Once upon a time, moonlighting was usually done by those who were trying supplement their main income (the phrase “moonlighting” comes from the time when people worked these second jobs at night), but more and more people who take on a second job don’t just do it for extra cash. They’re using it build additional skills, give back to their community or follow a passion – and sometimes these elements of their lives can’t always be found in their 9-to-5 workplaces.


1. To get out of a career rut

Seeing things with fresh eyes is always helpful. Sometimes, moonlighting helps you see what other industries are like, and can help alleviate feelings of being in a career rut, particularly if you’ve been in a role or company for many years. Learning about the industry you’re moonlighting in might help you move into another line of work, and by moonlighting, you are able to maintain the stability of your current role whilst still “testing the waters” in your secondary role. This is great for those that are thinking of changing careers or going freelance, but aren’t too sure if they’re ready to do it just yet.

2. To network and build connections

We’ve all heard that so many roles available are not always the ones advertised. Therefore, it’s important to build your network of colleagues not just for furthering your current role, but also for safe-proofing your career (or new career) should the unfortunate happen and you are made redundant or you face unemployment. Moonlighting in a different role from your 9-to-5 one means you meet new people to build a rapport with, learn from and maybe even contact if you find yourself in a job loss situation. The client you met with for your weekend catering job might also share your skills in digital marketing, and before you know it, you’ve been invited to a great networking event with others in that field.

The people you deal with in your secondary role might also be a completely different crowd to those you deal with in your primary role. You might share passions and interests with a new group of people, who you could eventually call your friends.

Moonlighting helps you see what other industries are like, and can help alleviate feelings of being in a career rut, particularly if you’ve been in a role or company for many years

3. To build new skills

Growth and development are always important, particularly in your working life. Moonlighting assists you not just gaining new skills, but enhancing the skills you already use in your primary job. Upskilling and diversifying your skills is another way of future-proofing your career in an economic downturn or an unplanned period of unemployment. Skills such as project management, client liaison and budget tracking work across a wide variety of industries, and if they’re areas of your primary role you haven’t done in a while (or, if you’re in a junior role, never done before), then moonlighting will expose you to these skills.

4. To follow a passion

Many people who moonlight do it to follow a passion. They might want to volunteer for a local charity group, fulfil their skills as an illustrator or finally let the world know just how awesome a pianist they are. Hard to do in a traditional office when you’re a Business Analyst. Moonlighting gives you the opportunity to follow the interests you have that might not be directly aligned to your full-time role. This can be done outside of office hours, and without giving up, yep, here it comes, your day job. So you can be a kindy teacher AND a jazz singer!

5. To give something back

In many cases, moonlighting doesn’t have to be about earning additional income. Many people take on work outside their day job to give back to their community and to make a difference in the lives of others. Phil Preston, a Community Engagement Strategist, connects individuals and businesses to social issues, thereby making a meaningful impact through skills and expertise delivered. He sees many people that want to enhance their skills yet prefer to do so for pro-social causes. “The common theme is that all seek to change the world in either a small or large way”, he says, “Sometimes it is linked their work directly or indirectly, and other times it is not. However, they all manage to ‘keep their day job and change the world!’”.

According to Preston, moonlighting in this way is motivated by:

  • Career development (how can I upskill now instead of waiting?)
  • Self development (I feel good when I learn or do new things)
  • Empathy (I’ve been touched by an issue and can’t help but get involved)
  • Work congruence (by linking my business success to a relevant social issue, I will keep investing in it)
  • ‘Economic’ reasons (I want a better quality of life, I want to live in a connected and strong community)

Moonlighting gives you the opportunity to follow the interests you have that might not be directly aligned to your full-time role.


Alyssa Barraga

Regular occupation?

I work full-time as an external financial auditor at a Big 4 Accounting Firm. I love what I do during the week because of the challenging nature of the job and the personal growth I have experienced since I’ve started working. Being in professional services, I am constantly pushing my limits and learning every single day.

Secondary occupation?

Outside of my full-time job, I run my own mobile hairstyling business. I love it because I’m able to create relationships with my clients and play a role in their special day. Styling hair is a creative outlet for me and is a completely different field to what I do on a full-time basis.

Benefits from secondary occupation?

Being a hairstylist allows me to be creative, which is a skill that I’m not able to utilise to the same extent as an accountant.

I love it because I’m able to create relationships with my clients and play a role in their special day.

How do they complement each other?

Hairstyling and auditing financial statements complement each other because of the client service skills I’ve developed in both roles I play, whether it be meeting and communicating with my hair clients or meeting with CFOs during an audit engagement.

Sze Wing Yip

Regular occupation?

