Why adopting a side hustle could be the key to finding a more meaningful career


Let me start by painting a “hypothetical” picture for you…

You’re a young professional, who graduated from college sometime in the last decade. You hustled hard and successfully navigated the treacherous interview process, ultimately landing yourself a decent entry level job in a great city surrounded by your college friends. For a few years, you get caught up in the post-grad lifestyle. You feel proud to be earning your own way for the first time in your life, and fortunate to have a job in the first place given the economic climate. But somewhere along the way, something starts to itch.

It dawns on you that you were so focused on finding a job that you didn’t really take the time to figure out the job or career path you actually wanted, and what would make you truly happy in the long term.

For many Millennials, this hypothetical scenario may sound quite familiar. Our generation is prioritizing meaning and purpose at work over salary and status. But as most of us are learning (or have already learned the hard way), it isn’t easy to identify what exactly provides us with a true sense of purpose. It often requires some serious self-discovery, which takes time, energy, and sometimes even financial investment.

In this context, it shouldn’t be surprising that more than 90% of Millennials expect to stay in a job for fewer than three years. Many of us find ourselves switching jobs in search of something we can’t exactly pinpoint, tired of going through the motions and feeling trapped in our current situation. Unfortunately, in many cases job-hopping is just a bandaid — a temporary solution and excuse for us to ignore some of the deeper questions that might require more effort to answer. Two of the most frequently cited reasons for putting off a journey of self-discovery are:

1. I don’t have the time.

2. I can’t afford it.

So, how do you overcome these excuses and find the resources to understand what makes you tick, rather than waiting until it’s too late?
This is where the side hustle comes in.

As Millennials, we are incredibly fortunate to be young and uninhibited during an unprecedented time of transition in the workplace. Whether you refer to it as the freelance economy, the peer to peer economy, or the gig economy, it comes down to one simple principle: our ability to sell our most precious asset — time — to whom we want, when we want, doing exactly what we want.

What does this mean for you? Three words: No more excuses. Thanks to new platforms like TaskRabbit and GigSalad, you no longer have to be at the mercy of an employer or a 9–5 schedule — you can have the freedom to discover and pursue what truly makes you happy.

Of course, this will only work if you’re strategic about it. For most of you, a side hustle is likely to remain just that: something you do on the side to support yourself while you’re searching for a more meaningful career. If you’re going to do this, you have to keep the bigger picture in mind.. Your goal is to take the time to discover what you love and find a way to make it a central part of your life. Somewhere at the intersection of your passions, strengths, and the market need is your sweet spot — your purpose.

With a variety of tools and resources available, you have the ability and permission to take a breath. Read books, listen to podcasts, take a class like Purpose Generation’s Find Your Purpose Workshop, and challenge yourself to act outside your comfort zone. Whatever you do, don’t waste another day going through the motions only to find yourself unfulfilled. Pursue a side hustle and start your journey towards a more meaningful career.

Your sweet spot is waiting to be discovered.

Originally published at purposegeneration.com on August 18, 2015.

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