BY CELIA AMPEL
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
Like all the best superheroes, Rebecca Amster has multiple identities.
After teaching her Wednesday morning Zumba class in Kendall, she ducks into a bathroom to change. Her plastic purple watch and “Suck It Up, Buttercup” T-shirt make way for a pulled-together suit. She’s off to save a kid in danger — or do her best, as a guardian ad litem for children of divorce.
Amster is one of 295,000 Floridian “superheroes” who hold more than one job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But unlike many workers who take on multiple jobs to make ends meet, Amster has one job for love, another for money.
She’s among more than 20 percent of American moonlighters who work a second job for personal, nonmonetary enrichment, according to the BLS. Almost 18 percent said they simply enjoyed the second job, and 3.7 percent said they wanted to build a business or learn a new set of skills.
“[Teaching Zumba] clears my mind,” Amster said. “The kinds of cases that I have as an attorney are incredibly emotionally taxing.”
According to BLS data, the more educated you are, the more likely it is you’ll work multiple jobs. About 6.6 percent of advanced-degree holders work more than one job, compared with 3.6 percent of high school graduates and 2.2 percent of high school dropouts. Teachers and health professionals are most likely to have a second occupation.
“More educated people are more likely to have flexible schedules,” BLS economist Steve Hipple said. “[For instance], maybe a college professor could do consulting work on the side.”
Florida has the lowest rate of multiple job-holders of any U.S. state: 3.4 percent of working Floridians have more than one job, compared with a national average of 4.9 percent.
That’s probably because of the relatively high number of people over 65 in Florida, Hipple said. The state also has fewer farmers than states like Iowa and Nebraska, which have some of the highest rates of multiple job-holding. Also, many experts acknowledge, South Florida has a significant but poorly measured underground economy, where workers may sell goods, help out a relative or do other cash-paid work that goes unreported to the government.
In the wake of the recession, and in a costly city like Miami, money is the motivation for about 64 percent of American multi-jobbers.
No matter what the motivation, it takes sharp time management skills and laser focus to balance two different worlds. From an accountant who doubles as a TV cycling analyst to the founder of a cosmetics company with a 9-to-5 job at Apple, these South Floridians work both for both money and love.
REBECCA AMSTER, ATTORNEY AND ZUMBA INSTRUCTOR
It’s the middle of the work week, but the family law attorney is worlds away from bickering divorcés and custody battles. As she leads her aerobics students through their last cool-down exercises, she gets a moment to breathe.
“I see some really nasty stuff, and Zumba helps me clear that from my mind,” she said. “It gives me distance.”
Amster, 38, has always known she wanted to help people, preferably kids. In high school, her superlative was “Most Likely To Become A Teacher.”
But when she graduated from the University of Miami School of Law, she wasn’t sure what type of law she wanted to practice. In divorce cases, she found she wasn’t defending her clients as vehemently as she should.
“I noticed that what I was really doing was advocating for the child, and the child was not my client,” Amster said.
After going back to school for a master’s degree in family therapy, Amster carved out a niche for herself: representing children in divorce cases. She deals with sexual abuse, mental illness, drugs and violence, “nauseating” cases that take an emotional toll, she said.
She started taking Zumba three years ago for fun. When the instructor broke her foot and asked Amster to take over the class, she panicked.
“I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree and a law degree, but at that time I knew almost nothing about the body,” Amster said.
She jumped into instructor certification and has been teaching at least twice a week ever since. After her Wednesday and Saturday classes, she moves straight to working with clients; Sunday is Amster’s only day off, and she spends it with her husband and two kids, ages 9 and 7.
“I wear a lot of hats,” she said. “It’s very true. But it clearly works for me.”
Each role helps her with the others, she said. Her law practice taught her to keep track of several clients and their particular needs, which carries over to Zumba class, where one student might need low-impact exercises.
And Zumba, in turn, helps her go with the flow.
