I am in my early 30s with a professional career that is progressing nicely with several promotions already since college graduation. I am passionate about the work I am doing and obviously very happy about the upward trajectory of my career. I (and others) can see myself climbing this corporate ladder and become one of the senior executives in the firm.
Having said that, I also have immense interest and a passion for menial labor low level jobs especially those that require workers to wear uniforms with a retro style. About a year ago, I actually found a second job in a nearby town working graveyard shift as a dishwasher in a truck stop diner. I can't wait to get off work in my day job so I can catch a few hours of sleep before driving almost an hour to the restaurant so I can put on that paper cap and begin work doing all the dishes and later in the night sweeping floors in the diner and even cleaning the toilets. My only regret was having to quit after a few weeks because the lack of sleep catching up to me. The itch for working in these jobs got hold of me again a little over a month ago. I managed to get a job working Saturdays and Sundays in a car wash as an attendant. While everyone in the office are talking about how they spend the weekends, I would wake up early, drive over an hour to the car wash, put on the coverall uniform with a big company name patch on my back, and work the full day both days. I actually love this job also, but my concern is what if some of my friends, coworkers, or worse yet my family or supervisors at work, saw me working there. I try to find jobs at a distant location so less chance for that, but what happen if they saw me working as a car wash attendant. I know that this is really none of their business as long as I enjoy the work, but I would not be able to live it down. Also, will it affect my career trajectory in my day job? Finally, should I just focus on my day job with good pay and a career ahead or should I continue with the job that I absolutely love.
I am going to operate under the assumption that you don't need the money these secondary jobs bring in (if I am wrong, please feel free to correct me). If not, then don't do them for money. Why? Because (a) you don't need to and (b ) by working these extra jobs, it seems to me you're taking employment away from someone who doesn't have the connections, education, ability, or capacity to work a professional career. Your working at the car wash means a new immigrant, a person with Down's syndrome, a kid putting themselves through school, or anyone else who needs such work doesn't get it.
It's also interesting to me that you don't want your coworkers to see you at these jobs. Hence to my mind (I am not a doctor), you sound like someone grabbing at what feels like forbidden fruit. Hey, it's far better than doing drugs or engaging in risky sexual behaviors. But you may still be getting a jolt out of this kind of work being something which others would see as beneath you -- even if you don't consciously feel that way.
And recognize hiding stuff tends to accompany shame and/or feelings that something is wrong. You don't have to shout it in the streets, but putting a behavior under wraps has implications, no matter what you say about how you enjoy such labor. Could it be you feel guilty about your opportunities in life?
As an aside, you're smart to consider your fatigue in all of this. Driving while tired can be about as bad as driving while intoxicated. Plus not getting enough sleep messes up all sorts of things. If you're trying to lose weight (for example), you need sleep!
Doing all of these outside labors may also be a degree of avoidance behavior. Can't clean -- gotta polish them fenders. Can't go meet someone -- gotta clean the grease rack. You get the idea.
So here's an idea which I hope will satisfy a lot of your impulses at the same time.
Waiting tables and working at the car wash have two major things in common. They are both physical labor and they both involve dealing with the public. If you sit behind a desk all day long at your regular job, then you're not getting either, and you're craving that.
So why not get those things by volunteering to plant trees or build houses or serve up soup? You can do so in your town so that eliminates the driving and fatigue hazards. It's also something which, if your day job colleagues spot you doing, won't erase any street cred you've got with them. But you're not likely to run into your coworkers unless they also volunteer.
Another perk of volunteering is you're not throwing someone else out of work just for this hobby (can't think of a better word for it). You can wear whatever you like. If you show up to serve soup in a gas station attendant's uniform (a rather interesting form of cosplay, BTW), then the church or community center won't care so long as you're clean and you do what's expected of you.
And it won't harm your career trajectory if you volunteer. Hell, it'll probably make you look tons better to the powers that be, if they've got any sense.
You can do a ton of good in the world.
And, because every topic gets a soundtrack, here's yours
Jespah: These are pretty harsh words and assessment and I certainly not expecting them. You do make a few good points for me to think about though.
You are right that I don't really need the money the second job brings, but it is still hard earned pay and I do make good use of it and am proud of it. A good point that it may be taking jobs away from someone else, but right now I don't think that is the case. The job market here is very good and the manager is always telling us that he can't hire enough people so we have to work harder to get things done to satisfy the customers. If job market turns sour, I will consider your advice and give up the job for someone else.
You made a good point about volunteer work...been there done that somewhat..but don't feel the same as a job. You may be right about me feeling guilty of my opportunities in life. In that regard, I do my share and donate lots to charities including the soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, etc. In fact, donate a lot more dollars to these than my paycheck from the second job (may be that also relief some of the guilt from taking jobs away?).
Anyways, probably right that I am hiding something and the second job is an outlet