In today’s world, job monogamy or sticking to one full-time job seems financially impossible. With the world yet to recover from the pandemic’s onslaught, plenty of workers still feel that having a side hustle or a gig on top of a full-time job is a must.
Side hustle economy (and gig economy, another closely related phenomenon) has been around for a few years, but it saw a definite rise during the pandemic. With employees retrenched or furloughed without pay, especially at the peak of the health crisis in 2020, many were forced to make do with side hustles or gigs to generate extra income. But as the world began to shift back to pre-pandemic work mode, most of these people have decided to stick with their side hustles, influencing others along the way.
Furthermore, in this new generation of workers, there’s been a growing distrust in the corporate system. The distrust intensified during the pandemic, as systemic issues rose to the surface. In response to this, Millennials and Gen Z workers have shifted their ideals, becoming more entrepreneurial compared to their predecessors.
The fast-shifting world of industries also contributed to the rise of the side hustle economy. Workers now have more options with so many emerging new industries. But the risk in getting involved in these industries is that they can turn out to be fads. Hence, while there are more options, there’s also a bigger chance of career instability.
All these conditions add up to necessitate having side hustles. But now, the question is, is it worth it to get a side hustle, or is job monogamy more sustainable in the long run? In this article, we’ll be looking at both job monogamy and the side hustle economy: the pros and cons, and how to choose which setup works for you.
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The state of job monogamy in 2022
Today’s workforce is composed of different generations with varying expectations from their jobs. Thus, their level of commitment to a job or company greatly differs. Of the generations actively working today — Boomers, Gen X, Millennials — Boomers are the most loyal and most highly satisfied, while Millennials are the most dissatisfied.
Millennials’ dissatisfaction stems from two reasons. The first is that they find no meaning in their jobs. This is crucial as the Millennials are often described as the generation driven by passion and purpose.
For a generation concerned with meaning and purpose in their jobs, one would think that Millennials hold less regard for money and compensation. But that’s where their second reason for work dissatisfaction lies. They feel poorly compensated. This may be because this is a generation that feels financially insecure in general, having come of age during a recession and being priced out of the housing market.
It should now come as no surprise that Millennials are the most likely to have side hustles among the generations working today.
While job monogamy still exists, more and more people are turning to side hustles. In the US, 93% of working Americans have side hustles. Their top two reasons? To make extra cash (63%) and to make ends meet (44%). In the UK, the side hustle economy is also on the rise: 25% of all UK adults are side hustlers, with 39% of them still in employment. A big portion of their income — 20% — is generated from these side hustles. On both sides of the Atlantic, Millennials and Gen Z are leading the charge.
Side hustle pros
With more and more people starting side gigs or planning on one, the pros and cons of side hustles are becoming more apparent. Is it worth it to get a side hustle? Here are some of its pros:
1. It can add to your financial security
Majority of side hustlers enjoy the extra income that comes with having side hustles. This extra income can help you pay your debts, save for your retirement fund, or simply lift you out of living from paycheck to paycheck.
2. It allows you to experience working for yourself
If you’re fully employed and plunging into side hustles for the first time, it will allow you to get a glimpse of what it feels like to be your own boss.
3. It gives you the ability to work on your passion (and eventually turn it into your full-time)
Apart from adding to your income, side hustles can allow you to work on your passion. With a side hustle, you can build a portfolio, expand your network, and eventually explore other career options.
4. It’s an excellent way to better yourself
You may find yourself working an extra 10 hours per week just to get a side hustle off the ground. That requires discipline. But on top of all the extra work, having side hustles can help you exercise your creativity and expand your knowledge of your passion. These can, in turn, help you grow your confidence in all aspects of your life.
Side hustle cons
With all the benefits of having a side hustle, is it all sunshine and rainbows? If you’re still asking, is getting a side hustle for you, here are reasons why it may not be, according to recruiter and #HIREBLACK founder, Niani Tolbert:
1. Time spent on side hustles = Time spent bettering yourself or recharging
Having side hustles can be time-consuming and draining, cutting into your rest time. And if they’re not aligned with your current career or future career goals, they may not be helping you develop your skills in the long run.
2. Side hustles can be a distraction
The immediate gratification of having side hustles can keep you from thinking long-term about your career and your future earning potential. Being tired all the time from all your hustles prevents you from career strategizing with a clear mind.
3. More stress = more impulse spending
The stress that comes from juggling a full-time job with side hustles can further influence your short-term thinking. You become too busy with all the hustles you have that you don’t have time to think of other ways you can save money.
How to choose between job monogamy and side hustles
Considering all the pros and cons of side hustles, should you stick to job monogamy, or is a side hustle better for you and your current needs? Before choosing sides, here are some questions to reflect on:
Why are you getting a side hustle?
Knowing your purpose for getting a side hustle — whether it’s for short-term cash goals or for long-term business goals — can provide you metrics on deciding whether your side hustle is successful or worth it.
Are you willing to invest?
Do you have skills or interests that you can turn into a side hustle?
Aligning your side hustle with something you’re already passionate about could help you generate a more sustainable side hustle idea.
Can you legally hold a side hustle as per your job contract?
Some companies nowadays are opening up to the idea of their employees being non-monogamous to their jobs. However, most may not have updated their policies to reflect this. Before committing to a side hustle, check your employment contract and talk to your employer first.
Both job monogamy and side hustling require different types of commitment. It’s up to you, the worker, to decide which one is right for you. When deciding, consider both the short term and the long term — your present situation and your future plans. Would job monogamy help you reach your goals, or are side hustles your path to a more sustainable future?
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Frequently asked questions about Job Monogamy
Q: What are the benefits of job monogamy?
A: Job monogamy, or sticking to one job or career for most of your working life, allows you to grow in your career and specialization. A longer tenure at work can also provide you with conventional financial stability.
Q: What is a side hustle economy?
A: Side hustle economy is an economic landscape where workers hold gigs, side projects, or part-time businesses on top of their full-time jobs.
Q: What side hustles pay the most?
A: While there’s no definitive consensus to this, the most in-demand side hustles are often online-based. Content creation, digital marketing, social media management, web design, and web development can be quite lucrative.
Q: What is the cheapest side hustle?
A: Every side hustle requires some sort of investment. Selling your used items, whether it’s your clothes, books, or rare ephemera requires almost zero cash-out. Some online influencers also start with zero cash investment — simply devoting their time and effort to churning out content.
Q: Can a side hustle make you rich?
A: While there are indeed stories of side hustlers becoming multimillionaires because of their side hustles, it’s not always the case. Having a side hustle alone won’t make you rich. It’s how you navigate that side hustle to turn it into a full-time money-making scheme, and what you do with the extra income you generate. Not all side hustles can become full-time business ventures. To help you earn more money and grow wealth, consider investing your extra income.