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Should You Get a Side Job?

Topics: Career Profiles
Side Job
Image Credit: Pexels / Tim Savage

There are a lot of different reasons for getting a side job. And while the arrangement can come with a lot of benefits, there are drawbacks too. So, after weighing the pros and cons, should you consider getting a side job?

Side jobs used to be a rarity, but these days more and more people are taking on one or more additional gigs. Why has this trend taken off so significantly in recent years? And will these opportunities continue to expand going forward? Understanding the pros and cons, and the common motivations behind taking on a side job, can help you determine whether or not the arrangement is right for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Economics is a major factor

There are lots of good reasons to take a side job. One major factor (arguably the most significant one) is economics. These days, a lot of people feel that they simply can’t afford not to take on additional work opportunities.

It’s true that unemployment is low right now. It’s actually below four percent so far this quarter for the first time since the year 2000. However, wage growth remains stagnant. In other words, a lot of people who want to work are employed, but many still struggle to make ends meet. So more and more people are taking on side jobs out of necessity in an effort to improve their financial circumstances.

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2. The way we work is changing

Research indicates that a lot of workers are taking on side jobs these days. Some say that the trend is at a twenty-year peak with 7.6 million Americans working more than one job.

Economics isn’t the only factor impacting this trend. Technology has had a tremendous impact on the way we work. There are so many more opportunities available these days, to freelance, or telecommute, or attempt to make a little extra money working at a hobby during off-hours. The opportunities to attempt to put a little more money in your pocket are available. Naturally, many people are taking advantage of them.

Continued technological advances, and the general public’s comfort with working in alternative ways, should continue to expand these kinds of opportunity in the years to come. It seems that side jobs, and other alternative work arrangements, aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

3. Taking on a side job comes with its pros and cons

If you’re considering taking on a side job, there are a few things you ought to keep in mind. Sure, taking on additional work could boost your financial situation. Spending more time at work isn’t the only drawback though. Don’t forget to take into account the cost of splitting your attention. You might not have quite as much energy to invest in your primary job if you take on something on the side.

Teachers have been doing this for decades. Teachers are five times for likely to take on a side gig that the average full-time worker. A lot of them take other jobs during the summer months and many work side jobs to make ends meet during the school year too. Many feel frustrated that low teacher pay necessitates this arrangement, as they’d rather devote themselves entirely to teaching.

However, on the other side of the equation, side jobs can afford folks the opportunity to do what they love. Taking on a side gig could even help you bridge the gap and turn your hobby into a career.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that not all side jobs are low-paying. There are actually quite a few side gigs that pay really well. If you’re considering taking on some additional work, weigh all your options carefully, and don’t sell yourself short. There is a lot of potential to earn money through working a side job. Just don’t forget to weigh the costs against the benefits.

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