Why settle for one job when you can have two? Or more?
Some people find one career that fulfils them and give it all their attention and energy.
And then there are those who believe they are capable of much more. This week, we interviewed six young people in their twenties who have a day job, the 8am to 5pm, and another one on the side, which they run when the rest of us are watching TV after a long day at work or sleeping.
You will find their stories illuminating in case you have multiple dreams but are unsure of whether you will find time to fulfill them all.
Thomas is 28 years old. He is a pilot, a First Officer with Kenya Airways. On his free time, he is a deejay. PHOTO | COURTESY
What a combination…
Well, I’ve loved music since I was a small boy, but started toying with the idea of deejaying in high school. I was also fascinated with planes, fighter jets to be precise, but the idea of flying came after I completed high school. What I really wanted to be though was an astronaut. That morphed into wanting to be rich as I grew older. Now, I just want to be successful. I am working on music production. My goal is to have Billboard Chart hits and play them on my world tours.
Where do you find time to do both?
It’s a bit tough, but with foresight I manage to plan a month or two in advance, that way, I can request for specific off days from work to go for a gig.
Do your family and friends think it is weird that your jobs are not related at all?
Aren’t they? I mean, I fiddle with buttons and knobs in both cases…seriously though, most people find it fascinating, very interesting even because these are two exciting careers that I’m a part of. I taught myself deejaying. I simply got a software and figured it out. I also watched many related YouTube videos and read blogs. We live in an exciting times where all you need is Internet connection to learn anything you want.
How much do you make from deejaying on a good night?
About Sh50,000. I mostly perform at private functions because they are easier to plan months in advance. I have done The Debrief at Quinns Bar on Ngong Road and House Agenda at several clubs. A couple of weeks ago, I did a 2006 class reunion set at Quinns as well. You can find all the information about my gigs on Facebook: Thomas Tank, and on Instagram and Twitter, @thomastankmusic.
Jackline Chirchir, 26, has been used to making her own way ever since she joined university. PHOTO | COURTESY
“My parents told me that I had to look for a way to make my own pocket money. I started with making jewellery, which I would sell to friends and family,” she says. When she graduated from Daystar university with a double major in Communication, she got a job with USIU-Africa as the External Communications Coordinator, but continued with her side hustle. Now she has progressed to designing furniture.
Do you really need a side job?
When I started to design jewellery, it was just to make money, but the exposure and skill I amassed made me realise that there is a need to diversify my portfolio, hence my other job, which involves making and refurbishing furniture.
How much of your time does your side job take?
Most of my evenings and weekends are spent at the workshop in Gachie, (Kiambu County) overseeing and making deliveries. A lot of time therefore.
How much do you make in a good month?
Between Sh50,000 and Sh60,000 after operational costs. This includes selling accessories such as curtains, cushion covers and pillows.
What is the most difficult part of balancing multiple jobs?
Balancing it out is definitely a challenge because I know things are done better when I am at the workshop, but then there is my 8 to 5pm that needs me to fulfil certain Key Performance Indicators, not forgetting that a social life is also key to the life-work balance. It is tricky, but possible.
Where can we find your stuff?
Visit my Facebook page, Jackie’s Jewels or Instagram, on @jackies.jewels
Winnie Muthoga, 29, has traded in stocks, worked as cabin crew for Kenya Airways and been a model. Now, she flies around the world on her own terms, with her travel and tour company, WAVU – which means net in Swahili. PHOTO | COURTESY
Do you consider yourself a hustler?
Nowhere near, I’m not shrewd enough. Hustling has this street-smart element I feel I lack, although my high school art teacher once turned to me and said, “You will always excel at whatever you lay your hands on.” I get the job done.
How did WAVU come about?
It came about when my business partners recruited me as a fashion consultant for their online shop. As we progressed, we found that we needed more capital to grow the business. We had all gone for Euro Trip the year before, and decided to organise the same to generate the money we needed.
It was brutal – we made a loss but the experience was exhilarating and blood pumping and really fun, that we stuck with it. Currently, we organise two main trips: Euro Trip and Asia Trip. The Euro Trip is in August during the summer when it’s nice and warm. We visit about eight countries, including France, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Monaco, with a stopover in Dubai for two nights. Our Asia trip is in April to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Dubai.
Our trips take place during the school holiday as our niche market are students and young adults. We also organise numerous individual trips as per the clients’ requirements.
Why a travel and tour company in a market where so many others are doing the same?
Like I said, we have a niche market. Before starting a business, you must get your market right, otherwise you will fail.
Is your modelling and International Relations career over?
I try to experience each moment fully, so I rarely want to go back. As for International Relations, I do see a possibility because I would like to participate in government. My dad is fond of saying that you should do work that you enjoy because you’ll never have to work.
Why do you think people feel constricted to do what they think they are supposed to be doing?