“If you miss the beat, if you miss the cue, if you don’t get it right, it’s really OK,” she said. “So Zumba tempers that obsessive-compulsive piece that I think all lawyers have.”
FERNANDO ANGEL, ACCOUNTANT AND TV CYCLING ANALYST
At 59, Fernando Angel is switching gears.
The accountant is letting his firm dwindle to two or three clients while he pursues his dream: analyzing professional cycling for the beIN Sports TV network.
“Cycling is a passion,” said Angel, a Bogotá native who analyzes races in Spanish from the network’s Miami headquarters. “Accounting is a regular job that you do for a living, but the other one is for love.”
When beIN Sports launched in 2012, Angel received a call “out of the clear blue sky.” He figures he earned a reputation as a cycling promoter in Broward County, where he organizes 21 bicycle races a year. He took the analyst job but kept chugging along at his accounting firm.
In two years, Angel’s cycling commentary has become popular, he said. His “water cooler” segments about riders’ lives and his technical analysis have earned him fan messages from all over the U.S., Central America and Europe. But he’d like to do more.
Angel analyzes the Giro d’Italia, a 21-day race across Italy in May. His idea is to spend November through February in Europe, going through the stages with the cyclists and interviewing them to beef up his coverage. It’s just a matter of getting beIN Sports to bite.
If that doesn’t happen, Angel will go back to splitting his time between accounting and the world of competitive cycling.
He doesn’t mind working eight hours and then coming home to four or five hours of race research; he long ago learned to manage his time.
Angel’s boss at Whitecraft Industries, where he did accounting for furniture stores years ago, told him: “The day that you can do the 80 hours of work that you do in 40, that’s when you’ll make it.”
“That was a wake-up call for me,” Angel said.
He got faster and faster with accounting software, eventually using his skills to get Broward race results to cyclists quicker than any other organizer he knows. He hopes that work ethic is enough to take him to the next stage.
“I don’t know what destiny will have for me,” he said.
ERIN PAUL, FRENCH HORNIST AND WEB DESIGNER
As a classical musician, Erin Paul is about as far from the 9-to-5 lifestyle as a person can get.
“Sometimes your calendar’s really full and you’re doing a lot of things,” said Paul, who plays French horn for the Florida Grand Opera and the Palm Beach Symphony. “Other times, you’re looking at your calendar and you’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t have anything to do for the next three weeks.’ ”
To fill in the gaps, the 26-year-old builds websites for musicians, actors, artists and other performers. Paul tries to keep FancyDog Web Design small enough that it doesn’t distract from her real passion.
“The hard thing about Web design is that I’m not a computer programmer, and so I have to stay on top of what’s new,” she said. “To be full time as a web designer would take away from what I like to do.”
Finding full-time work as a musician is almost impossible, Paul said. Pay is low and competition is fierce. Plenty of doubters asked her, “What are you going to do with a music degree? How are you going to make a living?”
Paul’s answer was to earn a second music degree — this time a master’s in horn performance — and join the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia. She documented her travels on a WordPress blog, learning the basics of Web design.
Today, Paul lives what she calls “the freelance life.” She spends half of the year in Miami and half of the year in New York City, playing in the pit orchestras of ballets and Broadway plays. Between rehearsals and shows, she works on websites to pull in extra income.
It can be a tough balance — she can’t plan vacations in case a lucrative gig pops up, and she knows her income is only enough to support herself.
“Musicians don’t have kids when they’re 25, that’s for sure,” Paul said. “I’m not going to start a family for at least 10 years.”
Eventually, Paul hopes to get involved with arts administration: fundraising, grant-writing and bridging the communication gap that often exists between an orchestra’s board of directors and its musicians.
She occasionally worries about losing her job. But with Broadway ticket sales climbing higher, Paul believes that Americans raised on a diet of “dumbed-down, bubblegum culture” are beginning to search for something more substantial.
“People are going to eventually figure out that they want steak,” she said. “And they’re going to go hear the symphony.”
