What should I do with my life? This is a question that I expect you have asked yourself enough times, yet most of us have either already or will in the future may be asked this exact question by others. But how would we be expected to answer this? Work, work work. As the more that we do this, the more likely we are to become “successful”, therefore what other genuine options would there be? Just think, as long as we study hard, have a job, have some kind of “productive hobby” on top of many side hustles, then at least we have the chance of being ok!
Come on! Let’s just be honest and admit this is rather boring? As I would imagine that from deep down, you would not want this to be your life.
Described by Doctor April Wilson as being “about a human doing rather than a human being” hustle culture involves the American values being the national preoccupation with work ethic and individualism. Of course, there are many ways in which it can be interpreted, but generally it relates to working considerably long hours, normal than the “average” 40 hour working week. Often this can be in aim of becoming more well off, and can sometimes be as a rejection to working standard hours “to make someone else rich”, and instead involve the person working horrifically long hours, to make themselves wealthy.
So if hustle culture is where all of us run about like chickens from from one task to another, then what on earth could a side hustle be? Well, the term side hustle originally came about in relation to the poor working conditions of black people in the first half of the 20th century. Traditionally used in black newspapers including the Chicago Defender, and described “what one did to survive in a climate hostile to the possibility of prosperity via traditional full-time employment.”
Now it is used to describe a job usually for additional income, which someone works alongside their full time job. Usually 6-15 hours are spent on it a week; while for 43%, it is a different job to their usual day job. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 Brits have a “side hustle”, on top of their normal day to day job. This “sharing economy” is increasing income inequality among the bottom 80 percent of earners, partly because some people working in the gig economy are highly educated, and performing traditional roles which would have previously gone to manual workers.
The Gig Economy
Ironically, markets within the gig economy have used hustle culture to idealize working for their companies. Which in reality, as most of us know, generally companies within the gig economy often get away with paying less than the minimum wage, workers are on zero hour contracts and workers do not receive the rights they would be entitled to if they were working for a different employer. An example of this would be with Uber, whereby their website had made a claim to the term, glorifying the term and portraying having a side hustle as freedom. This can lead to people seeing the Gig economy as a “flexible stepping stone to a better life”, contrary to the harsher reality, whereby most who take on a side hustle do it as they have no other alternative way of making ends meet; on top of the fact there aren’t usually any worker’s rights.
Furthermore it is estimated that 35 percent of the American workforce was a part of the gig economy. This may at first seem shocking, but considering the numbers of people with a “side hustle”, it is not too surprising.
Can Side Hustle Culture ever be Something to Yearn for?
One source likes to split a side hustle into two types. One as a “second gig”, which is basically something people would choose to do in order to make ends meet. The other, as the “life coach definition”, which would be another source of income, but it would also be something the person is passionate about. This way, many who may wish to pursue a side hustle, may actually be doing so because they wish to learn new skills or even be able to focus on a hobby, while getting paid a little. In fact, those earning £15,000 or less a year are significantly more likely to have a side hustle for their hobby rather than those earning £55,000 or more. However this could be because people on lower incomes feel that it is more important to be able to make money on their hobbies, however small the amount may be.
To sum up, the way I see it, side hustle culture seems to be about the “Gig economy” using the term to glamourise the harsh reality of it. This is seen by the way how Uber have adopted the term on their website. This has led to various elements of media, and really society to draw up upon hustle, and side hustle culture in a positive light. However, the way I see it, none of us were born on this planet to only work and do nothing else, it is exhausting and unhealthy. Instead, considering that we are human beings, it is important for us to be able to take time out and absorb our surroundings.
How can I trust anyone else, when I cannot trust myself?