Welcome to the recession, team! It's just like any other recession, except that it was caused by a Global Pandemic, which seems a bit - extreme.
But I digress. If we're no longer in the peak economic cycle and over 30 million Americans have hit unemployment since mid-March (WTF, and the number is likely much bigger if you count all the underutilized employees that companies are holding onto via cash reserves and stimulus programs like the Payroll Protection Act), it seems like a good time to talk about freelancing, because all of us might need an alternative source of income at some point in the near future.
You know, a side hustle.
Who's good at having a side hustle? According to research conducted by The Hustle, a nifty little business newsletter you can get delivered to you daily, it's who you would expect. Professions most likely to have a side hustle are first and foremost creative pursuits, the kind where companies often have difficulty justifying a full time position. Graphic design, online media and photography all lead the charge in freelancing and putting together portfolio careers rather than relying on (or being able to rely on) a single source of income (email subscribers, click through if you don't see the charts below).
What's that? How's HR doing related to having a side hustle?
I regret to inform you we are neither good at it or comfortable with it. See the chart below from the same research, which shows HR as the third least likely profession to have a side hustle, behind the sexy, risk-taking tribes that are lawyers and engineers (woof).
For god's sake, bankers experiment more with a side hustle than we do. #sad
If you're reading this post as an HR or talent pro, I've got good news for you - you're already hungry for knowledge and experimentation with the status quo, or you wouldn't be here.
Why do HR people rarely experiment with the side hustle? Some thoughts:
--We write the policies on the people side and it feels a little hypocritical to do our own thing after we wrote the blurb on moonlighting.
--Our profession is made of up of rules people, and having more than one job doesn't feel like it's in compliance.
--Our skill set doesn't lend itself to side hustle as the work product isn't as transferrable as the graphic designer.
--We simply aren't a profession full of entrepreneurs. #truth
Let's examine some of those reasons. We ARE full of rules people and if we wrote the policy manual, we're compelled to follow it. But that sounds like it might be time to reexamine the policy in a gig economy.
As far as whether our skill set lends itself to the side hustle or not, well, all you really need to do is look at the tens of thousands of HR Consultants who have hung their own shingle to help small business in American and it's clear - the transferrable skill set argument doesn't hold water.
The real reason for such a low side hustle score is we are full of rules people, and HR for the most part doesn't have an entrepreneurial spirit.
And that's 100% ok. But in a recession that looks like it may be deep and long, it's probably time to figure out what you could sell if you had to.
There's never a better time to look for a side hustle writing an employee handbook for a small company than... wait for it... when you still have a job.
Recession = get ready to bootstrap.