You know the scenario all too well: you sit by the phone for days, maybe even weeks, waiting for a phone call asking if you’re available to work. Everytime an unknown phone number appears you get excited, only to be deflated by the realization it’s just Aunt Edna with a new cell phone.
Then, like water bursting from a dam, the calls flood in all at once. You fill up your next couple of weeks, hurriedly penciling in gigs without thought, blinded by the excitement of work.
And then, whether by choice or by accident, you end up with “the double dip” — a stretch of work where you’re doing two different jobs on the same days.
What is the Double Dip?
Are you a Seinfeld fan? There’s one episode where George Costanza, Jerry’s neurotic friend, argues with a man at a funeral reception about double dipping his tortilla chip. Upon dipping his chip in the salsa, George takes a bite, then dips it in again. The man gets furious and normal Seinfeld shenanigans ensue.
That’s a double dip. But, in your case, it won’t be with tortilla chips. Nonetheless, the concept is what matters (and I wanted to fit a Seinfeld reference into the post).
Like George, when you double dip it means you are going to take a job (dip the chip), get paid for it (take a bite), then go back for more — all in the same day — to max out your fiscal, mental, and emotional meters.
Different from wearing two hats on the same gig, double dipping is with two unrelated jobs in the same period of time.
Whether from fear of an unwanted vacation (“unemployment” as non-freelancers call it) or driven by the inability to turn down the perfect job, the double dip is irresistible because it promises more work and more pay.
It doesn’t, however, come without its consequences.
Cost of the Double Dip
By far the most real and noticeable effect of the double dip is sleep deprivation. With film productions already begging you to stay on set for long hours, adding another job on top of a current one is a recipe for Zombiefication.
It won’t be long before you start feeling groggy, mentally “not there,” and just want to lay down somewhere — anywhere! — and pass out.
2. Free time
Time spent doing whatever you want is a rare commodity when you’re working one job. There are days where I barely have time to come home and do laundry before I have to head to bed and wake up the next morning.
With the double dip, you’re effectively taking that free time and turning it into extra working time. So, at the end of the day, you come home and find you can’t spend a few hours playing your XBOX 360.
3. Quality of Work
Some people are inhuman. They can work through nights, through weekends, through days without sleep and never feel it one bit.
Most people are not inhuman. In fact, most people are humans — it’s a scientific fact.
When humans get tired, they tend to deprioritize all the extraneous things going on in their life. That’s because your brain is more concerned about the biological needs of your body than the fact you have a job to get done.
After awhile, double dipping becomes a huge drag. There’s no other way to put it. You simply want to pack up your things, go home, and hibernate like a Grizzly.
Everybody has their breaking point and, if you double dip long enough, I guarantee you’ll find yours. It may be hilarious, it may be sad, it may be dangerous, who knows.
But I do know that to keep up what most perceive as a normal emotional and mental state, you need rest and free time, both which the double dip steals from you.
A Chip Full of Salsa
You dip the way you wanna dip. I’ll dip the way I wanna dip. – George Costanza
This topic has been on my mind for the past few days. Part of that is because I had McDonald’s McNuggets last night, but most of it is because I’ve been double dipping all week.
And let me tell you: It’s been brutal.
I’ve never really done it before, at least to this degree, but I understand why people stay away from it.
With that said, like George, dip however you want to dip. If you want to dip once, twice, three times, fine, just make sure you’re able to stay on top of your job and complete the tasks you were hired for in the first place. The last thing you want to do is take a job and lose some of your reputation because you weren’t able to keep up with it.
Dip too many times and you’ll find there’s only so much salsa you can fit on one chip.