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Thread: Avocations

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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    I would think most of us have a job or occupation. How about a secondary occupation? Something you like doing, a hobby or pastime, perhaps you even make money from it. Could be a second job for some of us. How many of us think a single occupation is enough for one person? Does the thought of extra work after your normal day not seem appealing?

    Finding a niche after work can be very rewarding. What I do after the regular work day has enabled me to not only earn money but also see the country. People might not believe this but I am a basketball referee in my spare time. I have officiated games for teams of all ages, including all school levels up to university. I get plenty of exercise and they actually pay me to do it.

    Anyone who takes on an avocation has to enjoy it or it will start to feel like a job. I look at it as a chance to do something I like, plus I always get the best seat in the house, right where the action is. I'm sure there are people who cash in very well from a second source of income, for myself it works out between $8-$10k a year. A fee can range from $50 to over $100 per game. Most games take anywhere from 1 - 1.5 hours tops. Many times I do 2 games in a night, especially high school leagues. Because of a shortage of refs and a high demand I can remember one time where I officiated 12 games in a 48 hour period that started on a Friday night, won't do that again. In Canada the season lasts from October to April although every year it seems the season gets longer . It is nice to have the summer free for holidays earned from my regular job.

    If you like sports then becoming an official is relatively easy. I've refereed several sports but I settled on basketball because it's played indoors, away from the elements. Most referees belong to an association and almost all have an internet site where one can apply or get information. There's way more people who'd rather play than officiate, so referees are always wanted.

    I'd like to hear if anyone else has a hobby or avocation for which they are compensated and how they manage.

    Is it a second job? I suppose that's one way of looking at it. For me it's a labor of love. I don't even think of it as a job, it's my hobby. However I'm sure there are people who look at an avocation as another source of income. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think it. It's allowed me to live a little more comfortably for sure.


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    It depends on what you call "compensation".
    My avocation is in the relatively limited field of Applied Nerdiness.

    I've written - and received payment for - a couple of articles for Airfix Magazine (the version prior to the previous version, not the current run 1). I think that I got about 40 per article - oh, and an interview with the local newspaper.

    I've also contributed to other things (those two are just examples, they're not the only publications that have my name in them), but the usual payment in such cases is a free copy of that publication - no cash. Of course there is also the bonus that your "fame" spreads 2.

    The most I've been paid is for this (it was published in print): BUT, and this is an important "but" I got a cheque for 60. That doesn't sound bad at all, does it? Now what if I told you that A) the basic concept and work dates back to sometime in the early '80s, that it was worked on, on and off, throughout the 80s, was "commissioned" 3 (the guy asked if I'd got anything that would suit - and if I hadn't could I do something) and I spent no less than 15 hours in one week checking the mathematics: pen, paper and calculator. So while 60 sounds good, but, even disregarding the on-off hours over the years it came to 4 per hour. Not exactly good.

    On the other hand, I don't do it, and never thought of doing it, for the money.

    I think greatest reward I got was the day I went into my local W H Smith and picked up a magazine. I quickly browsed the contents - the only reason I bought that publication was that a certain author wrote occasionally for them. I knew that he was due to in print sometime "soon" since he'd phoned me in the last month to ask for some technical information.
    Yep sure enough, there he was.
    Standing in the queue to pay I started reading the article and what do I find?
    About halfway through the article there are the words "Upon checking with an authoritative 5 source" and then, in parentheses... my name!
    Heck, an author I admired, naming me as "authoritative", in a magazine that received world-wide distribution.
    Ego boost or what.

    Um, back to the question: I do what I do because it fascinates me.
    I lose 6 money on it. (Huge amounts).

    1 I.e. What is now Airfix Model World is a reboot - after Hornby rescued the Airfix brand. The previous run of Airfix Magazine was a reboot of the original magazine - dating back to the 60s.
    2 Currently working on a complete set - to be given away with a range of miniatures. But that may boost my "public visibility and engender more (possibly paying) work.
    3 A friend who writes a lot (he was, at one point, reclassified by the tax authorities as a writer rather than farmer because his income from one overtook his income from the other) was asked by his editor to write on a specific topic 4 and he took it on knowing that he knew me and this sort of thing was definitely my forte.
    4 About Options for Change and possible solutions for the army.
    5 To be perfectly honest it actually said "authorative" - but the then magazine editor had always struck me as somewhat lax.
    6 Well "lose" is a bit strong, because the money usually goes on books, which I keep. OTOH some people have said that paying 40 - 100 or so for an out of print second hand book for one particular chapter or equation is a bit over the top.


    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Oh rats!
    I forgot to add:
    My "fame" in my avocation very nearly got me a cool job.
    A fellow nerd happened to be the script editor for a TV series and also happened to be a subscriber to one of the related magazines that I was subscribed to.
    He read a couple of my articles (unpaid - it was an "amateur" 1 magazine) and asked if I'd be interested in the position of science/ technical advisor for that show.
    Negotiations fell through - because he mentioned the idea to the higher-ups and they stated that they weren't at all bothered about scientific or technical credibility.
    UK members may remember the series, so now they can speculate how it might have turned out if I'd been involved.


    1 In the sense that it was entirely produced by volunteers and didn't get distribution through shops or publishers.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    asked if I'd be interested in the position of science/ technical advisor for that show.
    Negotiations fell through - because he mentioned the idea to the higher-ups and they stated that they weren't at all bothered about scientific or technical credibility.
    UK members may remember the series, so now they can speculate how it might have turned out if I'd been involved.
    Star Trek and their ilk would never have gotten off the ground with you as tech advisor. Captain Kirk would be a potato farmer and the Enterprise would be a Lada assembly line.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I've made money at building motorcycles, cars and photography. I've also done concerts sound production for some very big bands. These were all done as a hobby for I never took allot of time ever doing them.
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
    Jimi Hendrix
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