overemployment polygamous career

6 Reasons Why Overemployment aka “Career Polygamy” Is Here To Stay

You and your family deserve financial resiliency – multiple streams of income, and peace of mind. Scott Belsky, the chief product officer of Adobe, happens to agree. Today, we’ll share why we think Overemployment, what Belsky calls career polygamy, is here to stay. Learn more from our community success stories.

Career monogamy is a social construct designed to keep you subjugated, to limit your ability to evolve and make choices for your own benefit. It can feel comforting and secure (until it isn’t) but the truth is that gives your partner [the employer] all the real power in the relationship.

Dan Rust, author of Workplace Poker

Overemployment Trend #1: Work From (A Much Bigger) Home Anywhere

Remote-only careers were rare before the pandemic. They had a negative connotation to them, like “oh she’s a stay at home mom” or “he’s awkward in person” – socialized nonsense promoted by the system and perpetuated by everyone working in the office.

Well, the Great Unplugging (from the office) is here. Breaking news (not really): most of us really, really like working from home and seeing our family. That’s how life used to be before the industrial revolution forced the separation of work and life. Remember that old commute and not seeing your love ones from 9-to-5? Yeah, no one wants to go back to that existence. Well, almost no one.

With our workplaces reconfigured for WFH, knowledge-based businesses like tech, finance, and media are more prosperous than ever. WFH is here to stay, along with the trends of Overemployment, polygamous careers, and the 4-day workweek (wait what two jobs in 32 hours or less?).

1. Rediscover the joy of work (specifically, multi-work)

Now hear me out. I know this is a crazy, but remember when you got bored at your one job and started a side hustle? Well, with WFH, you can now do the side hustle or passion project simultaneously with your full-time job. Better yet, you can shop around for a second full-time remote job that excites you about your craft once again. It just might pay better than the side hustle. The possibilities are endless. Put in another way, we’re granting you the permission to self-configure your formerly well-defined, one-job work arrangements. Go do what makes you happy.

The reality is even dream jobs become boring eventually. This is natural. Once the newness wears off, we’re bored and ready for the next challenge. That’s how our minds work – predict, learn, and adapt. It’s the amazing part of being human. So why not channel our energy into new “tuned in” jobs while still keeping everyone happy at our old jobs?

I found the excitement of my new job reinvigorated my passion in the old job. I actually became better at solving slightly different but overlapping technical problems at both my jobs. All this is to say, Overemployment is a huge win-win. It led me to rediscover my love for work again, and career polygamy might just do the same for you.

2. Move closer to family, buy a bigger house for WFH

We’re reversing a 150-year trend of moving closer to offices and factories where the jobs were. In the last two years, many have chosen to move back home or be closer to family. These moves are permanent. Companies that value their employees will have to learn to live with this new reality of a distributed workforce or risk a mass exodus. Some have already learned the hard way the power of the invisible hand.

Several macroeconomic factors have also led the run up in the housing market, but one factor will persist is the fact that your home is now your office, gym, and co-working space. You’re now the IT and facility person tasked with setting up the home office for everyone’s WFH success. Start with buying a house with the room and land for expansion, like adding an ADU (accessory dwelling unit, or office space) in your backyard. My ADU home office has a great Breville Barista Espresso machine. Co-working, anyone?

3. Work staycation and house swapping – and why you might love it

In addition to your new, bigger home, you can now do long-term work staycations. Just look at Airbnb’s latest quarterly earnings and search online for the latest startups catering to digital nomads.

We think the family work staycation is the next new love. Why pack all the kids bag only to go on a two week vacation and come back exhausted and with piled up inboxes? Better yet, temporarily house swap and move to Europe for three months. Just make sure not to tell anyone at work for labor compliance reasons. And check with your CPA for any tax complications.

We’re venturing into a new world of an integrated life of work and play at the same time. House swap anyone? My requirement is you have an ADU and espresso machine for 1-for-1 swap.

Overemployment Trend #2: Battling Inflation Wage-Price Spiral

What’s a wage-price spiral? It is an economic phenomenon of price increases as a result of higher wages, and vice versa. When workers receive wage hikes (or become Overemployed), they demand more goods and services and this, in turn, causes prices to rise. Just look at the housing market – bonkers!

Therefore, the bulletproof way to get yourself out of the wage-price spiral is capture more wage gains relative to others. With Overemployment, you can afford more and will likely win more when caught in a bidding war for your dream home. I’ve lost one too many to count, as there’s always a greater and more desperate fool out there. But at least I know I’ve the means to “win it” when the dream home comes to the market.

4. Beat inflation with a second remote job

We all know the annual pay raise is a joke. Your upcoming 3-4% pay raise in real-terms is actually a pay decrease when when nominal inflation is over 5%. That is to say, you can buy less with your small pay raise when prices of almost everything have risen greater than 5% and show no sign of coming back down.

