It’s not easy being a Millennial, though many of the previous generations aren’t willing to admit that. Plenty of Millennials have jobs on the side, teaching niche arts and crafts, doing technical design work on websites, writing freelance for websites, the list goes on. They’re entrepreneurial by nature, so why is it these side jobs are the only things sustaining them?
The ability to make your own work can be called having a hustle. You’ve got to maximise the potential of your skills, market them correctly, and get the employment that pays the bills. It’s all well and good to hustle long enough to buy a new car, but what’s the point if you’re just going to use it to be an Uber driver so you have another side job to keep paying the bills?
Maybe that’s just the way things are for young people now. Decades of excess have lead to a contraction of the economy, and so young people have to pay the price of scraping by however they can. Millennials are smart and in touch with the modern world; they’re surely adaptable enough not to let this phase them. Right?
Herein lies the problem. Side jobs are financially oriented, but effectively having to get a second job isn’t security in any sense. Wondering how you can cover your phone bill each month is not living a life of extravagance or an example of having too much expenditure. That phone is likely essential to the hustles that are making you money in the first place.
Since 2008 things just haven’t been the same. As regular jobs decrease in number, and their wages become inadequate, the workforce is flooded with people looking for that extra income source. Graduates have it the worst, with no resources or networks to work from, their chances of finding something secure are cut off at the knees.
Life can always be a struggle, though. It’s not a unique situation for the Millennials; the second job was the direct ancestor of the side-hustle. Some jobs didn’t pay enough before the recession, and they certainly don’t after it. Any public services seem to have the worst luck. Underpaid, overworked, and under scrutiny and pressure unseen of in the private world. It’s just sheer will and a sense of public duty that keeps these people doing these essential and worthwhile jobs that nobody seems to care about. The side-hustle keeps them surviving, barely.
As for those without College education, a side-hustle is the best they can get. As a positive, there’s at least variety in the hustles you can get into right now, full of your Ubers and your TaskRabbits. Go-fers and cabbies, in essence. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Maybe, for this reason, it’s unwise to dismiss career advice instantly from older people. The job market has changed more than they’ll ever know, but the struggle has remained the same through generations.
It’s important to note, if your side job is based on a passion for something, don’t try and make it your day job no matter what. It’s a harsh fact that if you have a passion for something, about a million other people have it too, and they’re all vying for the same opportunities you are. Don’t be afraid to take the job that isn’t your ideal if it comes to you; it’s more security than others can hope for.
The side-job is the great icon of the Millennial. It represents their hopes and dreams, but also their means to get by. This generation will be defined by its adaptability above all else.