overemployment abyss, remember to stay informed of the legal and tax implications and seek expert advice. And for those ready to take the plunge, why not join the r/Overemployed community and connect with other tech professionals on the same journey towards overemployment greatness? So if you’re ready to embrace the power of overemployment and take your tech career to the next level, what are you waiting for? The world of overemployment awaits, my friend.1.

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