This story originally appeared on Business Insider.
Less than a year into his first full-time job out of school, Jason, a 22-year-old software engineer based on the West Coast, decided he wanted to earn some extra money to supplement his $75,000 salary.
Jason’s position was fully remote, and he told Insider he was able to get all his work done in only 10 to 15 hours per week — so he figured he had the time to do something else.
He thought about trying out a side hustle like growing microgreens, taking odd jobs posted on Craigslist, or doing freelance programming work, but said he ultimately decided to look for a second full-time or part-time job.
In November of 2021, he started a second full-time remote software engineering role. Today, he said he typically works 20 to 30 hours a week total across the two jobs and earned a combined $144,000 last year, according to documents viewed by Insider.
And he hasn’t told either employer he’s double-dipping. Jason’s real name is known to Insider but has been excluded to avoid any professional repercussions.
“I wanted to increase my income,” he said. “I felt my workload at my first job was low enough, and I knew that if I couldn’t handle it then I could simply quit one of the jobs.”
While juggling two roles can be stressful at times — like when he has overlapping meetings or receives unexpected work — Jason said that in some ways, his working arrangement reduces his stress.
“I’m more willing to say ‘No’ to tasks at one of my jobs since I know I have a backup job,” he said.
Jason is one of many Americans who have taken on additional work in part due to high inflation, but he’s among a smaller group of white-collar workers secretly holding multiple full-time remote jobs to, in many cases, double their salaries.
But the window to pull this off may be closing, as many companies are calling employees back to the office and listing fewer fully remote positions. As of March, roughly 13% of job postings were remote, according to the staffing firm Manpower Group, down from 17% in March 2022 but up from the pre-pandemic level of 4%.
And as knowledge of this phenomenon grows, some members of the overemployment community are worried they’ll eventually be found out. While holding two jobs at once doesn’t violate federal or state laws, it could breach employment contracts and get people fired, employment lawyers told The Wall Street Journal. It’s already happened to some workers.
The desk in his apartment where Jason usually works. Jason via BI
5 strategies to work two remote jobs and get away with it
Jason said he uses five different strategies to juggle both jobs and not get caught.
First, he said he tries to overestimate how long his tasks will take to give himself more time to manage the workload from both jobs.
“If I finish a task, I will hold on to it for a while before I submit it for review,” he said.
Second, he said he makes sure he doesn’t overperform at his jobs and attract extra attention and assignments.
“Whenever possible, I try to seem somewhat incompetent so that my coworkers are more understanding when I take a while to finish a task and so they don’t give me lots of difficult tasks,” he said.
Third, Jason said he dedicates less time to some work when he can get away with it.
“There are certain tasks I have like reviewing other people’s work, so sometimes I will not properly review their work so that I have more time to work at my other job,” he said.
Fourth, he said he’s learned to turn down projects.
“Whenever I get asked to take on more work, I will sometimes say ‘No’ since I already have work on my plate,” he said.
Fifth, he said he makes sure his colleagues are aware when the completion of his tasks is being held up by others.
“Whenever this happens, I make sure to mention this to my coworkers and managers so that they expect the work to be delayed,” he said.
Why he’s not worried about an overemployment crackdown
Since taking on two full-time remote jobs, Jason said he has immersed himself in the “overemployed community” online — the r/Overemployed subreddit has 176,000 members.
He said many members of the community are concerned about overemployment becoming too widespread or receiving too much press, because then employers might work to identify and crack down on these employees.
But Jason said he’s never been particularly concerned about this.
“I didn’t think enough people would be able to manage overemployment either because of their career, specific job, stress tolerance, desire to work more, etc and I still think that’s true,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think most employers would care enough to crack down on it — particularly if their employees are getting their work done.
Going forward, Jason said that he hopes to dedicate more of his time to a new business he started last December, though it’s still in the early stages.
In the meantime, he said he plans to continues to keep working at both jobs, and that the extra income has helped him have the financial security and life he desires. He said he’s pretty frugal — he doesn’t own a car, rarely goes out to eat, and lives in a one-bedroom apartment that costs $1,200 a month.
“For me, my current lifestyle feels like I’ve made it because I pretty much have everything I want,” he said.
This story originally appeared on Entrepreneur