In college, I was the classic definition of overworked and underpaid. And I loved every second of it. From my sophomore year on, I never held less than three jobs at a time. I was double majoring (as well as minoring) in different subjects with no overlapping courses, I joined a sorority, I was a fitness instructor, I did all the things.
I do not recommend this, as it may or may not cause you to be so stressed out that the mere thought of going back to college sends you into a terrified spiral. Although, the campus culture is now such that everyone is stressed out anyway, whether or not they’re doing 30 different activities and majors (but this post isn’t about the toxic overworking culture that is a college campus, I’ll get into that later).
The point here is that college gave me unrealistic expectations: the expectation that a gym would be walking distance from my house, the expectation that I would just perpetually have opportunities to make new friends, but also, the expectation that I could, all day and everyday, do all of the things.
Back in college, the feeling of waking up at 6:30am and go-go-going all day until 9pm was exhilarating and fun. It felt like I could be fulfilled in life by all of my obligations. After all, I had one job that helped me to express my creativity, one that made me exercise regularly, courses that helped me to explore and learn new concepts, and events where I made new friends. I couldn’t want for anything more.
This makes starting your first job out of college rather jarring. In most jobs, you have one particular set of skills that you use every day ad nauseum. But that one, singular job takes over your entire life. Instead of working 2 different jobs for 2 hours and going to class for 6, you’re doing the same thing for 8 hours a day.
For some people, that’s awesome. They only want to use those set of skills and when they get home and go to sleep, they can rest assured that they’ve done a great job that day. For someone that’s used to going all day…well, let’s just say that it can feel a bit repressive.
One of the lessons that I have learned (for the most part) and keep hearing from the other “adults” around me is: you can have a lot of interests and you can have them active in your life, but only ONE of them can be a job. Obviously, this post is about the side hustle so I’m not saying that you can’t have more than one way to make money. What I’m saying is (if you’re like me and have 3,450,084 different interests):
No one job is going to be able to fulfill you by engaging all of your interests. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to start in what you thought was your dream job and still go home feeling like you’re not fulfilled.
That’s why we have: the side hustle.
First, I’d like to take a minute to say that I love how the millennial generation has coined this term. What was once the side job is now the side hustle. I guess we needed a newer, sexier term for it if all of us were going to need one to help pay off our student loans. But I digress…
My full-time job is great. I get to use critical thinking, work in a great office, and interact with people that I really like, but I have other interests that I really need to have present in my life to make me feel fulfilled. One of the problems that I run into regularly is that if I don’t have any external accountability, I have a hard time actually sitting down to do those things.
So it hit me: why not find a way to get paid to do them?
And that’s when I started researching freelancing websites. I started my blog. I speak with anyone I know who has a small business to see how I can help out. Because even if you don’t work in a certain industry or can’t get an internship, that doesn’t meant that you can’t find ways to get unique experiences!
Now I get paid to write creatively, manage social media accounts, and translate literature from French to English. My partner works as a handyman on the side so he can get his Mr. Fix-It fix on the nights and weekends.
Like playing video games? My ex streams himself playing video games and is well on his way to getting affiliate status so he can start earning money doing what he loves. It can be that simple!
I think that it’s really important not to give up on things that you love to do. Every little thing you do can be considered experience in one way or another, and then, someday that side hustle you love to do might just become your full-time job.
Just don’t sit around waiting for someone to pay you for what you love to do. Get out there, do the thing you love, and research others in that field! You never know when the right opportunity will become available!