A 'calling' as a second job diverts engagement from the first job
When an employee views a second job as a calling, they are often less engaged in the primary employer, says a new study from Ball State University.
"Does holding a second job viewed as a calling impact one's work at the primary job?" analyzed data from 227 people who worked more than one job. The study was recently published online by the Journal of Vocational Behavior.
The researchers define a "calling" as a consuming, meaningful passion people experience, said Brian Webster, a Ball State management professor in the Miller College of Business. He conducted the study with Bryan D. Edwards, a management professor at Oklahoma State University
"Individuals face unique challenges and make sacrifices when pursuing a calling likely because callings comprise work that is greatly important to individuals' values, lives, and sense of identity," he said. "Callings command significant personal attention and resources of the individual. Likewise, dual jobholding requires significant personal attention and resources from individuals in the form of learning and switching job tasks, working longer hours, and balancing schedules between two jobs and family life.
"Simply, the calling someone has found in a second job pulls not only from a person's personal life, but often reduces resources for the primary job. It can wear people out."
Examples of primary job titles include computer technician, engineer, and teacher. Examples of second job titles include cashier, firefighter, and salesperson.
"We should point out that our results do not necessarily suggest the levels of work engagement exhibited at the primary job are inadequate," he said. "Although we found work engagement at the primary job does decrease in the event the dual jobholder perceives the second job drains resources available for the primary job, it may be that the dual jobholder still exhibits acceptable levels of work engagement at the primary job."
The findings from the study add to a slim body of literature about people working two jobs, even though it is widespread, he said. The new study sheds light on an important and understudied topic for research and practice alike.