This month on the blog we're talking about side hustles--the day job that pays the bills.
As a Domestic Engineer, I've been with the same company for eighteen years, although I began eyeing the position twenty-six years ago, when I was newly married and a Special Education Teacher. The opportunity looked challenging, but very intriguing.
So, when the time was right, I made the switch.
It's been a great job, although the hours are long and in the beginning the clients were a bit immature. But with time, it's hard to imagine working anywhere else.
If you're thinking that Domestic Engineer might be the side hustle for you, here is a list of the ups and downs of the job. It's by no means a comprehensive list. The very nature of the job is a combination of mind-numbing repetitive tasks, immeasurable love and laughter with the occasional task that feels like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall. But I have to say--it's still worth considering because of the job security.
Some other CONS of the position:
It involves the containment and disposal of multiple types of bodily discharges.
All-nighters are likely during the early years and late night transportation runs are necessary during years thirteen thru seventeen.
There can be repetitive motion injuries from folding, scrubbing, lifting and hauling.
And you're also responsible for care and well being of all other living things at the job site--and their discharges.
It is next to impossible to track down you W2 form--it's almost as if the world and the IRS doesn't think you have a job--let alone a really important one.
Writing on the side often involves a weird schedule, unusual chunks of time and bizarre mobile offices--often while fatigued.
But then there are the PROs:
The job expands your heart by at least three sizes on a regular basis. For comparison, this only happened to the Grinch ONCE in a lifetime.
You can often work in sweats and yoga pants--encrusted ones will be overlooked due to the bodily discharges issue above. Sneakers are part of the uniform, but slippers can be used when appropriate.
There's a HUGE support group for the position--even bigger than the writing community.
There's also a free buffet of bite-sized food to snack on through out the day.
Bonuses aren't just once a year--they're paid out sporadically and that kind of intermittent reinforcement keeps job turnover low--despite the difficulty in taking a sick day.
With time, validation of a job well done moves away from external feedback and becomes measured from within and from seeing those once immature clients become something complex--like reading the 10th or the 18th draft of a manuscript.
And when it comes to writing, there's a bottomless well of material for writers to dip their bucket into.
And it eliminates any questions about what to do with your dedication pages.
Look, am I sometimes envious of those writers who have different side hustles to pay for their writing? I can be. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I thought about it from time to time. What it might be like to tell people about my exotic job. Or what it might be like to immerse myself within different types of people daily. Or to have a job where I travel more.
But I'm also really grateful and proud to be a Domestic Engineer. And not just because it pays the bills so I can also be a writer, but because what I do is pivotal to the future of the world.
Not everyone can say that about their side hustle--which makes my life pretty damn amazing.
When my day job became my "side hustle".
A lot of my writing was a group activity.
A quiet moment at the office after a Daddy Party Weekend/SCBWI Conference.
Security at my Barnes and Noble book launch. <3
When the lines between your jobs blur. Book launch at Oblong.