Moonlighting: additional income helps make ends meet
Richard George, who moonlights as a justice of the peace, has gained a reputation for presiding over unusual weddings. ''I am truly the 'JP' who says 'Yes' when others say 'No,' '' says Mr. George , a first assistant clerk for the Cambridge division of the Massachusetts trial court system. ''If anyone calls me and says, 'Look, we want to do something different,' I'm like a sponge for that.''
Over the past 12 years, Mr. George has officiated at weddings on boats and Ferris wheels and has performed marriages at odd hours in the morning.
Although he has to sacrifice personal time and convenience to accommodate his clients' wishes, he says, ''I've never enjoyed anything more. It has to be the greatest side job anyone can have.''
For Richard George, financial compensation is secondary to the personal fulfillment he gains from his after-hours job. Nearly one-third of those who hold two jobs, however, take on the extra work to meet regular living expenses. Others use a moonlighting job to pay off debts, save for the future, buy something special, help a friend or relative, or as a steppingstone to a more satisfying career.
As of May 1979, Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that while the proportion of multiple-job holders held steady at 5 percent of the total work force over the last decade, the proportion of women holding more than one job nearly doubled - from 16 percent to 30 percent of moonlighters.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, this jump reflects the increase of women in the work force, many of whom are primary wage earners in their families. Further, with the growth of dual-career couples, fewer husbands hold more than one job.
Even without the cost of raising a family, an increasing number of single professionals, particularly women, are moonlighting to make ends meet.
Adrienne Morgan, a legislative aide to Wisconsin state Rep. Polly Williams, works 25 hours a week at a local movie theater to supplement her income.
''I can't keep up with the economy and pay back my student loans on one salary,'' says Ms. Morgan, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin last year. ''I never have time for friends, but it's worth it to me to pay back the bills I accumulated while I was in school.'' Ms. Morgan plans to end her seven-day-a-week work schedule when she starts taking graduate courses in January.
Karen Christensen, a professional dancer in Boston, teaches dance at colleges and studios, performs in ensembles, and does occasional free-lance work such as television commercials. She also works as a waitress part-time to supplement her primary income from teaching.
''It's hard to fully support yourself as a dancer in any city, and especially in this one,'' she says. ''Working at the restaurant gives me a release from dancing. It creates a very good balance and allows me to do what I need to do during the day.''
Once a week, however, the two worlds merge. Recently, Ms. Christensen organized a group of independent jazz dancers in Boston, and they perform at the restaurant every Monday night.
''I feel I have to be very disciplined, very organized, and really focused on what I'm doing,'' she says, referring to her many commitments. She also finds that her social life becomes integrated with work: ''You do find you socialize (after hours) with the people you work with.''
Some moonlighters naturally fall into sideline work that is an easy and natural extension of their regular jobs, such as teaching others to do what they do professionally. Others seek jobs completely different from their full-time employment. Special skills, particularly in sports, can often be translated into teaching or coaching jobs. Some successful moonlighting jobs grow out of a hobby.
Jim Badgett of Burleson, Texas, a telecommunications systems programmer, devotes about 20 hours a week to his free-lance photography business.
He started out in his moonlighting job about seven years ago doing portraits and weddings and slowly built up a client list.
''The hardest part is finding your place in photography. You can't be all things to all people,'' says Mr. Badgett, who specializes in human-interest and family photos for magazines, textbooks, and newspapers. His wife, Darryl, a full-time nurse, helps him with paper work, making contacts, and setting up photos.
Unfortunately, he says, ''The personal fulfillment is slipping away. I feel I'm missing out on the joys of photography. But I have too much invested now to drop it.'' To those interested in free-lance photography, he cautions, ''Be prepared to work long, hard hours for low pay. The competition is extreme.''
In ''How to Play the Moonlighting Game'' (Facts on File, New York, $14.95), Jay David offers some general tips for potential moonlighters:
* When contemplating an optional second job, make sure that taking on extra hours is not going to cause conflict with members of your immediate family. Making money is never sufficient reason to avoid family commitments.
* Don't pursue a second job if it poses any possibility of a conflict of interest or jeopardizes efficiency on your regular job.
* Some part-time jobs do not automatically involve withholding taxes for the IRS, payments of social security, or fringe benefits. Income tax, however, must be paid on all money earned in moonlighting employment.
* Places to look: In addition to retail shops, some banks and insurance companies hire extra help for evenings and weekends. Other sources for weekend workers are government, state, local, or federal. There are often openings for part-time jobs with taxi companies and other chauffeur agencies. Weekends and evenings are particularly busy times for cafes, restaurants, and fast-food chains.
A frequently overlooked moonlighting area is work as a travel reservations clerk. Most airlines, bus depots, railroad stations, and car-rental companies need clerks to take tickets and make reservations. Theaters, stadiums, and recreation areas are often open after regular working hours. Ushers, ticket-takers, cashiers, and other service personnel are needed during evenings and weekends when these areas are busiest.