I work in an education and learning company, my role is to actively promote efficacy in our company. I facilitate a lot of internal reviews and workshop, presentations, training and assessment as well. I work in a very new area of the company. I don’t love what I do there, but it isn’t miserable. It is the stability that keeps me there and I do learn from my day job.

Secondary occupation?

I run a business called Intuitive Coaching, I help my clients actualize their potential, purse their goals and step up in life. I teach seminars and workshops. I am also actively involved in a wellness community business called Embrace Life Live Life. I know that what I do makes a difference. I also love talking about spiritual matters and inspiring others to create a happier life. I enjoy working with the spiritual and wellness industry, people bring in different knowledge and wisdom and I love learning from everyone too.

Benefits from secondary occupation?

I enjoy the work that’s related to body, mind and spiritual alignment. I love the field of personal development, talking about meaning, success, purpose, and calling in life. My 9 to 5 job is such a big corporation, but when I work with my clients 1 on 1 or in groups, it’s a lot more personal. I spend hours learning and reading up on coaching, spiritual matters or business building matters.

How do they complement each other?

I do get better in presentation, and I regularly present in front of all my colleagues, including my CEO. I’m also more tech-savy. This helps me with my Intuitive Coaching business, where I combine practical coaching strategies with intuitive insights to help my clients to better their lives, to pursue their goals and to actualize their highest potentials.

I love the field of personal development, talking about meaning, success, purpose, and calling in life

Fiona Hunt

Regular occupation?

I’m the Managing Director of Adventure World Australia and New Zealand, a travel company that creates curated soft adventure travel to amazing destinations like Africa, Latin America, Asia etc. We focus on unique travel adventures, like getting up close to the Western Lowland Gorillas in the Congo, or Wildlife of the Galapagos – all the fun stuff! What I love about my work is managing all the levers that contribute to a successful business, and the constant assessment, analysis and activation of those levers. I know that sounds completely geeky, but there you have it!

Secondary occupation?

I write an art blog, Draw A Line Somewhere and manage its community of about 2000 readers. The blog is full of articles about art, design, art history, exhibition reviews, new artists etc. The grand plan is to then do a PhD (after completing my Masters in Art History and Curatorship) and hopefully write a book (or two) on my favourite art topics.

Benefits from secondary occupation?

Art, writing and study are fundamental drivers for me. On the study side, I find the intellectual rigour and intensity of study really stimulating, and I find that I function much more clearly and effectively at work, and at home when I am working intensely.

With the blog, I find writing about art just makes me really happy. Having uninterrupted time to immerse myself in artworks or artists that I am passionate about is a real joy. I also love to share the great stories with the reading community and find great pleasure in their interest and enjoyment in the blog.

Having uninterrupted time to immerse myself in artworks or artists that I am passionate about is a real joy

How do they complement each other?

Well, art and culture are great motivators to travel and go really well together, so I’m very conscious of that, and like to build product for that kind of traveller. Also, the combination of the day (structured and process-driven work) and the evening (creative thinking) is a great balance. I’m married to an artist, so we have a very creative home life. It’s a wonderful counter balance to my work life, so I feel very fulfilled.

Featured photo credit: lichtempfindlich via photopin cc


EricaEnriquezPhotoErica Enriquez

Erica is a Sydney-based writer and digital marketer, and can often be found pounding away on a keyboard, writing about everything from travel, lifestyle, well-being and anything in between. When she is not writing, she is STILL writing, developing copy and content for websites and marketing collateral. Erica is passionate about film, literature and culture (high brow and low brow), as well as pro-social causes supporting cultural engagement (counting travelling as one of them). In her spare time, she loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book, go for a nice dinner with friends or spend time with her partner.


There is no doubt that Michelle Obama was an integral part of the recently concluded presidential election and enjoys a popular following not only among the American public but also worldwide. Her FLOTUS account on Twitter currently has over 200,000 followers. As President Obama aptly put it, “Some may dispute the quality of our president, but nobody disputes the quality of our first lady.”

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, the first African-American lady in the White House recently caused a worldwide sensation on social media with her new haircut. She was seen sporting bangs a few days before the presidential inauguration. Whatever the reason behind the change of hairstyle – whether she’s trying to make a statement or was simply bored with her former hairstyle, this Leader in Heels is currently a public epitome of success, hard work, personal integrity and a positive role model for women of all ages around the world.

