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Eliot took a position at Lloyds Bank in London.

His more bohemian literary friends were perplexed by this move, and shook their heads at the sight of such a creative poet decked out in a conservative 3-piece suit and bowler hat, swinging an umbrella, headed off to work hour days tabulating balance sheets.

But like Mill, Eliot found that his bank job helped unleash, rather than stifle, his creativity. Before working for the bank, the anxiety caused by his financial straits had been so great as to paralyze his writing altogether. Once he had a steady income coming in, and was freed from having to write just to make ends meet, he entered one of the most fruitful periods of his career, which included penning The Waste Land.

Eliot found that the structure and stability of his job gave him greater discipline and self-respect, as well as grist for his prose.


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So too, there was something a little irresistible in playing the part of the conformist, decorous gentleman by day, and the imaginative, iconoclastic poet by night; camouflage can be empowering. Even when you do end up leaving a day job to pursue your vocation full-time, the benefits of the time you spent in the workforce can continue to contribute to your success.

After failing to find a teaching post upon graduation from Zurich Polytechnic, and spending two years living hand-to-mouth as a private tutor, Albert Einstein famously went to work as a clerk at the Federal Patent Office in Bern, Switzerland. While some have erroneously believed he merely bided his time there until he could become a full-fledged scientist, the years he spent as a patent examiner helped set the stage for the rest of his illustrious career.

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So too, his newfound financial stability was experienced as a welcome change. Besides I ride my old mathematico-physical hobbyhorse and saw on my violin. He completed a dissertation, earned his PhD from the University of Zurich, and published 32 papers, including 4 positively groundbreaking treatises in — which has been termed his annus mirabilis miracle year — alone.

While examining patents might not seem directly related to theories on light and space and time, his responsibility for reviewing applications related to electromagnetic devices did add fuel — some additional mental models — to the furnace of his mind, and led to his conducting new kinds of experiments.

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Further, the very nature of the job sharpened his thinking; he had to utilize his visual imagination in conceptualizing how the proposed inventions would work, grasp the premises behind their mechanisms, and analyze drawings that were submitted as part of the application. In the end, Einstein said, the experience of being a patent examiner trained him to think clearly and logically — skills that would reap dividends for the rest of his life.

Einstein ultimately felt he did need more time to fully pursue his theories and left the patent office in to become an associate professor. Still, for the rest of his life he was grateful for his experience as a er and waxed nostalgic about his stint working as a patent examiner. Many folks feel like their day job is an impediment to allowing their side hustles to blossom, and wish they could pursue what they feel to be their true vocation with complete single-mindedness.

But what the above men and plenty more examples could be furnished show, is that having a full-time job can actually be quite advantageous in getting your dream off the ground — if you have the right attitude about it. And yet history shows that sometimes the very opposite is true: having a safety net can liberate you to do your very best and most creative work.

Plus, the skills and perspective you gain by working a regular job can carry over in unexpected ways and indirectly enhance your ability to perform your side hustle.

Reasons to Start a Side Business

Even the annoyances of a day job can be used as fodder for your artistic efforts! That being said, the day job you choose does matter. Plus, hanging on to your day job for not just a year, but maybe several, is likely going to be essential to eventually being able to switch to your side business full-time. It took George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, 4 years from the time he began tinkering with and learning about the art and mechanics of photography to the day he finally quit his job as a bank clerk. Eastman had originally gotten into taking pictures as a hobby, but quickly realized there was great commercial potential in figuring out ways to simplify what was then a bulky, messy, time-consuming process.

The year-old taught himself all the ins and outs of the field by studying journals, talking with local photographers, and reading chemistry manuals, then focused his efforts on improving the plates used in cameras. Eastman patented the resulting inventions, and began to sell the rights to manufacture them to companies in Europe. All the while, he kept his job working 6 days a week as an assistant bookkeeper at the Rochester Savings Bank. On the weekends, he would catch up on his sleep, and then begin his punishing schedule again on Monday. When Eastman began manufacturing his own photographic devices, he rented a small loft above a music store two blocks from the bank.

Eastman initially took care of all the engineering, marketing, and bookkeeping for the business himself.


