And I’ve had a lot of time to think and converse these past few weekends as I traveled to and from my temporary staffing gig at the JFK International Airport’s Duty Free Americas store. I was the Remy Martin girl, and my job was to look pretty while offering free tastings of fine French cognac and promoting the exclusive limited edition Cannes Film Festival VSOP.
Ads in the airport make a big deal about the “35 minute only commute!” from JFK to Manhattan on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), but let me tell you, the commute tends to run much longer.
And on one of those characteristically long rides home yesterday, I started thinking about what was next after this gig. Because let’s be honest, I have no idea when I’m going to make enough to live on through my start-up alone. Maybe I could find a waittress-ing or hostess-ing job? Maybe I could finally take some bartending classes and be a bartender? (That’s something I’ve wanted to do since postponing college for a year to stay in Spain.)
And then I had an alarming thought – is this why I quit my steady consulting job? The reason that I stopped working for retired generals and ex-Navy SEALs? The result of my ridiculously expensive and somewhat elite / elitist private university education?
The answer, when it came, was surprisingly obvious -
And here’s why – I have full ownership over everything that I do. I’m not shuffling papers just to fill up 8-hour days or performing menial tasks to help someone else check off boxes on his or her agenda. If I make a mistake, I know that it was my mistake, and I’m more than happy to deal with the consequences. Even if I end up bar-tending for the next six months or a year, it’s another life experience and another step for me to reach my goals and live the life that I want. That makes it worth it.
And I know that I’m not alone in this shift of priorities.
At PDF12, Sara Horowitz of the Freelancers’ Union spoke of the “freelance revolution” as the biggest change in workplace organization since the Industrial Revolution. She argued that ore and more people would give up the stability of “traditional” 9 to 5s and join the ranks of freelance and contract workers. Meanwhile, Tim Kreider writes in his beautifully argued op-ed, The Busy Trap that Americans force ourselves to be busy to pretend to lead a purposeful life, and that perhaps instead of this model, every American should just get paid regardless of what he/she actually does – or pretends to do.
It’s a revolutionary thought – and exactly how I feel of late.
But until that day comes, viva la revolución… y el side hustle.