A single job is no longer the only option. Welcome to the new world where ‘hustle culture’ let’s you have more than one career option. By Arvind Rajasekhar
It’s 2021 and if you have just one source of income, you are the equivalent of a person floating in the pacific ocean in a boat that has no sail, no paddles, no motor, no life jacket, and there’s a tiny hole in the bottom. Sinking is imminent and inevitable, even if it’s going to take time.
A person with a single career and therefore a single source of income has a substantial amount of liability attached to their lives. Because frankly, the modern world, especially in metro cities, is not an easy place to thrive in. You could scrape by with a measly existence, but then you’d be robbing yourself of the full potential of your life and satisfaction. Therefore, in 2021, it’s extremely important to pull a hustle. No, you don’t need to go to levels of Money Heist, Squid Game, or Ocean’s Eleven. You just need to wake up to the ‘hustle culture’.
For the uninitiated, hustle culture is when up and coming young professionals settle into their primary career in a few years and instead of getting complacent and jaded, they find time and resources to branch out into a passion-based, off-shoot career. For example, a bank employee could start his own YouTube channel that offers sound advice on investments. Or a doctor could start a Keto diet Café. A YouTuber could start a fashion merchandising line. The idea is, you don’t limit your interest, time, effort, and passion to just one field. Instead, you figure out what tinkers your attention and you take that as your second or even third career. An old saying comes to mind here, having your feet in two boats. Sure, some could argue that a person pulling a ‘side hustle’ is essentially running the risk of losing focus on either or both careers. But, that’s not how the cookie crumbles anymore. The world has become an expensive place. Reportedly, the average income in New York City is $75,000 a year. The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in the Big Apple is $710,000. So a person earning 75k a year will have to save 32 percent of their taxed income for 46 years to be able to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment at a price that’s 46 years old. Long story short, it’s impossible to do it with one salary, not recommended with a mortgage. Lifestyles have evolved towards better luxury and higher specialization, and none of that is cheap. Side note: It’s a reality that married people in their 30s today don’t consider having children. While for most, that decision is related to maintaining independence and not straining the planet’s resources, the fact is, most of those folks just don’t have the money for things other than their lifestyle and survival. Some do, most don’t.
I’m not saying you must have two or three careers so you can have kids. But the fact of the matter is, you can’t have a home, a car, sizeable insurance, savings, and investments if you have just one career. Of course, if your vocation booms into Bill Gates mode, you’re sorted, but pulling side hustles is the only way of staying ahead of the curve for everyone else. Ask Elon Musk. Despite being the benefactor of Tesla, he had to pull a cryptocurrency hustle through social media to get the billion-dollar winds blowing. Unfortunately, they don’t teach this stuff in schools, not even in Ivy league colleges. This is a reality that you figure out once you start adulting. And it’s a reality that the faster you realize, the easier it makes your life and your chances of living out your dreams and passions. The biggest YouTubers today earn millions of dollars from the millions of views that they garner on their videos. Ideally, it’s enough to lead a comfortable life. And yet, almost every big YouTube star has parallel hustles happening on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Not just that, most big YouTube names have second channels now, creating short format content. It’s the post-TikTok era, where byte-sized video content makes you the real moolah.
So if everyone’s getting into hustle culture, why is that thought not become pop culture yet? Because the world of hustle culture is still in its ‘first mover advantage’ phase. As of now, only the most woke and successful people are doing it right. Others are slowly waking up to reality. And soon enough, the younger generations won’t answer the age-old question of, ‘What do you want to be, when you grow up?’ with just one answer. They’re probably going to throw out complex answers like, “I’m going to be a pilot, followed by an aviation industry investor.”
Circling back, we could argue that the ‘hustle culture’ is in essence just another word for a large-scale coping mechanism where individuals are being forced to stretch themselves thin in a bid to survive inflated economics and unfair wealth distribution. But sample this, 25000 years ago, if prehistoric man had continued to gather resources and not taken up hunting, would civilization have kicked in as fast as it has? Probably not. Bottom line? The hustle is historic.