Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

When I first heard this term many years ago, I had to Google it. A group of doctors were discussing some of the things they were doing or had done in addition to their primary job – for example, working per diem in other hospitals or co-running a home improvements company. Had I not heard this firsthand, I may have been a little skeptical about their claims. After all, they already had salaries many times larger than my own. Several also had young families – how would they even have time for additional jobs? I began to appreciate that it’s not always about the money (although that certainly can’t hurt).

Side gigs, hustles, additional employment, moonlighting, whatever you want to call it, can be useful ways to exercise latent talents, gain new skills or prestige, grow through challenges, or pivot into new roles and organizations. I was naive to think that everyone is happy doing exactly what they are doing now, and in that exact location or organization. It was also humbling and instructive to note that even doctors don’t always know what the next step in their career is and/or are looking for additional work that gives them more satisfaction or takes their mind off the stressors of their primary job.

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Just because professionals may have invested many years and many thousands of dollars into their training, doesn’t mean they have greater certainty regarding their eventual career path. Sometimes the opposite may be the case. After spending a fortune only to realize this is not their passion, instead of cutting their losses they may look at the mountain of sunk costs and decide that the only viable option is to continue investing their time and money down the same road. (When I teach Financial Freedom classes, I strongly recommend against this particular investing strategy.) Others may discover when they are finally qualified and on the career ladder that the ladder was not of their choosing (perhaps it was influenced by parental or societal expectations) and they have little interest in climbing further up this particular ladder.

As an aside, I am always impressed by my meetings with alumni in law, accounting, medicine and a host of professions who are making a career change. I often advise our “undecided” undergraduates, who perceive everyone around them to have absolute certainty around their career paths, that all is not always as it appears; even among their peers who seem so certain now, there’s a good chance that five or 10 years down the road they’ll be considering a career change.

There’s been talk in this paper and elsewhere about up-and-coming Orthodox baseball stars, and I wanted to share one more baseball story from someone who’s unlikely to quit his full-time job anytime soon. Despite working in a role that is notorious for consuming days, nights and weekends, this investment analyst impressively carved out time in his hectic schedule to train to represent Israel in its Olympic debut. Here’s the title from the Wall Street Journal’s coverage:

“A Goldman Sachs Analyst by Day, He Helped Pitch Israeli Baseball Into the Olympics.”

The article praises Eric Brodkowitz for taking advantage of his remote schedule and using his paid time off (PTO) balance to create a practice schedule that allowed him to pursue his Olympic dream.

So next time you hear yourself or someone else say that you don’t have time for a side gig, think of Eric and take the next step on your career path.

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Rabbi Daniel Coleman, MBA, is sought after for his creative and strategic approach to career preparedness, transitions, and success. In addition to presenting to high school groups on career/financial preparedness, Daniel coaches college-bound students on navigating the admission process and crafting an excellent application. He is a popular scholar in residence in communities across America and beyond. Connect with him at coleman4coaching@gmail.com or on LinkedIn.