It’s Labor Day weekend and for some, the pressure of having one job can be stressful enough.
Roughly 57% – among the highest in the world – of U.S. and Canadian workers responded that they experienced daily stress in the workplace, up 8% from the previous year and 14% higher than the global average, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Now imagine those stress levels if everyone had to work two full-time jobs.
That is what some are realizing now, as work from home approaches the 18-month mark and some are trying what was once thought to be an impossible task: working two full-time jobs.
The phenomenon, which began shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, has some ambitious employees working remote at two different companies, with neither side knowing the truth.
One of those workers actually says his stress levels have decreased since starting his second gig.
"My stress has actually gone down. Mental health is up, way up. I'm not stressed by layoffs or the thought that I can't make my next mortgage payment," said Isaac, the founder of Overemployed.com, a website that is dedicated to connecting professionals with likeminded individuals searching for a second job.
The website, which also gives tips such as "be average," "don’t talk about your second job" and "have an exit strategy," has taken off since a Wall Street Journal article highlighting the practice was recently published.
Isaac, who is only using his last name so he doesn't jeopardize his job status, says the income he has received from his dual jobs is the reason for his reduced stress.
"Now I've got a saved war chest of funds from a year of working two jobs and can afford to take even more risks on the jobs/career when negotiating pay and job offers," he told Fox News via email.
While the practice may be lucrative, it does not come without risks. The threat of being caught is omnipresent and some say working two jobs without the other's knowledge is unethical.
"There are no ethics involved. Let's [not] try to fool people with "ethics." Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, Intuit, eBay and others colluded to keep each other from poaching workers and driving up wages. How ethical or illegal is that?" he remarked.
"I don't get fooled into corporate double-speak about us being a "family." The workplace is a Hobbesian competition and survival of the fittest. It's brutal. So, those who are naturally non-conformists and contrarians can take the opposite tack," the Overemployed founder continued.
Overemployed is seeing lots of new members, with over 7,500 reaching out to join the community in recent weeks according to Isaac.
The interest coincides with a rise in inflation, as the Consumer Price Index rose 5.4% in July, matching June’s gain as the fastest since August 2008.
Additionally, a new survey from the Partnership for New York found that employers now predict only 41% of office workers will return before October – a sharp decrease from when that number was 62% in May.
In other words, it is the perfect storm.
"I think one of the things is that it's not necessarily happening in front line work because you have to physically be there. But in professional jobs where you can hide behind a screen, that's where these scenarios are becoming more common," said Laurie Ruettimann, author of "Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career."
Ruettimann agrees that inflation also plays a role here, saying this has been a long time coming.
"You know, before COVID, we heard a lot about the strain on the American worker and how wages weren't keeping up with the pace of inflation. Now that we have even stronger inflationary pressures, workers are getting smart. And so they're doing this for the paycheck. They're doing this for the money," said Ruettimann, who is also a leading consultant in the HR industry.
The U.S. jobs report released Friday morning saw a meager 235,000 jobs added in August – down from economists projections of over 725,000 – according to the Labor Department. Ruettimann believes that the well-documented labor shortage is playing a role in employers turning a blind eye from outing these employees with multiple jobs.
"Most organizations are feeling the strain of the talent shortage…corporations turn a blind eye to a lot of things when someone is a top producer," Ruettimann pointed out.
Because of this, she thinks a company finding out about the double life wouldn’t be an instant job termination.
"If an employee is working for one organization and they're found out to be working for another, [and] if it's not an ethical breach of violations, [if] there's no security risk, I think an HR department or a manager would think twice about firing them on the spot," said the author and podcast host.