Glenn Townes (left) (Contributed photo)

By Glenn Townes
glenn.townes@njurbannews.com

For as long as I can remember, I worked two and, on some occasions, three jobs. Sometimes I did so out of necessity—and other times I did so out of boredom and an intense desire to find new and exciting things to write about. I thrived on the thrill of a challenge. The one thing that remained constant and rarely changed was during the day, I was a journalist—a scribe, a writer, a periodista’! But at night–I was a serial moonlighter.

My gamut of side gig jobs over the past 30 or so years have been varied and plentiful. Let’s see, I moonlighted as a telemarketer, night auditor, bank transit clerk, medical biller, mortgage foreclosure processor, security guard, and a deli clerk. There were plenty of times when I would spend most of the day at a press conference shouting out a question to a current or future POTUS, CEO of a major corporation, state governor, senator, or some other VIP. Or I’d be assigned to cover an event or some other breaking news story elsewhere in the city. But in the evening, I shed my reporter’s trench-coat, notebook and micro-cassette tape recorder and became a check encoder in the transit department at a local bank. Or, I’d put on my deli cap and apron and spend several hours slicing bologna, brie and Braunschweiger—the fancy name for liverwurst—for customers at a local high-end supermarket.  

Many of my co-workers at my various part time jobs knew about my “day job,” or “real job,” and they were often perplexed and dumbfounded by my omnipresent side hustles. They simply could not understand why “an educated, professional and established journalist,” would partake in such mundane and irksome tasks like calling and harassing people on the phone about a late credit card payment; or processing paperwork in order to force people out of their homes; or spend hours patrolling an isolated and eerie warehouse at midnight on the weekends; or slinging hash, and serving up containers of potato and macaroni salad to persnickety or grumpy customers. My answer to their inquiries was simple, “I enjoy diversity and learning about new things when it comes to work.” While that reply was true most of the time, there were indeed plenty of times over the years—especially during the early days of my journalism career–when my response could have easily been, “I’m here because I need the extra cash to pay off some bills.”

Fortunately, after decades of working like a slave on multiple plantations and pulling double and triple duty workloads, the fast ride is finally slowing down. Fortunately, I have compiled hundreds of personal stories and experiences to write about from decades of working simultaneously in the trenches of my first love–journalism–and on the perimeters of other professions—retail, banking and security–I have come full circle. While once unfathomable, the notion of something called, semi-retirement may actually become a reality for me. And, dare I say it, the allure of actually receiving my first check from the Social Security Administration in several years, has me feeling ebullient and effusive! I’m a serial journalist and a serial moonlighter—I’ll always have something to say and do…..

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