Do you know someone who's been laid off? More than one someone? Has that someone been you?
If you said yes to any of those questions, you're not alone. According to a 2014 survey by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, 20% of workers in the U.S. had been laid off in the preceding five years and 22% of that number still hadn't found new employment.
As though that weren't depressing enough, the psychological effects of a layoff aren't good either. A recent study found that "individuals who experienced a layoff were 4.5 percent less likely to trust even 17 years later." Researchers surmise such persistent trust issues have to do with feelings of powerlessness and lack of control.
But there might be a way to take some control. That's where the side hustle comes in.
Why the side hustle is important
Nate Cooper at Mashable has a great piece on why everyone needs a side hustle, whether it's a hobby or a full-fledged company. A gig outside your day job might expose you to new experiences, help you discover new interests, and help you make new connections.
How that side hustle can help post-layoff
Now let's say that day job is gone, at least for the time being. What can your side hustle do for you?
Bring in some income. Obvs, right? If you're lucky enough to have a freelance or consulting gig already set up, see about increasing your hours or production. Even non- or low-paying gigs might offer other type of benefits, such as sponsorship for a conference, which might lead to new connections and learning opportunities.
Keep you busy and give you a sense of accomplishment. Going from working full-time to not working at all is a huge adjustment. Once you've applied for all the jobs you can, what else can you do? Binge on Netflix? Probably not a good idea.
The side hustle will keep you busy and focused while you're not looking for work, especially if your projects have a deadline (and if they don't, impose one). Moreover, at the end of the day, you'll feel accomplished having finished that article, debugged that program, or arranged that meetup.
Boost your ego. Getting laid off can be a blow to the ego, even if you weren't singled out. While it's better not to base your self-esteem on whether or not you have a job, that's easier said than done.
Through your side hustle, you might get some recognition, such as praise from a client for a job well done or likes on a popular blog post. That much needed external validation might help you keep feeling positive overall.
Keep you relevant and give you exposure. Although you've been laid off to no fault of your own, unfortunately having huge gaps in employment on your resume are red flags for many employers.
Your side hustle can fill those gaps as well as keep you abreast of what's going on in your industry. It can also help you stay in touch with players in the industry and give you and your work added exposure.
Become your main hustle. Whether it's a freelance gig becoming a fulltime position or hobby evolving into a business, that thing you do for fun outside your day job could very well become your day job.
While economists say that the odds of getting laid off are currently "stunningly low," you might still want to think about setting up a side hustle (Mashable has some suggestions about how to get started), not just as a backup plan if you do happen to lose your job, but because you just might enjoy it.