Many people will moonlight over the holidays, often causing family stress


MUNCIE, Ind. – People around the nation will moonlight a second job during the upcoming holiday season.

But, a 2018 Ball State study found that moonlighting may lead to family conflict – possibly due to the number of hours spent outside the home.

Ball State’s Brian Webster, a management professor, led a multi-university research group to examine the long-held notion that moonlighters are more likely to be tired and devoid of energy. The study, “Is Holding Two Jobs Too Much? An Examination of Dual Job Holders,” recently was published in Springer’s Journal of Business and Psychology.

Webster said little research has been done on the issue of job performance by moonlighters despite that some 7.2 million Americans were classified as dual jobholders in 2016 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A dual jobholder is defined as a person who works for and receives income from two organizations or who works for and receives income from one organization and is self-employed in another job.

Researchers found that dual jobholders do not report lower levels of work engagement at the second job compared to the primary job while the difference between primary job work engagement and second job work engagement was not statistically significant.

“In general, it appears that dual jobholders are able to perform as adequately as their single jobholding counterparts,” Webster said. “However, dual jobholders reported higher levels of work-family conflict as compared to single job employees.”

Webster said maintaining a work-life balance may be difficult for some people working two jobs, leading to family conflicts.

Dual jobholders work an average of 46.8 hours per week as compared to the average American employee who works 38.6 hours per week. More than 50 percent of men engage in dual jobholding at some point in their lives, and men and women currently participate in dual jobholding at equal rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Webster thinks the study is one of the first to provide a scientific examination of the popular notion that holding two jobs is detrimental to individuals and organizations and said this research provides evidence organizations may not need to enact policies to prevent individuals from undertaking a second job.

“However, given the negative personal effects of holding two jobs – such as higher work-family conflict – organizations may be inclined to enact policies that help dual jobholders strike a healthy balance between work life and home life,” Webster said.

In particular, organizations employing a high rate of dual jobholders may want to develop such policies “and encourage managers to engage in an open dialog regarding the benefits and consequences of holding two jobs.”