ALEJANDRO BADIA, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON AND HEALTHCARE ENTREPRENEUR
Alejandro Badia believes everyone who has taken the Hippocratic oath should try to improve the business of healthcare.
The orthopedic surgeon, 50, also runs his own urgent-care center two floors above his private practice in Doral. OrthoNOW allows people to drop in and receive specialized treatment for minor injuries like fractures and sprains.
Badia didn’t have a clue about the urgent-care business when he opened the center. He just found it wasteful that so many of his injured patients had spent time and money in an emergency room or general urgent-care first.
“I got to thinking, ‘That makes no sense,’ ” Badia said.
He became a franchisee of DoctorsNow, an urgent-care chain that focused on linking walk-in patients with specialists. But he made mistakes: His center wasn’t on enough insurance plans quickly enough, and he spent too much on advertising. He had to close the business.
In 2013, Badia established the OrthoNOW franchise system to attract the 30 to 40 percent of urgent-care visitors who have musculoskeletal injuries. He splits his work weeks 60/40 between seeing patients at the Badia Hand to Shoulder Center and managing his business.
The contracts with potential franchisees, administrative tasks and marketing materials can be overwhelming to Badia, who is still primarily a clinician. He delegates much of the work to his business staff. “I know my limitations,” he said.
As the second OrthoNOW center opens in Weston and the business expands to 15 more locations around the world, Badia knows his time will be more strained. He might have to cut down on the academic papers and lectures he gives.
Ultimately, he said, it will be worth it to cut down on waste and inefficiency for orthopedic patients.
“I really feel that I’m doing something that could have a really big impact on healthcare,” he said.
ROSHELL ROSEMOND, APPLE GLOBAL SUPPLY MANAGER AND COSMETICS COMPANY FOUNDER
Roshell Rosemond doesn’t go out Friday or Saturday nights. To be honest, the 32-year-old would rather spend that time working.
Rosemond, a 9-to-5 global supply manager for Apple, uses every free minute to build her Sunrise-based makeup company, Liquid Courage. The Fort Lauderdale native flies between Florida and Cupertino, Calif. to balance her logistics job and her cosmetics passion.
It started with a “Eureka moment” four years ago, when Rosemond surprised her younger sister with a trip to a makeup convention in New York City. Her sister had makeup brushes all over the counter, and in talking to cosmetics company representatives, Rosemond got a flash of inspiration.
“What if there were a Swiss army knife of makeup brushes?” she thought.
In January 2013, she filed for a provisional patent for her catch-all cosmetic applicator. She joined forces with a makeup artist to start Liquid Courage, so named because the company’s bold lipsticks give women a confidence boost.
About a year old, Rosemond’s e-commerce business has 200 to 300 customers and about 2,700 Instagram followers. The three lip lacquers and nine matte lipsticks often come with customized tube designs and a thank-you note from Rosemond — the types of perks that take time.
“You really have to be laser-focused,” Rosemond said.
She spends three or four hours on Liquid Courage every weekday and sometimes up to 15 hours on her days off.
“I don’t watch TV,” Rosemond said. “I try to be very effective with my time. If I’m getting my hair done and I’m under the dryer, I’m on my computer.”
Rosemond hopes that someday soon, Liquid Courage will be her full-time job. Until then, she has to make do with seeing her friends a little less so she can work a little more.
“A lot of people might say I’m boring, but that’s fine,” she said.
TOP FIVE PRIMARY OCCUPATIONS FOR MEN WITH MULTIPLE JOBS, 2013:
1. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
3. Secondary school teachers
4. Postsecondary teachers
5. Health diagnosing and treating practitioner support technicians
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
TOP FIVE PRIMARY OCCUPATIONS FOR WOMEN WITH MULTIPLE JOBS, 2013:
- Postsecondary teachers
- Dental hygienists
- Recreation and fitness workers
- peech-language pathologists
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics