As this is the first chapter of the book, let us start on the right foot. Let us start with something completely irrelevant and slightly scandalous.
Here’s one of the definitions of the word ‘moonlighting’ as defined at UrbanDictionary.com:
Picking up while already pinned.
e.g. Lady sleeps with man in a hotel, he falls asleep, she comes downstairs and picks up another (this is the part referred to as Moon lighting), sleeps with him and then goes back to the original.
For better or for worse, we do not delve into more details about this kind of ‘moonlighting’ in the remainder of this book. Instead, we will deal with the other definition of moonlighting (this time, from Dictionary.com):
to work at an additional job after one’s regular, full-time employment, as at night.
OK, so the cat is out of the bag. This book DOES NOT deal with encounters of the adulterous kind. So now you must be wondering why I decided to call this book “Extra-Marital Careers”? Read on to find out.
What is an Extra-Marital Career?
Ever heard the phrase “married to your job”? This phrase is typically associated with someone who works too much and has trouble maintaining a decent work-life balance.
Now, let us get rid of the negative connotation and assume that someone can also be “happily married” to their job. By “happily married”, I mean that the person is adequately happy with his/her work, has no intentions of quitting his/her job, and also sees sufficiently bright future prospects.
Given all the positives, the person in context should be completely satisfied by this state of occupational bliss, right?
WRONG. There are many of us who yearn to do something outside our conventional 9-to-5 job. Some of us aspire to write a novel, some want to put brush to easel to create the masterpiece of their dreams, some want to grow as a photographer, while some want to be known for their ability to do standup comedy.
In all these examples, there is one common thread — in order to pursue such ambitions, one must step out of the confines of the employer-employee ‘marriage’, and work on these personal interests on the side. This is what is commonly termed as “moonlighting”. Now, if you want to be cheeky (and I obviously want to), you might also call this your “extra-marital career”.
Why remain “Married”?
So now you know what an extra-marital career is. It is the pursuit of an unconventional career outside your regular 9-to-5 job, or simply put, ‘moonlighting’. In this book, I will lay out steps for you to start on the moonlighting journey. But before we get into the details, let us pause for a moment. If we have such a burning ambition to pursue something unconventional, why not pursue that full-time? Why not divorce the 9-to-5 job and dive right into the unconventional career of your choice?
Let me answer this question with a note — if you are able to pursue your unconventional career full-time, that is awesome. Power to you for your awesomeness. Put down this book, and continue with your awesomeness.
However, for many of us, the reality is a little different. There are solid reasons why we get into, and remain “married” to our conventional careers . Among other things — it gives you job security, it helps pay the bills, pays for medical insurance, gets the parents and family off your back (you couldn’t be too creative if your Mom and Dad were constantly worried for your future, could you?)… the list of perks goes on.
On top of all these material and social benefits, one might also actually like his/her 9-to-5 job. Challenging projects, discussions or general hanging out with colleagues, under pressure team-work to meet deadlines — these are some of the emotional benefits that might not be easily available in a purely unconventional pursuit.
As you can see, one may have ample reason to remain “married” to their day job. And yet, the itch to do something outside of 9-to-5 may persist over time. In such a case, one must pursue their unconventional interests while being committed to their regular job (in effect, creating an “extra-marital” career).
How to start?
At the time you begin to hear your inner voice of pursuing an unconventional ambition, you may already be super-busy with the demands that your life places on you. There are car or house loans to pay, kids to take care of, degrees to pursue, and a 9-to-5 job that you must do…
If any of you nodded yes to any of the above conditions (kids, college, loans, work etc.), you will also agree that it is difficult to give time to your unconventional ambitions. And yet, there are many people who were able to pull off the miracle of a dual-career, juggling a conventional job and an unconventional pursuit at the same time.
As you will see later in the book, there are changes in your lifestyle and in your way of thinking that help you chart these choppy waters.
But before we go to the more practical aspects, let us first start on the unconventional process (however shitty our start might be).