Sink or Swim — Don’t Tread Water

Why are twenty-somethings obsessed with side hustles?

That’s the question Catherine Baab-Muguira asked in this Quartz article everyone’s talking about.

Catherine’s answer is spot on — she says:

The side hustle offers something worth much more than money: A hedge against feeling stuck and dull and cheated by life. This psychological benefit is the real reason for the Millennial obsession, I’d argue, and why you might want to consider finding your own side hustle, no matter how old you are.

I can’t agree more about Millennials feeling stuck. I’ve felt stuck before. I know some of my friends feel stuck too sometimes.

But I don’t think side hustling is going to help my generation get unstuck either.

Side hustling — at the level Catherine describes — is just another form of procrastination.

Sure it might feel good. But it’s what’s stopping you from doing the real work you need to do to build a fulfilling career and life that won’t leave you working 60+ hour weeks for 10 different bosses.

And c’mon, if you’re only netting $415 a year before taxes guest blogging, I wouldn’t call yourself a hustler. Babysitters probably make more than that these days. Even the kid down your street mowing lawns. Yet, I don’t see either of them calling themselves hustlers #teenhustle.

There’s a big difference between hustling to pay the bills and hustling to stop feeling sorry for yourself and your circumstance.

The latter is not hustling.

Some of you reading this might disagree. That’s fine. But I really hope this makes you think about how you’re spending your time.

I don’t knock the hustle — though it may seem.

In fact, I think having a side hustle can be a good thing. If you’re a full-time writer and you do guest blogging on the side to get more experience and reps — that’s good. You’re using your time wisely and honing your craft. Even if you’re not getting paid what you think you deserve, over time and as your writing improves, you’ll be able to charge more in your career.

But if you’re buying a Chevy Cruze to #fuelyourhustle a.k.a. moonlight as an Uber driver, you better be doing that because you need to put food on the table or your bills are overdue or you have dreams of becoming a professional stock-car driver.

It shouldn’t be something you do to relieve the mental stress that every twenty-something ever experiences trying to “figure out” their lives.

If you’re doing that, you’re treading water and it’s only a matter of time before you sink.

I’ve noticed a common thread in most books on writing and entrepreneurship. The authors typically dedicate one page or a paragraph to express their frustration with how their careers are constantly marginalized by other professions.

For example, there are a lot of people who work 30+ years in one field and then right before they retire, someone inevitably asks, Hey John, what are your plans when you’re retired? And John will say, I don’t know, maybe I’ll write a book.

As if writing a book was so casual.

The same goes for entrepreneurship. How many of your friends have said, If I don’t make it in the corporate world, I can always fall back on my business idea. 

I’ve said this before: the goal of Success Formula Daily is to help you succeed in life and in your career. I want to teach you to swim; not tread water.

If you know someone who needs to hear this advice, send them this link and have them sign up for Success Formula Daily.

Have a great weekend!

Nick Papple
Managing Editor
Success Formula Daily