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Two years ago this week I was just finishing up my morning air shift at WXNT-AM radio in Indianapolis when the station’s program director came into the studio and asked me if I could come by his office after the show.
I didn’t think much of it because that was pretty standard in the radio business. When I stepped in, the general manager was there with him to tell me that my morning radio show was being canceled and Friday was going to be my last day on the job.
I have to admit to being shocked but not necessarily surprised.
Broadcasting has been a tricky business for the last 10 years, and so I knew there is always the distinct possibility that I would come in one day and “Abdul in the Morning” would be either “Abdul the Urban Cowboy” or “Abdul Off the Air.”
I took the news in stride, called my wife and told her what happened. Surprisingly, she was not upset as she told me I would be back on my feet in no time and she made it clear she wanted quiet at 6 a.m. as opposed to a husband who is usually talking about that time.
What made the loss of the radio job much easier to bear was the fact that although it was my “full-time” job, I also had several other jobs on the side: Attorney, college instructor, stand-up comedian, communications consultant and political commentator.
Losing my job at the radio station was also my motivation to start my website, IndyPolitics.Org.
Fast forward two years. Not only are my other ventures going strong, but I’ve been picked up doing on-air work at WIBC-FM, the mothership of talk radio in this state. And my wife and I still enjoy the same quality of life we did a couple years back without missing a trick.
I tell this story because in today’s economy, I feel for anyone who only has one job and, as my father would say, “no side hustle.”
My parents taught me a long time ago to never put all my economic eggs in one basket. That’s just asking for trouble. My father was an accountant for the military, but he also did taxes on the side. My mother was a caterer, but she also sewed and did quite well making clothes for people in our neighborhood. My brother, a computer engineer, has his own side business. You see where this is going.
In an era of economic uncertainty and insecurity, it behooves people to figure out a way to maximize their earning potential by tapping into their skills and talents and using them for their economic benefit.
And you would be surprised at how the skill sets you developed at one job can transfer into another one. I am reminded everyday when I teach at Ivy Tech or the University of Indianapolis how handy my stand-up comedian skills come in when keeping students interested and engaged with material that can be pretty dry and downright boring at times.
I have never seen it written down anywhere that a person should only have one job. You do what it takes to keep your head above the economic water.
This is why you have been blessed or are fortunate to have so many talents. Now go out there and use them to get rich.
Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous Indiana media outlets. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Harry McCawley is associate editor of The Republic. He can be reached by phone at 379-5620 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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