In this post, we list what we admire about the First Lady and some of her most inspiring quotes:

1. She’s not afraid to speak her mind or show her displeasure

The ‘epic eye roll’ directed at House Speaker John Boehner made headlines around the world. Michelle believes in being herself even while in the public eye. While experts are divided amongst themselves as to what John actually said that made Michelle roll her eyes, it is clear that she is confident and strong enough to show her displeasure even in public. According to Huffington Post, David Colbert who wrote “Michelle Obama: An American Story,” said that Michelle’s willingness to speak out was evident even at college when she criticised her French professors’ teaching methods.One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals

2. Self-confidence and style

She’s got an amazing sense of style and self-confidence, an important characteristic for any Leader in Heels – During the presidential inauguration balls in 2009 and 2013, she chose to wear Jason Wu a young and upcoming designer twice. She knows what she likes, looks good in and wears it with confidence and elegance.

3. Balancing different sets of priorities

Michelle appears to juggle her family, career and public commitments successfully – So what is the secret to her success? During an interview with Ladies Home Journal she observes that women learn to balance different things from the time they are children and gave an example of their two daughters. Michelle believed that the depth of their thoughts and emotional empathy arms women with the skills to juggle different priorities later in life. Sympathetic to the plight of the working woman, Michelle had this to say in Ladies Home Journal: “Finding balance has been the struggle of my life and my marriage, in being a woman, being a professional, being a mother. What women have the power to do, through our own experiences, is to push that balance out into the culture. If people are happier, and they’re more engaged, and they have jobs they can value that allow them to respect and value their homes, that makes the home life stronger.”

4. Giving back to the community

Michelle came in at #7 on Forbes Power Women list last year due to her approval ratings (at 66% higher than her husband’s) and involvement in causes such as childhood obesity, Let’s Move! initiative, mentoring program for youth and Joining Forces, which aims to support military families and provide them with opportunities.

5. Advocates the value of putting oneself at No.1

“Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” Beliefnet.com.

Although Barack Obama is considered an excellent orator, Michelle is eloquent and also knows how to deliver inspiration wherever she speaks. Below are 5 of her best quotes:

1. “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”Huffingtonpost.com

2. “Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.”

3. “We should always have three friends in our lives-one who walks ahead who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we’ve cleared the way.”

4. “My most important title is still “mom-in-chief.” My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.”

5. “Just do what works for you, because there will always be someone who thinks differently.”

Top image : credit

Quotes sourced from Goodreads.com


I am so thrilled to share with you another woman’s success. And what is the most important, this is a success of not just one woman but all of us as breast cancer affects one in eight women worldwide.

Brittany Wegner,17-year-old girl from Florida, built an artificial “brain” to accurately assess tissue samples for signs of breast cancer, providing more confidence to a minimally invasive procedure.

For this project Wenger took the grand prize in this year’s Google Science Fair.


Wenger started building networks in the seventh grade after studying the future of technology for a school project and she’s got immediately fascinated.

“I decided that it was what I was going to do… I came across artificial intelligence and was just enthralled. I went home the next day and bought a programming book and decided that was what I was going to teach myself to do,” she said.

Her first neural network played soccer. “I’m very persistent, and I learned to code, and I started coding neural networks that played soccer – I’m an avid soccer player as well.”

PROJECT: Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer

I taught the computer how to diagnose breast cancer Brittany Wenger said .

“Early detection is really important,” Wenger said. “That is what I’m trying to do with my neural network.”. Breast Cancer affects also Brittany’s family.

“This is really important because currently the least invasive form of biopsy is actually the least conclusive, so a lot of doctors can’t use them.”


Artificial neural networks are essentially computer programs coded to think like the brain. Only they can detect patterns that are too complex for mere humans. And they get better as they process more and more data.

Wenger’s program improves diagnoses of malignant breast tumors by using a large amount of data stored online and looking for patterns. For her Google Science Fair project, she built a neural network with Java and then deployed it to the cloud. She ran 7.6 million trials on it and found it is 99.1 per cent sensitive to malignancy.

“As I get more data, the success rate will go up and the inconclusive rate will go down,” she said. “So with more data, I think it is hospital ready.”

Apart from hospitals, Wenger aims to extend it to other types of cancer. “It will require a little bit of coding and tweaking, but it would be very easy to adapt it so it could diagnose other types of cancer and potentially other medical problems,” she said.


The contest was free to enter and open to all students around the world between 13 and 18 years of age. Google collected entries from January to April and announced the finalists in May. The grand prize winner receives a $50,000 scholarship, an internship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

“I’ve never been to South America,” she said. “I’m so excited.”

On July 16, 2012, Marissa Mayer was appointed President and CEO of Yahoo!, effective the following day. That’s enough to call her a true Leader in Heels but that’s not the only achievement she has accomplished during her impressive career .Mayer was named to Fortune magazine’s annual list of America’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 including when at age 33 she was the youngest woman ever included on the list. She has been honored with the Matrix Award by the New York Women in Communications, as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and as “Woman of the Year” by Glamour magazine. How did she make it? Continue reading →