Juggling Jobs: Keeping Sane Under Stress

So, if you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that the reason I started this blog was to ramble about my current situation of having three different jobs at the same time. The reason for this is because one of my ‘jobs’ is an unpaid internship at a design agency as part of my degree. Therefore, I have had to keep on my Sunday job of over 5 years at Specsavers, and take on an evening job as a waitress so that I could actually afford to have a life!

Technically, I also took on a fourth job, doing freelance design work for various clients over the past few months. I managed to save up just enough money to hand in my notice at my waitressing job, which I was relieved about. They asked me if I wanted to stay on just one night a week (I had already cut down from 5, to 4, to 3) for a bit of extra cash, and I agreed for the moment. Although the people there are lovely most of the time, and I actually don’t mind most aspects of the job (and the tips are pretty great), it has been making me so down and I could feel myself getting pretty depressed about my situation. I hate having to stay late some nights, so that when I get home George is already in bed and I have to sit by myself until I feel tired enough to go to sleep. I don’t mind having time on my own, but this was different, because if I’d had a busy night at work I just couldn’t wind down without talking to someone. I then go to bed and lay awake for ages with anything and everything going around my mind like a carousel of thoughts.

My issue is that I have been a student all of my life so far, so even in the holidays when I have worked extra hours at Specsavers, I have never had a full-time 9 to 5 job. I started my placement at the end of August, and started a cleaning job in the evenings the same day. I HATED this- I thought cleaning would be easy, but it is so mind-numblingly mundane that I couldn’t bring myself to stay, so I applied for several waitressing positions and secured my current job. I was excited about the prospect of earning more money in a more varied job, but it is also a much more full-on job than cleaning. If it’s busy, you’re running round like a headless chicken, sweating buckets (TMI?) and forgetting your own name. This does not make for a relaxing evening once you arrive home. It takes over your life if you don’t get a break from work, and this is exactly what I have been dealing with.

Over the past few months, there have been days where I didn’t want to get out of bed, or if I had work on a Saturday evening (the only daytime I don’t work) I would just want to curl into a ball and hide, rather than go into work. Once I was there, I was fine as long as the people working were in the right mood and cheered me up with the usual banter, but it was the thought of working that was so difficult. Now that I have cut down to just one day a week, I am hoping that this will make it much easier to cope. I just found out whilst writing this (my boss summoned me to his office) that I will now earn a small, but definitely appreciated, salary of £100 a month from my placement, whilst continuing to pay £50 for travel! This may seem like pennies compared to a usual full-time job, but every little helps and his appreciation for the work I’ve done warrants more, which he is unfortunately unable to give at the moment. Times are tough for many businesses at the moment, and I get it, so I am thoroughly appreciative of anything they can spare as it really gives me a little boost.

This actually illustrates what I wanted to say pretty well. Essentially, there is no key secret to success when you’re working at three different jobs under the uncertainty as to whether one of them is going to ever pay you enough to cut down. I have just had to coast along, doing the best I can, making goals for saving my leftover wages and freelance earnings so that the day I could quit was always in sight. At times, I was confident they would start paying me, but recently I had lost all hope and consigned myself to a budget based on what I knew for certain I would have in the bank. Now, there’s a little bit of wiggle room and I could not be happier for that! This is considering I have just booked my first ever trip to Amsterdam with George and our group of friends in June for his birthday (he was there for his birthday last year on a stag do and I wasn’t letting him go without taking me with him this time!), as well as having holidays planned for July to Wales with George and my parents in a beautiful riverside cottage, and a last-minute escape to somewhere sunny before I go back to uni in September!

So, back to the topic at hand. I think the tips below could apply to anyone who is really busy. Whether this be at school juggling exams, revision, coursework and a part-time job (been there, done that), or at university juggling all of your work, plus dealing with the issues that come with living away from home, maintaining your new social life, and maybe even a part-time job on top of all this. I have been in all of these situations, and it sucks. You just have to try to remain positive, and follow the tips below:

My tips for keeping sane and relatively organised when juggling jobs/work

1. Don’t feel pressured

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When you’re working all the time, your friends and family will understand if you don’t want to hang out during your limited free time. Your time is yours, and if they care about you, they’ll appreciate that. By all means don’t completely hermitise yourself (I know that’s not a real word!), but if you feel you need time to relax- do it!

