The rebranding of second jobs as "side hustles" has enabled us to ignore the serious problems of a society where regular working hours are no longer enoughby Alex Collinson / August 19, 2019 / Leave a comment
A strange trend over the past few years is the rise of the so-called “side hustle.” A “side hustle” is additional work, either another job, or maybe a small business based around your hobby, that you take on outside of your main source of income to earn some extra money.
While the term itself isn’t new, the use of it, especially by media outlets, as a catch-all phrase for all secondary work is. The BBC has recently been asking people ‘what’s your side hustle?; Guardian Labs has a page dedicated to them. The phrase was barely Googled just a few years ago, but has grown increasingly popular since 2017.
For some, a side hustle is a chance to earn some cash from doing what they love. But many of the recommendations you find in articles with names like “99 side hustle business ideas you can start today!” are insecure jobs. These aren’t passion projects, but a way to make some desperately needed money because your current job isn’t paying enough to make ends meet.
Apart from a minor rebrand and some added aspirational rhetoric, it’s hard to distinguish side hustles from a much less-recent trend: having to juggle a number of jobs to help pay the bills. “Side hustles” might claim to offer flexibility, but in reality, many offer insecurity, unpredictable pay, and few workers’ rights.
A report by The Henley Business School found that people mostly do side hustles for financial reasons, with half saying they need the second income. This chimes with recent research by the TUC and the University of Hertfordshire, which shows that growing numbers of workers are turning to often insecure and badly paid platform work to top up lacklustre wages.
But even those side hustles that are actual passion projects raise their own issues. Another way of looking at it is commodifying your hobbies—looking at how you can turn the fun thing you do in your leisure time into a way of making money.
Regardless of which camp your side hustle falls into it, it’s likely to impact on your work-life balance. UK employees already put in the longest hours in the EU. It’s therefore unsurprising that, according to the Henley Business School’s report, 45 per cent of…