One, they believe there is a limitation to everything: Money, time, yet there’s always more. Two, there is also the notion that if you let go of this something you do not want, you’ll have nothing, as opposed to “If I let go of this thing I do not want, I’ll have more room to grab onto this thing that I do want.” Third, not listening to their intuition. If we tune into our inner guidance, it can lead us to exactly what we want. Lastly, underrating happiness. Solely doing what makes you happy can transform your life.
Ras Mengesha, 29, is a writer first, then an author, then a lecturer who teaches literature at Daystar University. He is one of the lucky ones whose career is in the same field as his chosen life’s work. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
You have said that you consider yourself a writer who teaches, as opposed to a teacher who writes. What is the difference?
I am a writer first, everything else comes second. In the last few years I have been working on my first novel and have published several short stories. It is my writing that led me to teaching. I write stories and then I teach, not the other way round.
What motivated you get into teaching in the first place?
A combination of many things. I love teaching. I was once an outdoors experiential learning instructor; I taught everything, from the basics of camping, to first aid, to how to tie a fisherman’s knot. Then I started teaching some teens creative writing. Later, when I did my master’s degree, I knew I wanted to teach in a university. Another driving factor was having a mentor who saw something in me long before I saw it and suggested that I consider teaching. Also, I knew teaching would make it possible for me to write.
Where do you make more money? In teaching or in writing?
There is money to be made in both. I wish I lived in a society that appreciated its artists enough to foster creation and creativity though. It’s hard to survive as a writer, more so a writer of fiction, here. For me, teaching offers a consistent income that allows me to meet my needs and have the time and space to write.
You are working on your second book…
My second eBook yes, which is out at the end of the year. I published the first one, The Other Experiment, in 2014 when I was still very young in my writing, but it was a great experience. I had just quit my job to focus on my writing, my work was out there, people (claimed) to like it and for the first time I could say that my writing was paying me.
How do you balance on the fine line between teaching literature and then immersing yourself in it as a profession and as a release, without blurring the boundaries?
Is there a boundary? The fact that I am a writer at times informs how I speak about books and stories, but I think both are quite different. Writing requires a different process from teaching. When I am writing, I am alone, I am thinking about the story and everything about the story.
When I am teaching, I am thinking about the students and what will add value to their lives and what lessons they will learn from our interactions. However, teaching Creative Writing is a bit different because here it becomes a bit intimate since we are all writers talking about writing.
I guess in this case, the said fine line is blurred and I can become both writer and teacher.
Jacob Oduol Onginjo
Jacob, 28, is an IT Manager at Hilton Nairobi. He is in the process of producing a music album. PHOTO | COURTESY
Tell us a little bit about how you started the event, BOGOF.
B.O.G.O.F, (Being Only Great Of Finesse) was an arts and music collective that brought together poets, live bands, sketch artists, photographers and film makers. We started holding events officially in 2011, at Hilton, Nairobi – we held them for four years with a break year in 2013.
As creative minds ourselves, our inspiration behind B.O.G.O.F
was being able to bring together artistes from various disciplines to espouse unity of purpose even as we all exhibit different art forms.
This was the best way to nurture upcoming artistes. If we do make a comeback, we may take the shape of a different outfit.
What are you doing now, for the love of hip hop?
I love all music. Not just Hip Hop. I am not able to be as involved in the arts and music circles as much as I was before, however, I am always keen to listen and in any way support fellow artistes. I do this by attending as many events as I possibly can.
I buy Kenyan music as soon as I come by it. Check out the ongoing #iPlayKEMusic initiative on Twitter.
Say something encouraging/profound, to a university student reading this
With a little time management and a largedose of focus, it is entirely possible to do the things you love, at the same time. The world says you can’t have it all, but these young people show us that you actually can. Chart your own path.
Ian, 29, could be described as a Jack of all trades. He has done everything there is to do with design, from logos, to branding, to designing bags, to owning his own agency. Now he is working on a clothing line, Dapper Monkey, which caters exclusively to men’s clothing. PHOTO | COURTESY
Besides all these, you once sold chips, (French fries) and have worked in publishing as well, what drives you to try so many things?
I can’t believe I sold chips at some point! I was in college then, and worked at a relative’s fast food joint to earn pocket money. After college, I worked at Storymoja for almost seven years as a Creative Lead. I have had my creative agency for just as long. I also run Dear Doris, my blog. To answer your question, I love books, art and fashion, that is why I do it all.
How do you handle all those things at the same time?
By sleeping less. I sleep for about five hours from Monday to Thursday. Between Friday and Sunday though, I barely sleep, dancing is bae!
Tell us about your ad agency…
It is a small creative agency called Sketch Experience. We mainly focus on corporate branding. We have worked on many amazing projects. I love bringing brands to life!
What is the hardest thing to figure out when running multiple businesses?
How to allocate time for your side business and your full time job as well. In my case, meal times and sleeping times are compromised, but I am not complaining, to succeed, you have to sacrifice something.