What’s your side job?

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I’m always cooking up a new side project. I have a line of greeting cards and stationery fueling my passion for paper.

Now that I have an 8-month old son, I’m working on a new line of baby goods (onesies and baby/mama stationery). And don’t even get me started on the several books I’m working on. As a creative person, having lots of side jobs is second nature to me—I can’t imagine life without it.

And it seems I’m not alone. I was lucky enough to have my line of greeting cards and stationery featured in the inaugural Sidelines column of HOW Magazine and I’ve enjoyed reading subsequent columns featuring other designers with creative side jobs.

Imagine my delight when I read an article in Fast Company magazine called, “How to Lead a Creative Life” about someone else who also enjoys juggling multiple side jobs: Martin Scorsese.

The prolific creative talks about how it’s good to find another creative outlet—or in his case, eight. Here are just a few of the side jobs that Scorsese, who turned 69 in November, has been involved in over the past two years: (Seriously, can we even refer to these as mere “side jobs?”)

  • Director and executive-producer of Boardwalk Empire, HBO’s epic gangster series set in Atlantic City
  • Director of Living in the Material World, a George Harrison doc
  • Founder and chairman of The Film Foundation, which has restored more than 550 old movies, salvaging the silent-film era.

Read the rest of Scorsese’s side jobs here.

Scorsese believes these types of projects are vital. I wholeheartedly agree. While most of us love working on client projects, sometimes you just want creative freedom. Freedom from the restraints of corporate budgets and multiple decision makers. Or as Scorsese says in the article, “I just wanna make the movie I wanna make.”

And more importantly, as I mentioned in my Sidelines column, your side job can inspire your “day job.” For example, a color palette I‘m brainstorming for a greeting card design might be perfect for a new client project or vice versa. This is one of the reasons I always have a sketchbook and colored pencils handy!

So, what’s your side job? Share in the comments!

6 thoughts on “What’s your side job?

  1. Matt

    Fully agreed, side jobs are the way to go! Otherwise you can have a tendency to get stuck in this or that perspective, a side job gives that alternative viewpoint plus it’s usually more focused than not doing something, such as watching tv or something.

    Music and writing are mine, although unfortunately they are maybe more of what you could call hobbies with potential, still in the writing/playing for free stage, I guess you could call honing one’s craft or something. Nevertheless, they do their job as far as a creative outlet, which was the main point of the side jobs in the first place, so probably still ok, :). Plus, all these can take time, build a portfolio, feels like about a 1,000 lessons needed to really get them going, but have to start somewhere!

  2. Debbie

    Matt: I love that quote….”hobbies with potential” My brother retired from the military and I went over his house and his garden was a mess. He laughingly told me that he needed to find a job to ke
    ep his garden up to date. LOL…..seems like it is all related…..hobbies get jobs and jobs open doors to volunteer work…etc. etc.

  3. Juan Cervantes

    In a Senior Graphic Designer for a large shoe company and I still take on and create side projects. Because of my art directing background I decided to start shooting weddings and giving them a different documentary style of shooting. My love for Art lead me to begin a service for producing art shows for artist who want to Show Better(tm). http://www.artdeptgroup.com. We are called The Art Department. I also do some Pro Bono work for Rod Dixon’s Kids Marathon foundation.
    Lots to do but I can’t see life without it. Oh and I’m putting on my own art showings too along with my wife who happens to be a mosaic artist and graphic designer. http://www.tayancreative.com

  4. Kristin Maija Peterson

    Side jobs? More like side obsessions. I completely agree for the need to stretch out creatively and those stretches don’t necessarily involve technology, i.e. computer.
    In a way, exploring my own creative pursuits is like a vacation. When I’m back working on client projects, there is more energy and inevitability I will find a better solution that if I hadn’t taken the time off to go “creatively play.”

  5. Jason

    My 9-5 is print and web production. Which in advertising, involves almost no creativity (thats what they pay the art directors the big bucks for). My “side hustle” is print and web DESIGN for individuals and small biz. This way I can release pinned up creativity and make a few extra $$ on the side.

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