Jan 12, 2016

Are You Considering Taking Up 2 Jobs This New Year? Read This First Before You Decide


THERE is no escaping the fact that the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), rising living costs and high property prices among others alongside the global economic downturn which saw the value of our currency shrink dramatically has significantly eroded our purchasing power in recent years.

It is not an overstatement to say that the figures on our pay slips are good only for reference, as they no longer represent the actual amounts we can have at our own disposal, and this is a time when we will never earn enough to do more than just make ends meet.

Last month, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan suggested Malaysians take up two jobs each to counter the rising cost of living in our country, triggering a backlash from Malaysians.

In trying to defend his statement, Ahmad tweeted: “I have three jobs: Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister, UMNO information chief. There are already many in Malaysia who do #2Kerja. Working hard to find halal income.” The tweet only set him up for more criticisms from Malaysians who accused him of being out of touch with reality.

The deputy international trade and industry minister also pointed out that rural folk are used to working two jobs, saying that they farm in the morning and run a grocery shop in the evening, or tap rubber in the morning and farm in the evening, or cut grass in the morning and build houses in the evening.

“If you have a day job, you can run an online business at night and during weekends as long as your performance is not affected; it can increase income,” he later revised his earlier gaffe, clarifying that he meant only part-time work conducted after employment hours to supplement their income and changing the hashtag to #tambahpendapatan. 

His ill-thought out earlier call for Malaysians to get two jobs had employers worried and even the government which feared that their large civil service force might get the wrong idea and start neglecting their main job.

Was Ahmad Maslan simply shooting off the cuff without thinking about the consequences or did he actually highlight a pertinent issue, given the global trend towards people working multiple jobs?

Global career forums and employment portals are full of articles highlighting how young graduates in the world's foremost capitals like New York, London and Hong Kong are juggling multiple income streams as a norm.

"People take on extra roles for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they want more fulfilment in their lives. Maybe they want to start a new business, or go back to school," online career guide portal mindtools.com observed in recent article titled 'Doing more than one job'.

The article cites the benefits of working a second job beyond just making ends meet as a growing trend globally. Many take on part-time work to help pay off mortgages and student loans at a faster pace or even to save up for a holiday or year abroad. Some do it to gain experience towards their career goals or even as a form of added job security in these uncertain economic times.

Malaysian Digest spoke to relevant stakeholders and reached out to employees who have found ways to increase their income stream to find out how practical it is for average Malaysians to juggle multiple jobs.

Taking More Than One Job: Practicality vs Legality

Datuk Zainal Abidin Sakom is the Chairman of Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (YBK)Contacted last Friday, Chairman of Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (YBK), Datuk Zainal Abidin Sakom (pic) asserted that it has long been the norm among Malaysians to have more than one jobs and sees nothing wrong with the suggestion since it could help Malaysians to counter the rising of living cost, pointing out that the remarks made by the minister had been spun far by certain media outlets which was meant to be good and positive.

“In today’s digital world, I must say social-shaming has been ingrained in our society as people are too quick to judge. Very often, we tend to ‘intentionally’ make things that we don’t want to hear viral online. Social media is an easy way to do that in an immediate way,” said Zainal.

Acknowledging the rising of living cost in recent years, he remarked: “I don’t deny that the government has a share of accountability [to help ease the burden of the people], but it is not so bad for us to take up a second job. This is because it could help us to ease the sky-rocketing expenses. Over and above this, it could also possibly turn our hobby into a profitable exercise.”

“Holding down two jobs is not something uncommon. Take, the late wealthy businessman Tan Sri Datuk Seri Lim Goh Tong for example, he juggled between few jobs during his early days and worked as a vegetable farmer, hardware trading and developer before he became a billionaire,” Zainal noted.

“Hence, I don’t understand why some members of the public find it necessary to pick on his points. I regret the tendency of certain individuals and entities to deliberately misinterpret the statements made by the minister,” he added.

Holding a different view, former Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general, Abdul Halim Mansor (pic) asserted that it is not a practical idea to suggest Malaysians to take up a second job to counter the rising cost of living, saying that the government should play its role to come up with different approaches to tackle this issue.

“The government should own up to their incapability of not being able to help the members of the public ease their financial burden. It is inappropriate for them to and to take up a second job to solve the financial woe among them,” Abdul Halim told Malaysian Digest.

Abdul Halim, who is currently the Chairman of National Union of Petroleum and Chemical Industry Workers Peninsular Malaysia, further remarked that research had proven that having two jobs would also lead to negative impact in terms of health and productivity of the workers.

"They won't have quality time with their family as it is mentally and physically exhausting to have more than one full-time job. It's not that as easy as you think. It will eventually affect the overall productivity of the organisation they are employed with,” he added.

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