The unlikely cure for burnout? A second job

Like Murphy, many underemployed individuals are hitting financial milestones that once seemed out of reach – from buying a home to amassing substantial savings. In a Discord chat, one member enjoyed the feeling of getting two payslips on the same day while the others reacted with emojis in unison. In another channel, called “2x-success stories,” members discuss victories ranging from paying off loved ones’ credit card debt to raising themselves 130 % or 200% by getting a second job.

But many victories are not material. In contrast, proponents say that the idea of ​​working more — and the obligation, in theory, to work 80 hours or more per week — is not only financially liberating, but also liberating. emotions and professions. Discord discussions warn members about “red flag” behavior from companies — from startups with heavily responsive expectations to non-essential cultures. These conversations reveal growing discontent with the idea that the workplace has any resemblance to a family, with members often citing their real family—spouse, new child. walking, parents — the people they choose to prioritize over corporate loyalty. There is a common belief that many jobs are nothing more than an exchange of services for pay, until it is no longer favorable.

Underemployed people rarely want to self-actualize and create meaning in their work. Many people shy away from career ambitions, adding relatively lower-level jobs and allowing them to complete their jobs without the obligations that come with higher-level roles. Those looking for their 9 to 5 perfection are discouraged on threads in Discord and Reddit, asked to look elsewhere and to resist businesses’ encroachment on their lives, and encouraged to seek meaning outside the constraints of work.

While stories of people with half a dozen jobs exist, most in the community are simply working two, avoiding lifestyle inflation and escalating costs and saving for personal or family goals. their family. Many people are satisfied with their jobs, not so much because they’re eager to take advantage of corporations, but because they’ve experienced the burnout that results from working too hard at a single job – getting a job. get very little of their effort. In a thread where someone considered resigning from one of their three roles, another poster practically replied: “Don’t resign, just resign”.

With many jobs, the posters say they are never bound by any job. It is a rejection of work as an identity and acceptance of work as a means to an end. And most have an exit strategy, goal, or financial figure that will help them pack it all in. The underemployment gives a newfound sense of confidence and positivity in uncertain times, a feeling of wanting to take back power.

Murphy has no moral qualms about underemployment, which suggests it’s both ethical and pervasive. She said: “My mother worked two jobs all the time growing up, but we didn’t really think it was that strange because it was a working-class situation. “But if you’re a knowledge worker and you’re doing a lot of work, it feels like it’s unethical. It’s not, if you’re getting your work done. “

However, Murphy remains afraid of being discovered and potentially losing both roles amid the pandemic. Her anxiety peaked when a meeting from the human resources department at her first job popped up on her schedule. She was afraid her secret had been revealed. She imagines that the HR coordinators at both companies are somehow communicating and blowing up her life, only she blames herself for trying to go ahead and save fast. than. In fact, the call is completely different: The company is in the midst of a layoff and she will be fired after a few years. “I saved a lot of cash,” says Murphy. “In the end I’m incredibly grateful that I got my second secret job.”

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