I wish this was the title of a guest post to be honest. What a great one it would have been! But, this is my story. It’s a story that’s (hopefully) relatable, eye-opening, and honest. As a generation that values a life of freedom, flexibility, and traveling the world, I thought that was all I needed to push my side hustle to the next level. However, this thought process was a little misguided. So let’s talk motivation as slashies: how the perfect job left me uninspired.
What’s a slashie?
The Huffington Post absolutely nails the definition of a slashie:
“Slashies, who are generally members of the millennial demographic, choose to include various ‘side hustles’ in their professional titles—independent projects and loftier but perhaps less lucrative pursuits to which they devote their time—in addition to their nine-to-five.”
I find that a lot of us millennials fall under this label in some way or another. I know we are all pretty adverse to putting labels on things now, but you get the gist. If you’re a blogger who hasn’t quite made it yet and still working a 9-5 job, then this applies to you. It certainly applies to me! I am passionate about blogging and creating content, but still need to pay the bills.
Advertising Operations Professional/ Blogger
This is what my slashie life used to look like. From March 2013 to July 2017 (over 4 years) I worked in advertising operations for Company X. Four years is a pretty long time for a millennial to work for the same company, especially when I realized by month two the company lacked values, integrity, and people who cared about the work they put out into the world. Let’s just say, it was a long draining and heartbreaking four years.
By the start of the third year, I entered the world of blogging for the second time as Coat + Coffee. My job at Company X allowed me to work from home once a week and I had the maximum amount of vacation days racked up. If I was out, there was always someone to cover for me so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with emails when I returned. I also was fortunate to not have a boss looming over my every move. Everything was pretty perfect. Except that it wasn’t. I knew the company was awful and I knew I had so much more potential inside myself.
So for a while, I had the ‘perfect’ job. And when my manager quit I got even more freedom. I was my own boss. I worked from home whenever I wanted and I was able to get all my work done in the first half of the day. This left me so much time to work on my blog. At first, it was great. I was motivated and I was pumping out editorials. I had the freedom of a flexible job that allowed me to perfect my side hustle. Most of all, my blog allowed me to forget about how unhappy I was at Company X. But eventually it caught up with me.
After some time, things started to go south. A job that I was once semi-passionate for, left me with zero passion to get up in the morning and go into work. Mostly I blame Company X. But I do blame myself as well. It turns out that the ‘perfect’ job left me so uninspired. I hated the company I worked for, and that no one else cared about their work as much as my team and I did. It took a such a toll on me, and after almost four years of the same thing, I was near my breaking point. But I still stayed because the job allowed me to pursue what I was really passionate about, even if I knew I had so much more potential in life.
I started to slowly procrastinate with my blogging. My work wasn’t as good and I wasn’t as inspired to write. I knew immediately what it was. It was my job with Company X. But I continued to lie to myself for the last year or so before I left, and I kept pushing forward.
Here’s the thing with life. Everything we do affects us. You can’t choose to turn off one part of your life (e.g. my job with Company X) and only turn on another (e.g. blogging). When something like a 9-5 job is a huge part of what you do every day, it affects you.
So I left
I left because I knew that no matter how much freedom I would be giving up, none of it would matter if I couldn’t sit down and be inspired enough to blog. This is a really important lesson. Just because you have a job that allows you to perfect your side hustle, doesn’t mean you’re going to be happy. It also doesn’t mean that the freedom guarantees that you do well. My ‘perfect’ job was bringing me down so much, that even when I wasn’t busy I couldn’t bring myself to blog.
Last August I started a new job that I love and that’s a lot more work. I was never scared that the work would be too much. At this point in my life, I knew I needed something more. I needed work that I was passionate about again, and I wanted to work for a company that I really believed in again (I had forgotten what that felt like).
Busier than ever before: content writer/ content creator/ blogger
Now, I am busier than ever before but so so happy. I spend most of my weekends working on creating content, and most nights working on editorials. I can no longer blog during the day, so my time is now more precious. Now, I am much more motivated to sit down at night after boxing and dive into writing. That’s another thing. I am going to more boxing classes and eating healthy again!
I think all of this is a testament to how a bad job can really affect you, no matter the reasons you tell yourself to stay. All the freedom and flexibility in the world could not keep me motivated enough to pursue my own passions. It’s crazy to think that even though I’m busier than ever, I am producing more quality work that I’m in love with. I have been putting more work into Instagram and I no longer feel like it’s a chore on the weekends.
So, my point is that sometimes you can have the best of both worlds. You do not have to stay in a dead-end job as a slashie. It’s not even a matter of can. I believe that you need the best of both worlds to truly be inspired in life. I wanted to write this and share my experience because I know a lot of millennial slashies struggle with the same thing. Don’t settle for something that ‘keeps the lights on’ or something ‘to do in the meantime’. Be in a position where you’re passionate, inspired, and appreciated.
Now my biggest regret in life is that I didn’t leave sooner. I feel I could be making more money by now or be in a better career position, had I made moves sooner and not settled for an convenient job. I learned that the ‘perfect’ jobs are not always what they seem, and even though multiple people told me I was making a huge mistake giving up my freedom, I am so glad I didn’t listen to them.
Hopefully this has inspired you a bit if you’ve been feeling unmotivated or wondering why your side hustle isn’t advancing like it should be. I don’t often post topics like this, but it seems like a lot of people are in this sinking boat lately, so I wanted to share my story. If you enjoyed this, please let me know!