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Is Holding Two Jobs Too Much? An Examination of Dual Jobholders

Abstract

We extend research related to alternative forms of employment by examining the phenomenon of dual jobholding. Approximately 7.2 million Americans are classified as a dual jobholder. Although understudied, dual jobholding is a prevalent and important work arrangement. Drawing from partial inclusion theory, we examine the popular press sentiment that organizations should prevent employees from holding two jobs as these “moonlighters” are likely to be tired and devoid of energy. In study 1, we compared the level of work engagement dual jobholders exhibit at their primary job to the level of work engagement they exhibit at their second job. In a second study, across a sample of teachers and bartenders, we compared those who hold only one job (i.e., single jobholders) to those who hold two jobs (i.e., dual jobholders) on important work behaviors and attitudes. Results suggest dual jobholders do not hurt their organizations in the form of lower work engagement, OCB, and job performance. However, dual jobholders may be hurting themselves due to high levels of work-family conflict. In general, it appears that dual jobholders are able to perform as adequately as their single jobholding counterparts. However, dual jobholders may face obstacles that single jobholders do not, in the form of high levels of work-family conflict. Because previous research typically assumes that individuals hold only one job, and because dual jobholding is a prevalent employment arrangement, the present study sheds light on a novel and important topic for research and practice.

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Correspondence to Brian D. Webster.

Appendix

Appendix

Motives for holding a second job

  1. 1.

    To meet regular household expenses

  2. 2.

    To pay off debts

  3. 3.

    To get experience for the future

  4. 4.

    Enjoy work on the second job

  5. 5.

    To save for the future

  6. 6.

    To help out a friend or relative

  7. 7.

    To get extra money to buy something special

Note. Measure derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; Martel (2000). Items 1, 2, 5, and 7 capture financial motives (i.e., finances scale) for holding a second job and items 3, 4, and 6 capture non-pecuniary reasons for holding a second job (i.e., non-finances scale).

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Webster, B.D., Edwards, B.D. & Smith, M.B. Is Holding Two Jobs Too Much? An Examination of Dual Jobholders. J Bus Psychol 34, 271–285 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-018-9540-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-018-9540-2

Keywords

  • Dual jobholders
  • Alternative work arrangements
  • Careers
  • Partial inclusion theory
  • Work attitudes