Saturday, July 25, 2009

Moonlighting: Unidle Hands in the Evening (and on the Weekends)

One of my favorite Bible scriptures is Eccl. 11.7, "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."

I like scripture's admonition to avoid idle hands in the evening as you never know if evening and weekend activities will become as successful as what you do during the day. This lack of idle hands during the evening (and weekends) is what we call "moonlighting". I am often dismayed by the amount of spare time people invest with life activities that neglect the development and contribution of their gifts. Days, then weeks, then months, then years, then decades, go by sometimes and they cultivate the easy habits of acquisitiveness and consuming rather than the more challenging and rewarding habits of developing and contributing. We then wonder why we are poor in talent, achievement, pocket, relations and impact.

We are all gifted but like with faith, gifts are dead without works (practice). Having witnessed such lost opportunity, I often urge my coachees to spend more of their evenings, weekends and and days, if they are unemployed, working on projects that use and cultivate their talents of delight. I encourage them to to do this on a volunteer or paid basis, and to put this experience immediately on their resumes as it helps them qualify for better opportunities in their present and next jobs. Such investment also plants the seeds of possible businesses that generate alternate streams of income.

I stress the importance of starting immediately and committing to practicing consistently over time in order to develop a level of mastery and a good reputation among the customers of their gifts. I relate how I started teaching when I was 27, and career coaching about the age of 35, on a moonlighting basis. In the 16 and 8 years I have been practicing these in the evenings on weekends, (and even within my day jobs), I have gained a degree of mastery, a reputation and an alternate stream of income. This moonlighting has allowed me to contribute my talents of delight, teaching and coaching, and provided me with more pleasure (and income for that matter) than the easier tasks of acquisition and consumption of entertainment, sports, shopping, etc. that too many of us are too prone to using our evenings and weekends for.

Let's all heed the admonition of Eccl.11.7 and consider how moonlighting can enhance your career and life. And as always, please do share examples of how you have used moonlighting in this way if you have.

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