Do You Have a Side Gig? You’re Not Alone

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Many professionals these days have side gigs. In my own circle, one friend in marketing works a few hours on weekends in a winery tasting room.  Another commercial real estate professional spends time working for a painter.  A school librarian friend takes on freelance graphic design projects … an IT professional as a DJ … a pharmaceutical rep with a monogramming business ….

Reasons vary, but as I consider them, it seems I know an almost equal number of professionals with a second source of income as I do those with just one primary job.

In fact, Forbes reported in late 2015 that by 2020 40% of Americans will be part of the “gig economy”  …  choosing to have “side gigs” and the flexibility that comes with freelancing.

They cite three influencing factors (and I offer a fourth):

  1. Imposed costs of health-care reform on employers
  2. Employee’s need for greater flexibility … and more security (a remnant of the recession)
  3. Technology creating new job opportunities and greater flexibility
  4. Opportunity for creative outlets or to try new career avenues

Forced by lower pay (brought on by the recession) and the lingering realization that jobs aren’t completely secure, workers are plugging holes and protecting themselves … and employers are scooping up all that flexible talent.

If you’re one of the growing number of workers with a side gig or you’re just considering the possibility, juggling jobs is hard. A second job might very well enable you to stick your toe into a new field that’s always intrigued you.  And, of course, it means you’ll earn more. But it comes with added pressure, more schedule challenges and less free time.

Most of the people I know with side gigs have chosen work that is completely unlike their primary occupation. If you sit at a desk all day staring at a computer screen, choosing a side gig that gives you an opportunity to move around more or socialize a bit might make sense.  If your day job is more social, e.g., teacher, choosing to pick up work that enables you to sit quietly uninterrupted might work better for you.

It’s also important to consider that some employers have guidelines for second jobs. Know what those rules are so you don’t get caught trying to sneak a second job under the radar, suggests

Whether you freelance, work hourly or have a commission-based arrangement, middle-class Americans are quickly filling their free time with work. Finding balance and making your main job the priority can be challenging. Understand the time and activities you’ll need to squeeze to make it all work.

Agree? Disagree? Add your insightful comments here.