The other day, I was having lunch with my friend when the subject of our jobs came up. He started blushing then tried to change the topic. I insisted until he had no choice but to tell me. He then hesitantly said that he was delivering food for extra cash on his free time. He went on to explain how embarrassed it made him feel because he’s overqualified for the job and that it’s a temporary source of income. I was confused as I saw nothing shameful about that.
More often than not, we’ll find ourselves doing things we don’t particularly enjoy to achieve a goal in life. Whether it’s working as a delivery man or selling lemonades, everything we do teaches us something and builds our character. Meg Jay in The Defining Decade would argue that this is how we acquire identity capital, “the repertoire of individual resources we build over time.”
My friend needed a quick way to make money without having to quit his job so he picked up a food delivery gig. You might need to work as a bartender on weekends to pay rent next month. Or you might have to work at a call center to afford next semester’s tuition. Whatever you do, be clear about the why. Keep your long-term goals in mind and let that motivate you.
Doing menial jobs isn’t a step back, but a step forward in the direction of accomplishing your goals. What you find degrading could be someone else’s passion. Your perception of things greatly influences the way they affect you. Where my friend saw shame, I saw courage. I saw someone who could clearly assess his needs and find ways to meet them. “This quality of being resourceful will take you far in life.” I told him.
One of my early jobs consisted of giving out flyers to strangers in the streets. Did I enjoy it? Not particularly. To my creative soul, it was the most repetitive job but I kept reminding myself why I was doing it. I needed money for the equipment to start my YouTube channel. Did it make me more comfortable talking to strangers? Absolutely! I was working full-time and making $15/hour and I felt so rich! I was able to save and buy the camera I started video blogging with. Win-win? I’d say so!
Everyone has to do tedious work at some point in their lives and for whatever reason. These jobs are not reserved to a particular class of people.
If you’re conscious about the way you spend your time and aware of the results your actions will yield, then it’s a worthy investment. Own your choices. They have a purpose. Embrace your hustle. It’s a part of who you are.
What side hustles do you have going on right now? I’d love to know in the comments.