Alternatively, you could work your butt off for maybe a promotion. If you get it, the best case is probably a 10% increase to your base pay. Still, after years of hard work, your got a 5% in real-wage increase? Hold the champagne. I won’t go out celebrating. This is barely getting ahead in life.

Now if you hit the job market and start a new J2 at the same salary as your J1, then that’s a 100% pay increase off the bat. What’s not to like? Take the side door and say no thanks to that promotion and more responsibilities. And this assumption is for a normal job market…

5. Tech jobs market scorching hot for experienced talent

Like that Nelly song say, it’s getting hot in here! Like the housing market, the experienced tech talent market is on fire. The evidence is everywhere, just ask a recruiter when you’re on one of your screening calls.

Our community pay data shows new comps are coming in at 20-30% higher than last year and changing fast. If you’re an experienced tech talent, the world is your oyster right now. And the trend isn’t self-correcting any time soon since new talent haven’t got the hands-on training that an experienced hire has and, with pandemic burnout, there is a smaller pool of experienced job seekers. In other words, if you are experienced tech talent, your time has come.

6. Pay down debt, save more, and buy a house on “turbo” speed

Everyone wants to get out of the debt and save more. The good news is being a career polygamist with Overemployment is like having your own ATM. Once you’ve secured your J1 and J2 set up, the cash machine gets revved up. Throw in a J3 and the ATM starts to spit out more cash than you know what to do with it. As one of our community members said, Overemployment is like playing the game of life on turbo speed.

Secure your 💰💰💰 and buy a house. Time to settle in and play the career polygamy long game.

overemployment polygamous career
The Overemployment ATM

Key Takeaways On Overemployment And Career Polygamy

Career polygamy is as natural as the cold-hearted business logic that drives layoffs – survival of the fittest. With Overemployment, you can build financial resiliency into your Family Inc. and protect your loved ones from uncertainty.

At the same time, there are some unintended benefits from Overemployment and career polygamy. You could actually rediscover your love of working and making stuff again. You could live an integrated life instead of a divided life. And you can earn more, beat inflation, and buy a dream home. Did I mention house swap for staycations?

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. But we think the fundamentals of the human conditions – relationships, love, and purpose – will drive Overemployment and make us all career polygamists in the long run. Now go configure the integrated life you’ve always wanted.

16 comments

  1. Enjoy while you can. I am a business owner and have already caight and fired 3 people working 2 Js. Everyone thinks they can juggle two jobs and they are still providing their top level performance to job 1. What ends up happening in most cases is you become mediocre to both job 1 and job 2 and job 1 usually notices at some point so in our case once the superstar who is paid a superstar salary became mediocre we decided to release them and hire another superstar at their superstar salary. We do not pay for mediocre and we have amazing salaries, benefits and 90% of our employees work a 40-hour work week to have work-life balance. They have a great gig with us therefore mediocre is not acceptable. We also notice
    that they’re missing more. Suddenly they have more “dentist and doctor appointments” which we know is a bunch of crap. There are patterns with every person nobody has a dentist or a doctor appointment one day a week. We 100% support our staff having time away for family or personal time to recharge their batteries,, be involved with their children’s lives, and needed healrh appointments. So when they’re gone more to accommodate those additional meetings or the additional work that they’re doing for their side hustle while they’re supposed to be doing the work for our company they are diluting themselves and burn themselves out so they really aren’t giving 100% to their job 1and our clients. The other thing that is happening is there are moments when we have a lull and business goes down or we don’t get that next job but the business continues to pay your salary that’s the commitment that’s being made so if you were to go out and start your own business this is where a lot of people can’t make it financially because they can get a job and then for 2 months it dries up and there’s no money this is what you’re forgetting that your employer is doing they are still paying you even when sometimes that next job didn’t get awarded to the company. So remember in the future things will slow down there will be less jobs and less side gigs to be had and when people have to make decisions on who to hire they will remember those that had the side gig and then most of the time the decision to hire those people will be at the very bottom because at the end of the day people can’t trust that you will have their back or the clients back but instead you could still be trying to run your side hustle. If you want to work for yourself then just leave your job start your own business and work for yourself then you can take all the jobs that you want, anytime you want, from wherever you want and pay for your own benefits and ride the ups and downs when there is a contract job and then when there aren’t. This is why many of you only do it as a side hustle because many of you don’t have the balls or the guts to go out and try to do it on your own instead you try to work at the company and then do your little side hustle. All the best

    1. Hi Mardi,

      I wouldn’t say “no balls or guts” per se. Rather, OE folks are taking the risks to start their own Family Inc. while working some full-time jobs. The OE-style business is just designed and built differently than your business at Bessolo Design Group. We’re not anti-small business, rather just responsive to market forces and opting for a Company of One by design.

      Perhaps you should consider a strategic shift to hiring contractors for results-oriented work as your business varies, instead of employees. Worth thinking about. After all, we all are just market participants and it takes two sides to make a market. By the way, have you ever done a layoff of your employees, like during the Great Recession? Just curious.

