Second Shift: ‘My second job is a stress releaser’

Richard Martinez
Richard Martinez teaches Zumba at several locations in the city in addition to working at a law firm.
Credit: Tiba Vieria

We all know living in the city is expensive. So how do people do it? Our series, Second Shift, features people working more than one job to make it work, while still finding time to have fun. Want to be featured? Email

Name: Richard Martinez
Age: 46
Residency: The Bronx, New York City
Lives with: Wife and 18-year-old daughter
Number of jobs: 2

Briefly describe your two jobs.

My primary job is as a records manager at a law firm, which I work Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. I also teach Zumba fitness classes Monday through Saturday, starting around 6 p.m.

Do people at the law firm mind you leaving at 5:30 to go teach Zumba?

Not at all. I always have my Blackberry with me, so I’m in constant communication. Also, my classes are all close to the office, so if I need to come back in after a class I can.

How did you get into Zumba and turn it into a second job?

When I was 39, I was 85 pounds overweight. I had tried every diet plan known to man and everything worked, but the weight would come back as soon as I went off the diet. I knew I needed to make a change and I made a promise to myself that I was not going to turn 40 being obese. So, I ordered Zumba videos, but I couldn’t even do two choreographies without getting winded. I went to the gym and basically lived in the gym for four months, going before and after work, and I lost all the weight. I wanted to bring Zumba up in intensity. The field was dominated by women, and I wanted to bring men into the class and show that the moves can be moderated so everyone — regardless of fitness level — can do it. So I got licensed and began teaching.

So this job is not for the money at all.

No, not at all. I don’t depend on the money, but I wouldn’t do it for free either because it’s time away from my family, so I need it to be tangible. I see it as a stress releaser.

Where do you live in the city?

I live in the Bronx, in a gated community. I have two daughters, 25 and 18. My oldest is a teacher and out on her own, and my youngest is a senior in high school. … I was born and raised in the projects in the Bronx and had a very poor childhood. I didn’t want my kids to know what it was like to struggle financially. We live in a beautiful home and have a good life.

How did you know how to succeed? What motivated you when you were young?

My sister was the only person [in my life] with a professional job. I didn’t even know what she did, but when I was a kid and went to her office, I knew I wanted that. Also, my mother died when I was 17 and I promised her on her deathbed that I would make it and push through. That has always been my driving force. When I was a kid, there was no expectation to go to college, but I didn’t want that for my kids. You live by example, so both my wife and I went to college. I got my master’s [degree]. When we had kids, it was not a discussion of whether they would go to college or not, just a discussion of where.

Richard teaches at the Ailey Extension on Saturdays at 11:35 a.m. Click here for info.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence




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