Gaining Strength from Unlikely Places

Hercules, the epitome of strength.

A few months ago, I began working a second job in my pursuit of FIRE. I've gained financial strength from this choice, as it's allowed me to aggressively work on paying off debts. When I'm done doing that, I can then re-route this extra cashflow into my retirement investments. This has been one of the smarter decisions I've made in recent years, and the financial gains I'm seeing are significant. While I expected the financial gains, obviously, what I didn't expect were the other gains I've seen from working this second job.

First, I've gained physical strength. My full-time job is an office job, so most of my time is spent sitting in a comfortable chair, at a big desk, in front of my computer. If it weren't for the walks back and forth from home to the office and back, or my trips up and down the building stairs as I make my way between the copy room and my office, I would pretty much be sedentary. By contrast, my part-time job is a physical job that requires me to do some lifting and standing on my feet during my whole shift. I have to admit, those first couple of weeks of doing this were tough. I had a moment after my first week when my body was exhausted, stiff, and in pain where I wasn't sure if I could continue. Fortunately, I reminded myself almost immediately that I would, indeed, get used to it and everything would not only be fine but become normal. And, you know what? It did. Not only that, but I can tell that my body is stronger. 

Secondly, I've gained mental strength. This was definitely more of a surprise than the first one - which was somewhat expected after all, even if the thought hadn't crossed my mind. I think it's easy the older that we get, to get too comfortable and to become lazy in our life. Getting a second job really shook things up for me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. This has given me back the raw confidence I had in my 20s to just jump into things. All the fears (no matter how slight) that I had when thinking about pursuing FIRE and making my dream of moving to a foreign country a reality began to melt away. This new-found mental strength has given me the confidence to realize that I can do anything I set my mind to and the ease with which to push aside all hesitation.

Third, I've gained some humility. There's nothing like working a menial job to learn to be humble. Not that I'm much for bragging or thinking highly of myself, but there's always some perspective to be gained in these types of life situations. I work with a lady in my second job who is well past retirement age but couldn't quit if she wanted to. I'm grateful to know that I will not be in that situation myself. I also realize my own fortune in having a career that is better-paid, has better benefits, and gives me a work-life balance.   

Last, but surely not least, I've gained more perspective on myself as an employee. Working a more physically demanding job on top of my regular job has made me understand my own shortcomings in my main job since the pandemic started. It's also given me a stronger drive and a better work ethic, allowing me to do both of these jobs to the best of my ability. 

Who would've thought that picking up extra work a few hours a week could enact such changes? I know it never crossed my mind. Sure, the plan was to make more money, and to that end, I've succeeded, but I've gained so much more. This experience is definitely going to shape me for the better.


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