Side work

Side work keeps us sane.

This is a theory I'm toying with. I wonder if everyone needs a sideline, something they do on the side, something out of the ordinary. Sure it may distract from your main thing, but it can be so life-giving.

Writing does that for me. I don't know if I'll ever write anything worth publishing, but it's good for my soul to do it.

I know lots of folks that have sidelines. Some write like me. Some write a lot better than me. Some have Etsy sites. Some bake amazing bread. Some sit on non-profit boards. Some nail boards together for non-profits.

Why do we feel drawn to side work?

Maybe it's a symptom of a tough economy. Wages have been fairly stagnant over the last several years. More and more of us know people who have been laid off, which makes us feel less secure in our jobs. Sidelines may provide a bit of insurance and insulation. But I think there's more behind our attraction to side work.

Maybe it's a sign that our jobs aren't challenging us fully. Many of us work in jobs that require an increasing amount of specialization and focus (and changing diapers requires a lot of focus). These jobs don't engage every facet of our creative energy. We have something left over. So we do side work. But I wonder if there's something more.

Maybe God designed us in such a way that we come alive when we're pursuing mastery. We aren't just called to fill the earth, but also to subdue it. The hard work of acquiring new skills, pursuing new interests, and exploring new horizons ... all this work keeps us sane. Something unhealthy happens in us when we get bored, when we stall out.

What do you think? Why are people attracted to side work?

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