by Bernadette Gibson, Head of Marketing & Community Engagement at Retirepreneur
It’s no secret – we’re big fans of the Side Hustle.
We’ve promoted it on our blog, our podcast, our TV show and across several social channels, because we see side hustles as a major catalyst for Retirepreneurs – especially those still working full-time jobs.
Recently, a celebrity side hustle story caught lots of attention – much of it negative and harsh, which disappointed me. But, with any negative there’s always a positive – and this story has shown that in leaps and bounds. It’s also an important message to reflect on, especially for Retireprenuers, and make sure as larger culture we’re doing what we can to nurture the side hustlers.
A High-Profile Side Hustle at Trader Joe’s
When actor Geoffrey Owens, of The Cosby Show fame, was spotted working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s there was there was quite an uproar and backlash when the story originally ran with an angle to shame him working at what many consider a menial side job. Numerous outlets and other actors came to his defense, but most importantly it helped start a conversation on work.
Maybe because I’ve been immersed in the Retirepreneur world for so long, my first reaction was “oh he’s side hustling!”. But it also made me pause with a few questions and observations:
- Does it matter that a 57 year old is still working and hustling and acting? The original story had a whiff of ageism, would there even be a story if it was a 25 or 30 year old actor? How do we view “elder” workers who have experience and insight but also need to work? He clearly seems like an actor who doesn’t want to “retire” from his chosen profession, nor should he have to based on his age.
- Do we really expect people to live off of their one big break from 25+ years ago? Yes, he was part of a hit show once but work and jobs may come and go. Branching out and taking risks can be key. Where would we be if Steve Jobs only focused on computers and was content without reinvention? (Steve Jobs was 52 when Apple unveiled the iPhone)
- Because of the unstable nature of acting jobs or say consultant work, many people need that side hustle to provide them with a steady income or health insurance.
- Why do we as a society have such disdain for other avenues to use our talents? The “stay in your lane” mantra comes to mind. I can’t speak for Geoffrey Owens, but a grocery store is full of characters and a study in to people’s interactions — a great place for an actor to study for roles. Your side hustle may not be a grocery store, but maybe it does require you jump in to another lane. Cherish those experiences.
The Love for the Side Hustle Runs Deep
Side Hustles are many things, but the one thing they should never be considered is a step back.
Speaking from personal experience, my marketing role for Retirepreneur is my side hustle as I also raise my two young children. (Yes, you may have done the math, I’m a dreaded millennial, but that’s a story for another blog post). I love to use my “marketing brain” and I am lucky to have the opportunity to do it a flexible environment. Some may not see the value since I don’t work a traditional full-time role, but my side hustle has actually given me less stress and has become an important outlet for my marketing talents.
Side Hustles are fertile ground for using new skills that could later become a full time passion. They offer learning opportunities by forcing you to branch out. They can help bridge the gap with flexible hours that other jobs may not allow. If you are a Retirepreneur transitioning to your next opportunity, and you haven’t considered a side hustle yet, we encourage you to do so!
We at Retirepreneur will be here cheering you on — even if it takes stepping-stones and Side Hustles to achieve your Retirepreneur dreams. As actor Geoffrey Owens summed up beautifully in his interview we’ve included below: “Every job is worthwhile and valuable.” That is a sentiment I can definitely get behind.
Now, let’s hear from you. Tell us in the comments, how have your side hustles enriched your work experience? What values have you learned hustling?