Side Hustle. It’s become a ubiquitous term. Part of the lexicon of our times. Used to cover everything from second, third and fourth jobs to leveraging the sharing economy to an Etsy store to freelancing to blogging.
This thing that sits on the side of your “regular” hustle and delivers extra income. Something that consumes you and drives you and gives purpose. A million buzzfeed articles are written on this hustle and Facebook ads tell you can make a million dollars from it.
I have two problems with the term – “side” and “hustle”. It’s become a cute term that either misleads, diminishes or skates over bigger issues.
Hustle Hard. Stay Humble. A funky variant on work hard, wait your dues. I understand the marketing attraction of the word “hustle”. It implies energy, urgency and a modern take. To me it also conveys a sense of the shyster. Except in this case it’s not the side-hustlers hustling, it’s the people promoting it as the optimum lifestyle choice.
If people are having to work two or three jobs to make rent, that’s not a side hustle, that’s a problem with our economy and a widening gap between rich and poor. It means that there is a heavy reliance on, even exploitation of, casual workers.
When someone is starting the flames of a new business, it’s dismissive to call it a “side hustle”. It’s the start of something, the glorious beginnings. Calling it a “side hustle” demeans it something that will never become the bigger game. The same goes for those that have non-traditional jobs. That make an income from their freelancing careers, something they built themselves. That ain’t a side hustle. That’s a job.
Parents squeezing projects for themselves into their impossible lives aren’t “hustling”. They are searching for space to call their own.
And this blog? This is not a side hustle. It is a million miles away from hustle. This is where I escape. Where there is quiet. This is my bubble and my retreat.
I spend quiet Saturday mornings, before the house wakes, typing the thoughts that clutter my brain. A steaming cup of tea beside me as I watch the dawn breaking. There is no hustle. My heart beats slower here. Slower than it has all week. Right here, in this space, I am stripped back to nothing but my bare self. Me, a laptop, words and you.
It is here where I can breath. Can finally pause and claim a slice of time as purely my own.
This space offers a release valve from the constant pressure of income, of organisation, of parenting, of hustling. My life is full of hustle and bustle. I seek rest. And I find it here. In my opposite of a side hustle.
What’s your take on the side hustle?