“A practical profession is a salvation for a man of my type.” –Albert Einstein.
Over the last few years, moonlighting has been the buzzword for the working class, pursuing a separate job away from their main source of income, which they refer to as their day job.
Financial equilibrium is usually the main motivation for moonlighting, where cash-strapped professionals take up secondary jobs in an effort to stay afloat, while others go for side gigs to put into practice skills that may be unutilised or underutilised in their current job.
Playing the same role for long can also be quite mind-numbing. Moonlighting, therefore, helps to reignite cheer and provide new challenges that keep professionals on their toes.
There are others that moonlight as a way of making use of their surplus time. Yet others engage in side hustles hoping to establish fresh professional and social networks.
At a time when job security is almost not guaranteed, carving out something else away from your main job serves as a contingency plan just in case the axe falls on you.
Pursuing a side hustle does not mean you are indifferent about your day job. Nor does it suggest detachment. It means you are bold enough to stretch yourself to attain career growth or personal fulfilment.
To run a successful side hustle that does not compromise your performance in your main job is a delicate balance that demands thorough planning, alertness and sacrifice. Dennis Nishi, a long time contributing writer to the Wall Street Journal, and who is also a digital producer, offers important tips that will guide you as you set wheels of your dream in motion.
Maximise your spare time: Essentially, you want to moonlight because you have spare time, or because you can comfortably sneak in a few hours in your compact schedule to pursue side interests. Don’t fritter your free time away, instead, do something that brings you closer to your dream.
Needless to say, it’s unethical to spend your employer’s time on your side job. If you must hustle while at work, make the most of your tea or lunch break to attend to your personal interests.
Off-days, weekends or your vacation is the ideal time to hustle. If you are however constantly struggling to meet deadlines at work, moonlighting is not a path you should pursue just yet.
Moonlighting is not an excuse for poor performance at work:
Ultimately, your day job is more important than your other interests; it pays your bills after all. Whatever you do, endeavour to post the best possible results in your job. Seize your day job as the launchpad for greater exploits in future. Before his illustrious career as a scientist, Albert Einstein first worked as a clerk at a patent’s office in Zurich, Switzerland, a job he considered awfully underwhelming. He, however, stayed put, carrying out his scientific research during his spare time. Einstein later became one of the world’s most esteemed scientists.
Keep your side hustle to yourself:
While it’s not practical to run a side job without your colleagues getting wind of it, it does more harm than good if your other pursuit becomes the subject on everyone’s lips. Once your boss discovers about it, he will be keener to monitor you, and the slightest lapse in attention from work will likely attract sterner action than before. Besides, you make yourself an easy target for sacking in case of future plans to downsize. Rid your hustle of any unnecessary attention.
Separate personal items from your employer’s property:
If you conduct your business from your employer’s premises, which is nearly always the case, there’s the temptation to use the office telephone, mail system, printer or computer. Any work done within the employer’s premises using the employer’s resources, including intellectual work, is legally theirs. Exploiting your employer’s resources to advance your personal interests can attract legal action, or a sack, whichever may come first. Strictly demarcate between your property and your employer’s to avoid getting into trouble.
Go for an unrelated area:
Moonlighting often creates a vicious conflict of interest, the reason most employers discourage it among their employees. Naturally, no employer will tolerate competition from someone on their payroll. If you are an insurer, perhaps you should go for the arts, such as drawing, painting or even modelling. Or a totally unrelated field. This way, you will steer clear of a possible clash with your employer.
Be patient: While you may have pressing financial needs, take one step at a time. Don’t go the whole hog and take several gigs yet you can hardly manage your current job. Start with one light hustle. Once you are able to juggle this with your job with ease, you might just be ready for another one.
First learn about your company policy on moonlighting: While some companies allow their staff to moonlight, others strictly prohibit it. Media companies, for instance, forbid their journalists from transacting with other media houses with who they are in direct competition. Knowing what your company policy says on side hustles might just help you to avoid pitfalls.
Create time to unwind: The essence of a side hustle is to improve your quality of life. If the side job hogs all your time, leaving none for rest and rejuvenation, it’s not worth pursuing. Moonlighting is a strenuous affair that is exerting, both mentally and physically, so be careful because nothing is as important as your health.