Times are tough, and many Americans have taken on second jobs to make ends meet. A recent survey by Bankrate.com found that nearly 37 percent of American workers have taken on a second job, or a “side hustle,” to pay their bills. Of those who are working two jobs, 38 percent of them report that they are using the extra money to cover ordinary living expenses.
Some of the caregivers in the Right at Home Central Texas office fall into that 37 percent of people who have taken on second jobs. The second jobs these caregivers have taken all involve personal interactions, like their primary jobs.
Small Business Owner
Doris Burkley has been doing people’s hair since she graduated from high school in 1978. In 1981, she opened Dee Dee’s Beauty Salon in Waco, Texas, and sees 15 to 20 customers per day.
“I love fixing people’s hair,” she says. “I’m pretty good at it, and I love getting to know all of my customers while I work.”
But in 2010, Burkley’s sister, who suffers from dementia, needed to be cared for on a regular basis, and Burkley answered the call. Because she ran her own business, Burkley had the flexibility to take on as much, or as little, work as she needed to help care for her sister. Recognizing that caregiving came naturally to her, Burkley decided to try doing it professionally to supplement her income. She started working night shifts for Right at Home in 2015 and never looked back.
“I’ve learned that as a hairdresser or a caregiver, heart is the key to success,” Burkley says. “If you’re kind, honest, and apply your heart skills to whatever you do, you’ll do it better.”
Provider Supporter Aide
Simona Martinez is a single mom with three kids and two jobs. She’s been working as a professional caregiver for nearly 16 years, the last four of which have been with Right at Home. As a certified nursing assistant, Martinez is able to enjoy face-to-face interactions with her clients.
While working at a nursing home nearly a decade ago, Martinez befriended a podiatrist who would visit to help Martinez’s elderly patients. The podiatrist needed some extra help and suggested that Martinez become their provider supporter aide.
“I do a little bit of everything for the podiatrist,” says Martinez. “We travel to different nursing homes all over Texas. I help set up each patient and chat with them while they wait for the podiatrist, and I handle all the billing for the practice.”
Martinez works with the podiatrist during the week and works as a caregiver for Right at Home on the weekends to supplement her income.
“I really enjoy working with the elderly in both jobs,” she says. “I love seeing their faces light up with happiness over something I’ve done for them. It’s really quite rewarding.”
Sherry Harris was a young, single mom who was working at KFC to make ends meet when her hours suddenly were cut. She knew it was the opening she needed to change her life; Harris saw an ad in the paper for a certified nursing assistant program and signed up immediately. She had been in the program for just two weeks when she was offered a job at a nursing home.
“After three years on the job, I felt like I needed a new challenge and decided to explore moving into hospice care,” says Harris. “That was over 15 years ago, and it was the best career move I ever made.”
Although Harris acknowledges that there is a heavy emotional component attached to hospice care, she finds it to be a true honor to be there for people at the end of their lives.
“I love making people happy in their last days,” she says. “Being compassionate, listening to their stories and making them as comfortable as possible—it means a lot to them. Most people have no one with them at the end.”
Nearly four years ago, Harris wanted to supplement her income to help her work toward a dream of becoming a registered nurse. She took a job working as a caregiver with Right at Home and started taking classes for her degree this past fall. Between caring for her children, working in hospice during the week, taking classes at night and working as a caregiver on the weekends, one might begin to think that stress would overwhelm Harris’ life, but it appears to have had the opposite effect.
“I really love caring for people, and it doesn’t even feel like I’m working!” says Harris. “Besides, being a caregiver gives you real perspective on life because you realize that you could always be in that position. Life can change at the drop of a hat.”