In addition to a full-time job, many employees are now embracing supplementary employment in the form of a side hustle. As opposed to a part-time job with strict schedules and expectations, a side hustle is typically freelance or contract in nature; something entrepreneurial that gives the employee the flexibility to decide how and when they are going to work.
A side hustle is more than just added income. If that were the case, the employee would first look for overtime opportunities within their current jobs. Instead, this trend is more about passion. Today’s employee wants to do more than just earn a paycheck, we want work that matters. The truth is, not everyone is going to be totally happy with every job. We tend to associate this lack of job satisfaction with our own sense of personal fulfillment and success. There are companies with fantastic work/life balance policies and wonderful managers who offer stretch assignments and learning opportunities to enhance professional growth to employees who are looking to get more out of their jobs; however, careers may still fall short of our ideal ‘dream job’. So, while the supplemental income is nice; these projects are more about personal development, long-term ambitions, and professional identity.
In the past, employees were concerned that having a side-project would make them appear disloyal or uncommitted to their work. Personal life was expected to be left at home. Today, more companies are seeing the benefits of hiring the ‘whole employee’ because experience, even when it is not industry-specific, is still acknowledged and valued. Although views and policies have changed, it is still important for the employee to be cautious.
Chances are, the employer has a clear policy with a specific stance on proprietary information. First, review your employee handbook, specifically your employment contract, non-disclosure agreement, and/or any non-compete clauses. Next, talk to your boss. A good manager will encourage their team to talk about the projects they pursue outside of work, and the resulting skills and insights they develop. It should also be the employee’s responsibility to document these discussions and agreements with Human Resources. Always be sure to respect your company’s time and resources by not letting the two jobs overlap and by making sure to keep the side hustle work for evenings, weekends, vacation time, etc. Employees must set priorities and accomplish their daily responsibilities despite the time spent on a side hustle. Finally, balance your main and secondary jobs without burn-out by keeping your health and well-being in mind as you work the additional hours.
Side hustles can be incredibly motivating and gratifying. Not only is an employee able to learn more about something that was previously just an interest, but by exploring passions and testing ideas you can learn relevant skills to complement and enhance future aspirations as well as current careers. A side hustle provides the opportunity to acquire valuable skills outside of work that can make you more effective in your day job. You could strengthen your specific technical skills, sharpen your time-management skills by balancing multiple priorities while trying to increase efficiency, or establish negotiation skills as you work with your own clients. These skills are mutually beneficial to both you as an employee and your current employer because they can easily increase your in-office productivity. By focusing some time on a side hustle that you love, you clear your mind and strive for more achievement, displaying more energy and ambition at your day job.
In the end, companies today want to hire a well-rounded employee who shows commitment to achievements both inside and outside of the office. No matter the field, an employee with a side hustle will be nurturing their soft-skills; those qualities which enable someone to interact effectively with other people. Personal attributes such as curiosity, passion and flexibility will make a candidate more attractive to employers. A curious employee will have the ability to take a risk, possibly fail, but learn and try again. An employee with passion is caring, resilient, and possesses the drive to keep trying. A flexible employee will adapt and thrive in various scenarios while learning and encouraging others around them. In addition to these attributes, an employee with a side hustle will have various experiences and unique perspectives on how things can be done, they will stand out and be seen as valuable additions to the team.