      Folks, set low expectations when you OE at Bessolo Design Group (https://www.linkedin.com/company/bessolo-design-group/) and the likes. Else, the owners will fire you for trying to make bread or doing your own side hustle. What an ironic way to lost talent in a competitive free market. Free market means free choice (“at-will”) for everyone. So yes, they can fire you just as much as you can fire them at any time. OE is your layoff protection plan.

  2. As a new grad, can you leverage OE to get better jobs quicker? Basically, my idea is that normally you need something like 5-6 years of work experience to get a Senior SWE position right? But, let’s say I’m working 2 jobs at once for 3 years. Can I basically then say I have 6 years of experience and get the Senior SWE 2-3 years early? Then maybe leverage that to get a 2nd Senior SWE position? Basically, can I leverage OE to double my career’s progression, or will having two jobs at the same time on my resume look terrible/raise too many annoying questions?

    1. Initially the first couple of years probably not simply due to time in the role on the “1J” only resume. But after that interviewers do “leveling” during your interview performance, at least technical type of roles like SWE and any technical-related jobs. If you’ve the skills to play at the major league, then you’re in the major league, whether 1J or OE gained skills. On having two jobs on resume, horrible idea. Folks in the Matrix will not like it.

  3. How do you manage to keep a J2 in this age of LinkedIn, and social media? Can someone who has a J2 talk about potential questions being asked by the new employer when interviewing? Ex: Does new employer ever ask for references from current J1?

  4. On on week 3 of my first J2. My 16YO is off to college soon and I thought I was going to starve paying for it. (She also wants to go to medical school and has a little brother who will need college too )
    9 months of J2 will allow me to save enough for all 4 years for her. I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Juggling meetings is nothing compared to financial stress. I wish I could have done this in my 20s.

  5. I’m working as Team Leader in big gaming marketplace for about 7 years. My team of 5 devs works like well-oiled machine. So I had this feeling that there is nothing to do for me, and my skills were degrading. I felt burnout and was constantly tired, then I decided to grab second job! It was small startup in Europe and the energy of a small company re-charged my batteries. I got a purpose again to wake up early, and learn, build, and create! I pulled one of my devs from main company over to the startup, since then we work together and this setup works perfectly.

    1. You had the perfect thing going until you violated rule #1 by bringing one of your devs to the startup. Even if (s)he’s in on it and also 2x’ing, if (s)he goes down (s)he could bring you down with him/her. Good luck with all that.

    2. Nice, that’s awesome! Would there happen to be any open growth/ops positions at said company?

  6. Two weeks in to first J2 and got my first double pay day Friday – well almost, it wasn’t a full double yet because of a shorter pay period, but still, two deposits at once!

    As a single parent for the last decade, two income streams is such a breath of fresh air. So far, only one weekly meeting overlaps so I’ve been switching up which one I skip or bump. With no one else’s income stream to have ever been able to fall back on before, this really does feel more relaxing than one J. And it has drastically improved my type A tendencies, which a previous amazing boss had pointed out years ago wasn’t ever going to do me any favors because work was getting the milk for free so to speak. Lots of J’s have dangled potential future promotions being right around the corner, and J1 has been no exception. But now I feel the tables turned, instead of me chasing that carrot, they have to convince me why taking on more is worth an additional effort. And that change in dynamics feels really great.

    Thank you OE community & Isaac for bringing this hush hush thought to reality for me.

    Sincerely, 00J

    1. Thanks for sharing your success story! Love it. Divergent thinkers unite. Enjoy your new journey and live long and prosper! 🖖

  7. #7 the ability to speak your mind and “say no” – when you have multiple J’s you don’t have to be that over-accommodating to ridiculous requests/projects because you’re not risking you sole source of income + it makes negotiating salary much easier, especially if you’re rotating in a J3.

    1. Similarly, always having two jobs gives you a healthy distance from what’s going on. Oh, you promoted so-and-so instead of me? That’s cute…

  8. I have been working two jobs at a time for around 15 years now. I take independent contract jobs, do my own taxes and when one job goes belly up, I just trudge over to the next contract job. I put away enough money to pay my taxes every year, get my 1099 forms sent off and never have qualms. However, recently, my two jobs have tanked. One has slowed down over the years because it is sort of entertainment and clients fell off because people did not have the money for the type of luxury the job sells. The other job is heading for the bottom because we are no longer needed. Yes, it’s customer service. Boring but paid well for a while. So I am out pounding the internet pavement and have already written down several possibilities. Problem is I need my 8 hours sleep (what a waste of time) so have to see how to optimize my work time with jobs I enjoy while getting in at least a half hour a day of walking to keep my rear from growing into the desk chair.

  9. “playing the game of life on turbo speed” this is my feeling! This is my new concept of professional life. Thank you OE

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