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  5. A millennial who made $170,000 secretly working two remote jobs says it helped him pay off about $50,000 in student loans

A millennial who made $170,000 secretly working two remote jobs says it helped him pay off about $50,000 in student loans

Jacob Zinkula   

A millennial who made $170,000 secretly working two remote jobs says it helped him pay off about $50,000 in student loans
  • A millennial wanted to boost his income to help pay down his student debt, which was over $100,000.
  • He began secretly working a second remote job and doubled his annual income.
In January 2023, Adam was making about $85,000 a year and had roughly $118,000 in student loan debt.

But, by the end of the year, he'd doubled his annual income to over $170,000, according to documents viewed by Business Insider. This made it possible for him to reduce his loan balance by over $50,000 — he has about $65,000 left in student debt as of March, he told BI via email.

What changed for Adam? He started "double dipping."

In 2022, Adam, who is in his early 40s and based in Arizona, was working remotely as a full-time security risk professional. To supplement his income and pay down debt, he said he drove for food delivery services like DoorDash.

But midway through the year, Adam said it became clear to him that gig driving was less profitable than it used to be — so he began to consider other sources of income. That December, he stumbled upon a YouTube video that provided him with the idea he'd been looking for: He could try to secretly juggle multiple remote jobs simultaneously.

"I immediately knew that I could do this," said Adam, whose identity is known to BI but has been withheld because of his fear of professional repercussions.

When he began looking for a second remote role, his two main goals were to double his income and, by doing so, pay off his student loans within two years. By February 2023, he'd started a second full-time remote gig that paid $55 an hour.

Adam said he's on track to make about $200,000 this year across the two jobs. As for his student debt, his repayment goal is right on schedule.

"I'm expecting to have all my student loans paid off before Christmas," he said.

Adam is among a niche group of "overemployed" Americans secretly working multiple jobs. Many are boasting six-figure incomes and clinging to to fully-remote roles that have become very competitive in recent years. These people have used their extra earnings to pay off debt, plan for early retirement, take lavish vacations, and afford weight-loss drugs. While some employers may be OK with their workers taking on another role, being caught doing so without approval could be a fireable offense.

The Arizona millennial is also among millions of Americans with student loan debt. The average American consumer with student loans had a debt balance of roughly $39,000 as of the third quarter of last year, per Experian data.

How to succeed as an overemployed worker

Adam said that roughly 70% of his student loan debt was related to his undergraduate education. The rest came from graduate school — which he started right after undergrad and didn't ultimately finish.

"I don't necessarily regret taking out the debt because it did help open more opportunities," he said. "I do regret being reckless and having poor money management skills."

When Adam began searching for a second remote job, he said he got lucky.

"A recruiter contacted me on LinkedIn about a role that I seemed qualified for based on my profile," he said. "Within two weeks, I applied, had two interviews, and was offered the position."

In addition to paying down his student loans, Adam said overemployment has made it possible for him to max out his 401(k), boost his credit score to nearly 800, have a four-month emergency savings fund, and even help out a few friends financially.

Adam said he typically works between 30 and 60 hours a week across the two jobs and that his workload feels sustainable. He has several tips for overemployed workers, including that they should align their work calendars.

"If you have regular meetings at one job, make sure to block out those times in the other calendar and vice versa," he said.

Don't take on too much work — and don't get it done too quickly, he added.

"Spread your work out and find a balance between being efficient and quick," he said. "Don't try to always be the hero and take on more work all the time."

Adam said he's never come close to having his job-juggling exposed because his bosses trust he will get his work done on time and ask for help if it's needed.

Lastly, he said overemployed workers should use their sick days if they start feeling overwhelmed.

"You can use your sick time for many reasons — didn't get enough rest, mental health day, doctor's appointment, etc.," he said. "You don't need to justify to anyone why you are using your sick days."

Going forward, Adam said he plans to keep both jobs at least until he pays off all his student loans and his net worth reaches $100,000. He said he'd consider taking a third job if it was part-time, but that he's not actively searching for one.

In part, that's because he's spending any extra time he has pursuing additional cybersecurity certifications, which he said are much more affordable than undergrad and grad school.

While some companies have called employees back to the office at least a few days a week, Adam said he's not concerned about his employers doing this.

"Both have mentioned that fewer people come into the office now and production is better, so I don't see that changing anytime soon," he said. "If that status changes, I would be in a bind."

Are you working multiple remote jobs at the same time and willing to provide details about your pay and schedule? If so, reach out to this reporter at jzinkula@businessinsider.com.

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