Having bid farewell to the past year and said hello to 2023, it’s the perfect moment to reflect on life and envision what’s coming next. As I was scrolling through LinkedIn’s 10 Big Ideas for 2023, something caught my attention:
Big Trend for 2023: Side Jobs.
As The New York Times reported, the gig economy has boomed over the past year, with more and more entrepreneurial Gen Zs taking on a side hustle.
Interestingly, a Deloitte survey found that half of all Gen Zs and just over one-third of millennials work a second part- or even-full time job. And it’s not just about because they want to earn more bucks. When their 9 to 5 jobs can’t satisfy their passion, this young generation of workers explores other opportunities where they can express themselves more.
Per Paul Graham’s famous essay that I shared in my piece “Employee Engagement is a Shared Mission,” it is essential to do what you love so that you can do it well.
For a long time, work was the opposite of that “love.” But as more Gen Z employees realize the value of their time and effort, they’re also learning to optimize their jobs to be more in line with what they are passionate about — on their professional and personal growth journey.
One of the paths on this journey is called “job crafting,” where workers “create the work they want to do out of the work they had been assigned.” A concept I have spoken and written about frequently.
But crafting your professional life can also include taking on work outside your job: the side gig. I still remember arriving in Vietnam and realizing almost everyone was having side hustles, like an online shop, food business, or other ventures.
Financial freedom, work-life balance
Samira Shihab, CEO of Indonesian online marketplace Tinkerlust, once wrote on LinkedIn that side gigs had become a real trend:
“The prevalence of side hustles coincides with Gen Z’s dogma of being independent and autonomous, rebelling against the norms of traditional career progression. Their belief of success has evolved, often focusing on work-life balance and financial independence rather than a single work identity.”
This new approach to work by the young workforce resonates with what I’ve written before about how well-being has become the top priority for employees when taking a job. With COVID-19 highlighting the importance of mental health, workers lean on companies that allow them to breathe and give them a sense of purpose.
Young employees surveyed claim they can achieve better well-being by taking on a side job. This makes perfect sense. The extra job provides them with a more secure paycheck and allows them to take control of their working life.
How employers are taking it
Do employers have to know about their employees’ side gigs? No.
Should employers fear side gigs or actively try to block them? No.
Besides well-being, side jobs are great ways to acquire and enhance skills like entrepreneurship, creativity, and discipline.
With that in mind, businesses can retain many more employees for a much longer time by allowing them to do what they are passionate about. When employees feel supported of their side hustles, the pressure of hiding it is lifted from their shoulders. And then, they begin to focus on giving their best to both jobs.
I’m not speaking theoretically here.
Some in our team have great side gigs that I welcome. One person has a well-being business, while another teaches design. I’m sure others are active, too. I encourage it all because I know they’ll feel more fulfilled and bring back skills and experience to the job they wouldn’t get from their main jobs.
So, here’s a thought for 2023: In the quest for happier employees, let’s consider fully embracing side gigs and celebrating their benefits.
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.