6 Lessons I Learned From Jumping Between Two Jobs:
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve just started a new job! I had made the decision, with both sets of bosses, to try and balance the two jobs on a part-time basis for a while, in to outwork the notice period, and still manage the youth conference I’d been building up for the last three years, and to start to understand the new job before I jumped fully in.
In some respects, it worked ok. And it was encouraging to start to see how my new career would be shaped, as well as become excited by the future prospects ahead of me.
The benefits of working the two job side-by-side, led to:
1. Learning how to delegate better, rather than over-stretching and trying to do it all yourself. I’m the kind of person who has ended up just “doing it myself” because it’s the quickest and easiest option. If I want to turn a job into a career, learning how to manage people as well as work load is important.
2. Seeing what are the really important tasks through the fog of stuff. Working out what was priority in the old job gave me better focus on what I needed to do, eliminating the pressure of those things which were “nice, but a side-line”. Like speaking at the conference would have been good, but less pressure for me to bring someone in when trying to organise the whole weekend too.
3. Recognising team mates who were able to support the transition, and not allow their frustrations spill over. Being part of a team which have their eyes on the bigger picture, and not just on the narrow stream of what they do individually, gave the support and encouragement I needed for the transition, and to make sure I still worked well.
In spite of these benefits, it is not something I would recommend, and probably not something I would do again, for the following challenging reasons:
1. When you work part time, you tend to do more than contracted, just because time works against you, rather than for you. Finishing tasks, ticking off items in your to-do list, is often harder than it should be. And it’s not just down to how organised you are. Sometimes it comes down to good old-fashioned, waiting on other people! Like when you need some artwork to be signed off, or a piece of copy to be proof-read, or the printer is out of the office the day you are in, or you’re playing phone-tag all day! Working part-time doesn’t always allow for you to, “pick it up again in the morning”.
2. Working two jobs part-time added pressure to colleagues in both offices. And added guilt to the burden I had of wanting to finish well, and start strong! There were times when I wasn’t sure what needed to be done, and when you have people asking you for clear direction, having a blank expression on your face isn’t a good look!! And, you end up taking work home, just to get a handle on what’s needed!
3. I realised the limitations of my own brain capacity! I think that’s the real shocker! I couldn’t retain all the information I needed for both jobs, and moving house, and all the stuff I do at Church…oh my days…. I’m only human after all! I forgot to do things. I missed simple “school girl errors” in some of the writing, proofreading, design and other tasks I would normally be hit in the face by! I was over-tired, unable to sleep for all the thoughts of what I’d missed and needed to follow up on, which then had a detrimental impact when I was back in the office… coffee can only do so much!
So, would I do it again?
I should have learned from when I had tried to major in two subjects for my degree: Creative Writing & Psychology, instead of focussing on just one or the other!
I like to push myself, and do more than is expected….the psychologist in me probably has an inkling as to why this is, but the creative writer in me just wants to find more ways to write. But “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways”! (James 1:8)
So if you want to learn from my experience – don’t do it! I’m not just talking about working two jobs. It could be anything which is grabbing your attention, or splitting your mind’s attention.
Focus on one task at a time, and commit 100% attention to each item on your to-do list. This way, you end up giving more than 100% because your brain is able to concentrate more fully on what’s in front of you.