How your side hustle can hurt your career

How your side hustle can hurt your career
Mediatel Jobs

It takes time, effort and a lot of energy to commit yourself to more than one job and to do both well.


Second jobs or ‘side hustles’ have exploded in popularity in recent years. In fact, according to a recent study, two thirds (68%) of working Brits have one, with 31% having started theirs in the first year of the pandemic. And with the UK experiencing a cost-of-living crisis and about to enter into a recession, it’s easy to see the appeal.

While some have simply monetised their existing passions and found a way to profit from hobbies discovered during lockdown, others now need a secondary source of income to offset that nagging balance on credit cards, mounting energy bills and record food and fuel prices.

A good side hustle can be a wonderful thing. It can put money in your pocket and inspiration in your veins. The problem is that the side hustle as a lifestyle choice doesn’t always line up with reality. It takes time, effort and a lot of energy to commit yourself to more than one job and to do both well.

Yes, an extra gig can let you expand your horizons; explore your passions and creativity and buy yourself more financial security, but it can also undermine your full-time job. Typically your full time job will be where you have health benefits, retirement plans and a regular salary, all things you’re not going to want to risk no matter how passionate you are about your hustle. In some cases, the wrong side hustle could put you at risk of losing your job.

Here are three things to watch out for:

It could be against company policy

Depending on the terms of your employment contract, your side hustle may conflict with your full-time job. Many employers require workers to sign non-compete clauses or non disclosure agreements when they take the job, and this can be especially true if your day job involves working directly with clients.

Review the terms of your contract, before you take on a side hustle to be sure you haven’t agreed to any restrictions. It’s a good idea to read up on any company policies about moonlighting or freelancing, even if your job doesn’t present a direct conflict.

Hurts your time management

To make your side hustle a success, you need to put in the time. This can be trickier than it sounds, especially when you’re working full time. Even if your goal is to keep the side hustle entirely separate from your main gig, it may creep in. Whether you’re answering occasional emails or text messages or are less attentive because you’re stretched thin from working additional hours, having a side hustle will make you less focused on your current job. Ethically, your nine to five should get your priority.

Dipping into much-needed overtime

Full time can mean more than 40 hours a week in the media business, especially during busy times of the year. If your side gig eats up all your non-work hours, you’re going to hit a wall when you need to do extra work at your day job. Tiredness and distraction could lead to lower productivity, may affect the quality of your work, and it is not unlikely that it could lead to burnout for you. No one’s happy as a result.

Whatever your reason for working a side hustle, it’s important that you’re also clued up on the tax implications of having two jobs. When it comes to starting a business (even when you still have a main job), one of the first things you’ll need to do is register as self-employed with the HMRC.

You’ll need to complete a self assessment every year. Income tax is based on the combined income from both your main job and self-employment. So this could mean your profits as a sole trader push you into a higher tax band. You’ll also need to pay National Insurance on income from your side business. Getting your head around all the business admin, legal and financial responsibilities and important licences can feel overwhelming.

Every hour that you spend working is an hour that has to come from somewhere else in your life: whether that’s sleep, leisure hours, or your time with family and friends. Finding the elusive “work-life-balance” becomes even more of a challenge and can take a toll on your mental and physical wellness. In fact, research shows that people who work more than 55 hours a week develop depression and anxiety at a higher rate than those who work standard hours.

Ultimately it’s important to determine whether the financial rewards of a full time job and a side hustle outweigh the potential downsides. If you’re happy with your current job and are making enough money to feel financially secure and not harbouring dreams of entrepreneurship, spending time on a side hustle may simply add unnecessary stress to your life. Perhaps the best option is to focus on seeking a new full time position that offers real opportunities for career advancement plus that essential remuneration bump.

Explore Your Options

Your first stop? Check out high performance companies on the Mediatel Job Board like Tiktok which is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace. Or explore hybrid work options with Spotify, which also provides seriously competitive benefits from exclusive learning opportunities to flexible share incentives and global parental leave, to access to industry festivals with Spotify on Tour. And if a fast-paced environment and an emphasis on innovation gives you a buzz, look no further than the current open roles at the streaming platform Roku.

For more career opportunities and to find a media job that offers real rewards, visit the Mediatel Job Board


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