The myth of the “side hustle”

Part 2 of my musings on an ongoing, creatively-based, financially-stable life.

So… Here’s the thing.  I hate the term “side hustle”.  I hate the culture of the “side hustle”.  I kind of hate the sharing economy.  I mean, yes, it’s great that anyone and their uncle can derive income from their car/house/free time, but, like, it’s also incredibly shitty.

First of all, what the hell is wrong with us as a culture that we’re like “yeah, I work a regular job, which severely underpays me and offers me no benefits, but isn’t it *neat* that I can put strangers in my spare bedroom/car during my off time to make ends meet?”  But, you know, “side hustles” aren’t just AirBnB or Uber rides.  Side hustles are blogs, TaskRabbit jobs, testing websites, filling out surveys, entering contests, reviewing products, and all manner of other things.  What the heck, Raven Gemini, you say, you’re trashing “side hustles” on a blog that is, essentially, your side hustle.

Maybe it’s semantics.  I don’t think of this blog as a side hustle.  (Full Disclosure: I don’t currently derive any income from this blog.  I have ads and I use affiliate links, but these things have not, at this time, generated sufficient income to pay me out.  Nor do I make blog posts solely with the hope of them generating income.  I write because I like it!) When I think of the term “side hustle”, I think about the things we do that involve invasion of our own privacy, compromise of our comfort, and/or wildly inefficient use of our time.  Some people enjoy doing these things, and feel they are worth the drawbacks, but, with few exceptions, I really do not.

I mean, yes, I *could* spend an hour on Slice The Pie each afternoon and make myself an extra $20 a month.  (I did try to do this once.)  I could do that instead of being on Facebook or watching Match Game ’78 or staring into the existential void.  But, honestly, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy doing those things.  (Even staring into the void.)  Don’t get me wrong, I could definitely use the $20.  The point is, I’m not willing to sacrifice an hour’s worth of joy in my life every afternoon for the sum total of 60 cents.

I guess what I’m getting at is the idea that side hustles are the symptom of a broken economic system, not some magic pill we’ve discovered to save ourselves from the same.  Side hustles are another expectation to be heaped upon millennials, to keep us busy and remind us that our place will always be at the butt-end of the service industry.  Are they a way to make ends meet? Sometimes.  But at what cost?  Free time?  Productivity at your so-called main job?  Sleep?  Sanity?  Privacy?

We’re currently so busy trying to live up to the expectation that we can/should be Jacks of All Trades that we forget that the phrase ends with “Master of None”.  It means that we’d rather glorify being sort-of ok at a million things instead of being really fantastic at one or two.  And I’m guilty of this too.  Just look at everything I do to survive.

So… Raven Gemini, what’s your solution?  I’m sorry to tell you, there is no magic pill.  Mindfulness and self-awareness will go a long way.  Don’t fall for those Penny Hoarder articles that promise you that downloading these 10 phone apps will get you an extra $250 per  year.  They might.  But they usually involve you wading through a million ads or signing up for spam emails that will cost you far more than $250 worth of your time and productivity to delete.

Remember, there is a compromise space between doing the things you love and keeping your bills paid.  We’re creative professionals, which means that we get to be really lucky sometimes.  We get to make art for a living.  And, of course, when all else fails, fall back on a cliche: I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy.  I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

Getting out of debt and into Vintage Living


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