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He tested the market for his inventions by personally selling them to local photographers and getting their feedback. But as his business started to take off, he began to bring on more employees and moved into a larger facility. Then, after the year-old inventor and entrepreneur had spent 4 years tinkering and testing in his spare time, he formed the Eastman Dry Plate Company, and finally hung up his hat as a banker.

Phil Knight had gotten the idea of selling Japanese running shoes in the U. Knight met with the manufacturer of Tiger-brand shoes, which he admired, and managed to secure the rights to distribute them back in the States. The manufacturer promised to ship Knight samples of the sneakers soon. The Tigers ended up taking over a year to arrive.


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Feeling ready to make a go at being a full-time running shoe entrepreneur, he promptly quit his accounting job, loaded his sneakers in the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, and drove all over the Pacific Northwest, showing up to track meets and talking to coaches and runners about why they needed to try Tigers. The shoes caught on quickly.

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People were writing, calling, and even showing up at the door of the Knight home asking to buy a pair. Knight hired a salesman to expand his market and pitch Tigers to runners in California. But by late , Blue Ribbon Sports was in trouble. Sales were strong, but the company was also frequently in debt.

Seeking a plan B in case Blue Ribbon went belly up, as well as another source of funding, Knight took his CPA exam, and accepted a job as an accountant at Price Waterhouse. In addition to often working 6 days a week as an accountant, Knight, who had served one year of active service in the Army before joining the Reserves, also had to spend 14 hours a month doing military training. In , he moved into a one-room apartment, and lined the place wall-to-wall with his entire inventory of shoes. By , Knight was managing 4 employees, two retail stores, and an office on both the West and East coasts.

I wanted to be present, always. I wanted to focus constantly on the one task that really mattered. If my life was to be all work and no play, I wanted my work to be play. I wanted to quit Price Waterhouse. Finally, in , 7 years after first ordering a sample of Tiger shoes, and just shy of his 31 st birthday, Knight quit teaching, and drew his first salary from Blue Ribbon.

I started AoM in January of when I was in law school and working a part-time job. Kate supported us by teaching at a community college. When I graduated in , we were barely making enough revenue from AoM to scrape by so I took a corporate job working for a legal research company. I think moonlighting during those years truly worked to my advantage. I was able to use the modest revenue generated by the site to pay off Kate and my student loans, so that I had greater financial stability when I made the jump.

I got plenty of time to figure out whether blogging or working in the legal field was what I ultimately wanted to do. And I got better at being the editor-in-chief of a magazine and was able to make and learn from mistakes without the pressure of relying on the site for my livelihood. In fact, in can be beneficial to take things slow and build up your biz step-by-step, before making the leap. Keeping your eggs in two baskets until the moonlighting embryos hatch, gives you the financial independence to make the best possible decisions, allows you to experiment, refine your ideas, and test the market for your product, provides access to a steady source of equity, and helps set the stage for a successful launch of your business.

That is extreme risk aversion on one side and extreme risk loving on the other…For antifragility is the combination aggressiveness plus paranoia —clip your downside, protect yourself from extreme harm, and let the upside…take care of itself. By moonlighting while keeping your day job, you minimize the downsides of your side business failing, while opening up the opportunity for it to take off into something great.

Measure you expectations in years, rather than months. There may come a point where, like stretching out Silly Putty, you reach a breaking point and have to choose to go full-time with either your day job or side business. You can find it if you look hard enough, and maximize your spare moments.

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Yet there are almost certainly those out there, who will still find reasons to make themselves the exceptions. Yet when Einstein was working for the patent office, he went home to a small apartment and a new wife and baby boy. He had the baby on one knee and a pad on the other, and every so often he would write an equation on the pad, then quickly rock the baby a little faster as he began to fuss. When Stephen King wrote his first novel, Carrie , he and his wife, who were parents to a toddler and a newborn, were just barely getting by and were living in a double-wide trailer.

His wife Tabby watched the kids while he taught English at a private school, and then she went to work the second shift at Dunkin Donuts.

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In the summers he made extra money working as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in an industrial laundry facility. King did his writing in the evenings, working on a makeshift desk Tabby had found room for by wedging it between the washing machine and the dryer.

Look, we know networking is a pretty stigmatized term these days.