Why Side Hustles Are a Necessary Evil for 32% of Workers

Why Side Hustles Are a Necessary Evil for 32% of Workers
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Student Loan Hero

By Susan Shain

We hear so much about side hustles. They’re the new thing. They’re fun. They’re trendy.

But recently, the darker side of side hustles has started to reveal itself: the unexpected costs, the low wages, and the lack of benefits.

A CareerBuilder survey of nearly 4,000 people across the U.S. provided further perspective. Although 32 percent of workers have a second job, those side gigs likely aren't passion projects.

A second job isn’t always fun

Of those surveyed, 67 percent said they didn’t want to turn their side gig into a full-time job. And 71 percent said they didn't plan to own a business.

That's contrary to much of the conversation about the supposed freedom and excitement of side hustles.

Furthermore, 42 percent of respondents said they were more passionate about their day job than their side hustle. Only 32 percent said they were more passionate about their side hustle. And 25 percent said they weren’t passionate about either.

Here’s who is working a second job

The reason people work a supplemental job is simple: to earn more money.

Why? Because of rising housing costs. Because of crippling student loan debt. Because of an inability to earn enough money at a single job.

“While we continue to be at what is considered full employment, the quality and pay of jobs isn’t always what workers want, causing them to seek out new ways to supplement their full-time income,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

Many people who work a second job are members of populations that face more economic challenges than others.

For example, 36 percent of people earning less than $35,000 have second jobs — compared to 19 percent of people earning more than $100,000.

Then there’s women: 35 percent of women have second jobs, but only 28 percent of men do. That might be because women carry two-thirds of the nation’s student loan debt, head nearly 80 percent of single-parent households, and earn less money.

As for race, 46 percent of black workers have a second job — compared to 26 percent of white workers.

A likely explanation? The chart below and stats like this one: Four years after graduation, black borrowers have almost twice as much student loan debt as white borrowers, according to a Brookings Institution report.

So maybe it’s time to change the conversation about side hustles.

Maybe it’s time we stop lauding them and instead acknowledge the fact that, for most people, they’re a necessary evil, not an outlet for empowerment.

What to do if you’re struggling financially

None of that really matters, though, if you’re struggling. If that’s the case, you probably care less about the conversation and more about ways to keep going.

Here are a few ideas that might help:

That said, there are only so many hours in a day.

So if you don’t have time for another gig, you’ll need to consider earning more money during your 40 hours. That might mean job hopping, gaining new skills, or asking for a raise.

As the 32 percent of Americans working a supplemental job know, life in the current economy is tough.

We can hope things will get better and vote for people who support our interests. But in the meantime, take care of yourself and remember you’re not alone in the struggle.

Why Side Hustles Are a Necessary Evil for 32% of Workers originally appeared on Student Loan Hero.

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