For most of us, our day job is our life. It take up all of our considerable time, and soaks up all of our attention whenever we are not at home. For the lucky ones out there, a day job can be everything that you ever wanted and more, with the mindset being “there just aren’t enough hours in the day!” as compared to “There are just way too many hours left in the day”.
For those lucky few who are right where they want to be in their careers: Congrats, you should enjoy it. For those who aren’t exactly where they want to be and are looking to do something about it, there is an option to shift the tides.
A side gig, or “Moonlighting” for those of us who enjoy making things dramatic, is when you work a day job but also have a side operation running at the same time of your fulltime employment. This side gig can be absolutely anything, from a brand new startup business to a simple blogging hobby that you work on at nights after work. It can even be as simple as working as a bartender on the weekends.
Moonlighting can be extremely helpful for individuals who are in need of a career jolt or just looking for a way to pick up some extra cash for that purchase you’ve been saving for. Below is an explanation as to why moonlighting isn’t such a terrible idea.
Keeps you focused and dialed in.
There is nothing like trying to meet a deadline to keep you focused and proactive. Having structure is what keeps things moving, and when that structure is enforced by rewards that are worth aiming for, personal discipline develops. Having a side gig can provide you with the kind of structure that often disappears when one is employed in one spot for a long period of time.
After becoming comfortable in a job and knowing what the bare minimums are and what you can get away with without really trying that hard is a part of becoming familiar. The spark dies away, and although you are considerably comfortable and “content” with your job, the luster and motivation to excel is gone.
Picking up a side gig can help reinvigorate that lost charisma and can shock you with the rush you once had when you were the new guy trying to prove yourself to the big guys upstairs. Having that renewed sense of excitement for a new job is necessary at times because it keeps you focused and forces you to be that much more dialed into what you are doing.
Allows you to get back out there and hustle again.
There are times when we take jobs that meet our needs, but not our wants. It happens all the time: you want to try for your dream job but there are no openings right now, but an opening for another unrelated position that pays has just been offered to you. You tell yourself that you will continue to try for your dream job but right now just isn’t the time. Several years go by in your non-dream job position and you are no closer to your dream job than when you first took that cushy paying job those years ago.
Getting stuck in that position happens all the time, but you can get yourself unstuck by working a side gig in the field that your dream job is in to start righting the ship –all while minimizing the financial risk by you being able to keep your paying day job while you chase your dream job.
That many more opportunities can be presented.
Along the same note as the above point, when you work your side gig, you are meeting and coming into contact with people in that specific field. Say you are working in IT in the daytime, but want to break into the screenwriting game and work to do so by night. In the day you are surrounded by IT professionals and are meeting more and more IT specialists every day—your circle of IT professionals is expanding by association. When you begin working in a new field and interacting with writing professionals, you are meeting that many more people that can eventually help you become a better writer or provide you with opportunities to possibly move your side gig into a full time day gig.
Picking up a side gig is great because instead of having just one social circle, you now have two, and like your mother always told you: two is better than one…or something like that.
Who doesn’t love more cash?
Depending on what kind of side gig you intend to Moonlight with, you will pick up a considerable amount of extra cash. You already are living off of your day job paychecks, so anything you make, big or small from your side gig earnings is pure gravy!
A little cash on the side never hurt, and if you are making a good amount of cash from your side gig, that is a sign that you are on the right track with this parallel work endeavor. People only pay when you are good at something, and if you are being payed a lot, then that’s saying something.
Before you decide that working a side gig and moonlighting is something that you are going to do, you should be warned that there are a good amount of employers that have a strict policy against it. Sometimes it is contractually listed that if you work for the company, your complete and unwavering loyalty is to them until you resign or are terminated. So check your day job employment contract first to see if moonlighting is an option for you, and if you checked it again and again but still don’t know, feel free to ask your supervisor or manager. The worst they can do is advise you against it.
Using your free time to advance your skills in whatever your interests are is a great way to keep you focused, provide extra cash, or to give your career a needed jolt to get back up and running again. It’ll be worth the investment of time you put into it in the long run.