2. Buy a diary/organiser

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If you’re working multiple jobs, you’d have to have the memory of an elephant to remember all the days and different times you have work. Buy a pretty diary or organiser, whichever you prefer, and it will keep your schedule out of your head and on paper so you’re always on the ball. Also, it gives you a pick-me-up choosing from all the beautiful stationery out there!

3. Keep healthy and hydrated

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There’s nothing worse than feeling totally run-down and exhausted when you have to go to two jobs in one day. All you want to do is stay in bed and eat junk food, but you have to haul yourself up and into the world of the living. To make this slightly easier, make sure you keep drinking water/tea during the day, and try and make your meals and snacks as balanced as possible. There’s nothing wrong with a sneaky chocolate bar or cookie every now and then, but your body will thank you for not filling it up with rubbish and give you more energy to carry on going! I take these effervescent vitamin tablets every morning, and because they’re a drink it gives you more hydration for the day.

4. Don’t lose yourself

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It may be difficult to stay optimistic, especially if you’re not in a position where you can see an end goal. However, if you go into work with a miserable attitude then people will notice and steer clear, whereas if you put a brave face on and keep your personality people will react positively and this might help to take your mind off it. I have definitely found this- as much as I sometimes want to be miserable when I go in to work on an evening, the guys and their banter soon put a smile back on my face, which isn’t hard! I’m a naturally smiley person, but even if you’re not then just stay true to your own personality, which will help you to keep some normality and maybe even make friends of your work colleagues.

5. Try to set an end goal

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Everyone has different situations, so this might not always apply, but I think it’s important that if you’re in a situation you don’t want to be in, you set yourself some kind of goal for getting into a happy place again. This might be saving just a small amount each month until you can pay yourself the wage you would have earned from one of your jobs, which is what I did. Likelihood is, if you’re working multiple jobs they don’t all pay highly, so saving up the money to match your earnings may be easier than you think. Even if your goal is just saving up for some retail therapy at the end of each month, whatever cheers you up is worth it!

Blogging has been a great outlet for taking my mind off of things, but now life is taking a positive turn I have been able to devote more time to it and am looking forward to watching it grow now!

Have you ever been in a similar situation to me? Do you have any coping mechanisms for stress? Did you reach your end goal?

  • Great tips. The entire time I studied full time at University I worked 28-30 hours a week! It was soooo tough, especially as it feels its never ending!

    I had to give up on a social life, but trust me the work has paid off. I landed my dream job at Ford as an Engineering Project Analyst. I’ve finally got my weekends and evenings back, I feel sane again!

    The hard work definitely pays off!

    Love this post!
    xx

    • Thank you Harriet! It is so hard, isn’t it? I try not to moan in real life, but definitely needed to vent about the struggle somewhere :)

      I tell myself that it can’t be that bad because loads of other people do it, but in reality there are a lot of people who aren’t self-reliant and will just go to their parents for money. I feel proud I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now, and I’m sure you do too, congratulations on landing your dream job! Can’t wait to get out into the industry properly and hopefully this experience will help me to get my dream job in the end too :)

      xx

  • I totally feel your pain – I had 3 jobs too while I was studying for my degree. From the ages of 14-21 I always worked weekends, so when I graduated and got a full time job that paid me a salary I felt like I had so much free time! Even now 3 and a half years on I always feel grateful when I get the Friday feeling…

    It sounds like you are managing so well and it will definitely all be worth it in the end!!!

    Sophie x
    sophiecliff.wordpress.com

    • Thanks Sophie! It’s good to see that other people have been through the same thing :)

      I really can’t wait to get a PAID full-time job when I graduate- it’ll be so worth it then!

      Thank you that really means a lot, it’s definitely getting better and I’m so looking forward to having more free time again :) x

  • Really great tips!

    Renee
    http://www.losetheroad.blogspot.ca

  • Emma

    How do you find time to be a blogger as well!!! You certainly are a hard worker!

    • Even though it can be stressful juggling a blog with all the other things, at the end of the day it’s a hobby so I try not to let it get on top of me and just enjoy doing it in my spare time :) I am a sucker for work- I can never just relax even if I want to! x