Gen Z: Here Are the Pros and Cons of Hustle Culture

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Millennials ushered in the popularity of hustle culture, meaning you’d have a second or third part-time or freelance job on top of your full-time job. Additionally, stringing multiple part-time gigs together in lieu of having one full-time job is also part of hustle culture. Basically, millennials normalized the idea that you’d have multiple jobs to make a living.

In 2020, it was reported that 50% of millennials had a side gig. Right behind them was Gen Z, with 46% of that generation reporting having some sort of side hustle. Now with the oldest members of Gen Z being 25, they might be considering making a freelance job on the side a permanent part of their lifestyle. Though it’s a great way to make extra cash, there are some pitfalls to hustle culture to be careful of as well.

Pro: You Can Make Great Money

Obviously, one of the best benefits of having multiple jobs is making more money than you would from just one job. It’s especially great if your side job isn’t as demanding as your main job, so you can do it in less time and maybe get enjoyment from completing it as an added bonus. Commonly, you can set your own rate with freelance jobs, so you might be able to bring in more per hour at a side job than you can at your full-time job. 

Side jobs can sometimes be limitless in how much work is available, so you can take on as much as you want and maybe make thousands more than you do at your full-time job. 

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Con: Burnout Is Real

Having limitless opportunities isn’t always a good thing. Perhaps you have a number in your head you’re trying to earn, so you take on more and more projects without having enough time to complete them all. Or, you want to look good for your employer or client, so you say you can complete something when in reality, completing that task will cause you to become extremely stressed. A lot of stress in your life can impact your physical and mental health, causing you to get sick more often, experience depression and speed up the aging process. 

You have more control than you think. You don’t have to take every job opportunity that comes your way simply because you don’t want to let people down. Be honest with yourself about what you feel comfortable completing before committing to someone else. Money and climbing the professional ladder isn’t as important as your health. 

Pro: You Can Manage Yourself

Often, when you take on freelance projects, you’re in control of when you work on them and how you decide to complete them. There’s no clocking in at 9 a.m. There’s no manager checking your progress every hour. You get to decide how your time is best managed and how you communicate with your client. You also have the freedom to decide how the project turns out, and don’t have to go through multiple review rounds with people at your company. The flow of work is between you and the client.

Con: Your Skill Set Might Stay Static 

Since the only one looking over your work is you, you’re limited to what you know. You don’t have a senior manager helping you grow or giving feedback that might enhance your abilities. Though you’ll get feedback from your client, most of the time, the client won’t guide you on how to make the changes to your work. Relying solely on freelance gigs to sustain you might fatigue how much you’re learning about your field. 

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Luckily, there are ways to combat this. You can always take a class to try and expand your knowledge and stay current with the trends happening in your area of expertise. You can also look for meetup groups of people in your field and compare notes to get more perspectives on what you’re working on. Doing independent research online will also help ensure that you’re not falling behind, and that you’re constantly sharpening your skills. 

Pro: You Can Meet Lots of People

The more gigs you take on, the more people you’ll meet. These people can help expand your network and pass your name along for jobs in the future. If they do work in a field you’d like to work in, they might be able to mentor you and prepare you for a more senior position when it becomes available. Having a recommendation of a respected person who has worked with you goes along way in any field. 

Con: Side Jobs Might Abruptly End

Often, side gigs might be project-based. When the project ends, the work is over (and so is the pay). There also might be conflicts that you can’t control, leading to your services no longer being needed. It’s important to know that side jobs are not always dependable, and that a backup plan or savings account might be needed just in case. 

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