The thrill of leading a double life

Arlene Harris meets three people who are supplementing their daytime incomes by embarking on very different second careers at night.

The thrill of leading a double life

SHE may spend her days looking poised and efficient, but office coordinator Stacey McPartlin has an entirely different appearance when she goes to work in the evening.

As a bellydancer and burlesque entertainer, the Dublin woman has a creative and liberating alter-ego which is in complete contrast to her more traditional day job.

This diversity could be just what the rest of us need as a study into the health and happiness of 2,000 employees by food manufacturer Tilda; showed that half of the workforce is unhappy with their jobs and a further 40% feel they don’t have a good work/life balance.

However, in the current economic climate, having a job with any sort of prospects is a bonus so throwing in the towel to fulfil your life’s ambitions isn’t really an option.

However, keeping on the ‘day-job’ in order to pay the bills while doing something more creative and fun in the evening to supplement your income, might just be the perfect solution.

“I have been working in a corporate role since 2006 but my passion really is Tribal Fusion bellydancing,” says 27-year-old Stacey whose dancing name is Kadri. “My office job is strict and controlled and I have to maintain a routine. But bellydancing is spontaneous and creative so I find it very liberating to be able to flip between the two.”

“My day job keeps me grounded and has actually helped my dancing as I have learned to apply principles like planning, preparation and a professional manner to both of my roles,” she says.

Stacey who is engaged to sound engineer Ross, says while a lot of people live for their careers, she has always been free-spirited and wanted to do something creative with her life.

“At school I wanted to be anywhere but stuck behind a desk and funnily enough that’s where I ended up,” she says.

“Which is why Although I love my career, I still needed to feed that other side of me. I actually started to cry when I watched an instructional bellydance DVD as I connected with it in a way I never have with any other art form,” she says.

As well as running her own production company — Vendetta Events — Stacey says while people are often surprised at her differing careers, there are a lot of others juggling two very contrasting roles.

“Having an unusual second job is becoming more common — one of my colleagues is a bee-keeper, another is a saxophonist and there is also another bellydancer.

“In the past year, I have started burlesque, fire and theatre performances and am a proud member of La Folie Deshabille. So I think it is safe to say that while my roles are extremely different, I am very lucky to have two jobs I enjoy,” she says.

Chris Rowan also knows what it is like to work in two contrasting worlds. As a personal trainer who owns his own business — Hutch Fitness — the Dublin man is also a well-known face on the drag-queen circuit.

“I work as a personal fitness trainer and a drag queen,” says the 26-year-old.

“On the drag scene I’m known as Bunny and I do weekly shows in Pantibar in Dublin and other venues around the country. I decided to launch myself as a personal trainer and my workouts are fun and non-threatening which encourages clients who don’t feel comfortable in a big busy gym environment,” he says.

However, Chris says while his two jobs seem to be polar opposites, there are similarities.

“I’m sure a lot of people would think it’s quite strange to work as a personal trainer and a drag queen — a butch and a feminine job if you will,” he says. “But I’m a bruiser of a guy with royal blue blood, so it just seems like a perfect mix of yin and yang to me,” he says.

“Everything I do is about trying to make people feel better, whether by entertaining them or making them look better, fitter and stronger in their bodies, it’s all a variation on a theme — so I try to inject a bit of camp into everything as life would be very dull and grey otherwise.”

“Also I have a pathological fear of inactivity so it helps financially to have a sideline and keeps me busy which is the best way to be. But no matter what job I’m doing, it’s just me underneath — albeit with effortless glamour and exquisite grace,” he says.

As a butcher by trade, John Sheridan from Dun Laoghaire wouldn’t normally be required to delve too deeply into people’s feelings.

However, the father-of-three has been working as a mind-coach since he qualified as a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming last year.

“I trained as a butcher after leaving school at 15 and I now own a meat company in Dun Laoghaire,” says the 38-year-old. “But I’m also a mind coach which I find truly rewarding,” he says.

John — who is married to Deborah and has three children — says having contrasting roles makes life a lot more interesting.

“With neuro-linguistic programming we break down human nature and behaviour to its core — looking at what people do and why they do it,” he says.

“Two of the fundamental pre-suppositions are that no one is broken and everyone has the resources needed to live life according their own values.”

“It’s very refreshing because you can get bogged down with normal day-to-day stuff, especially if your regular job doesn’t change in its nature. So having another role gives me a different perspective.

John says he plans to develop this side of his career even further.

“Some people think what I do is a little ‘out there’ and I get a bit of friendly slagging about it,” he admits.

“But all that stops when they hear first-hand the fantastic results. My colleague’s mother came to me because she was having difficulty sleeping and was struggling to cope. After one session, she is enjoying deep restful sleep every night and says she’s ‘firing on all cylinders’.

“I’m sure there are people who work two jobs to give them the income they need, however my motivation is the positive impact it can have on people.”

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