Unexpected Side Effects from the Side Gig
The gig economy keeps growing, and starting a side gig in addition to a regular job might offer unexpected benefits. Opportunities to expand our professional network and our minds, in addition to our wallet, might follow when we move out of our comfort zone to learn something new.
A side gig is something you do to add to your income in addition to your regular job. Having a side gig has become more common with many people cashing in on a variety of things. The new endeavor may have nothing to do with their current employment and might be something previously considered a hobby. The Internet has made starting a side gig easier than ever. It offers vast opportunities to create a website or promote and sell a product or service.
As a nurse and a fiction author, freelance writing was a natural progression for me as a side gig. Initially, I saw healthcare freelance writing as an opportunity to combine my two areas of expertise to make some extra cash doing what I enjoy, but I discovered several unexpected non-monetary rewards that accompanied my side gig.
Expand Your Mind
There is a certain comfort found in routine. Although sometimes we get to a point in our careers when we're not necessarily looking for something different, perhaps we crave something more. A variation from the usual to help keep our mind sharp and prevent us from tiring of the daily routine.
Even though I've been a nurse for many years, writing healthcare articles often involves extensive research to ensure accurate and up-to-date information in the rapidly evolving healthcare environment. The word, research, initially made me cringe. I was done with school, right? I'd been out of the nursing classroom for a long time, and never realized I might miss some things about that environment. Maybe not the starchy uniform or the nursing cap that never wanted to stay on my head, but perhaps the thrill that accompanied learning new things.
As I researched articles, my thirst for knowledge reawakened. Subject matter and healthcare topics that had lain dormant since graduating nursing school and moving into a specialty stirred. It seems that we don't really lose this knowledge. Although sometimes sharpening our brain and flexing those familiar muscles can allow us to appreciate just how much we've invested in our career.
Grow Your Professional Network
Many of us bonded with a group of friends in nursing school, and then with coworkers at our job, but often that circle narrows the higher we climb the career ladder. Initially, my venture into freelance writing was a solitary endeavor, but as my side gig grew, I met other like-minded healthcare writers. The ability to interact with nurses from across the country, as opposed to my little section of the world, did more than expand my professional network. It also:
- Opened new opportunities for jobs that may not have been obvious
- Made professional connections to seek advice, references and referrals
- Improved my confidence with the ability to share my expertise and knowledge
- Provided new perspectives for things that I'd been doing one way for so long that I hadn't realized there were other options
- Pushed me to learn new technology and challenge my comfort zones
- Helped me realize that you could make good friends without ever meeting them in person
Change How You Perceive Yourself
Since a side gig is in addition to your regular job, it provides a certain freedom over your regular employment. With this extra work, you have more of an ability to turn projects down or step away when you need a break.
A side gig does not have to be related to your regular nursing job. Spending time doing something different might be helpful to reduce stress and allow you to clear your head when your job becomes overwhelming. As the years' pass, we often lose time for hobbies we used to enjoy. Pursuing these passions as a side gig can help prioritize this time for keeping your dream alive without guilt. Exploring a different interest can:
- Validate that you can still be something more and that your job doesn't define you
- Try something new without the commitment
- Keep your skills fresh
- Improve your time management skills
- Help to prepare for a career change
- Socialize with people with similar interests or in different stages of their life or career
- Offer a creative outlet
- Provide a way to reduce stress
More Than Extra Cash
That extra cash can come in handy for paying down debt, increasing your savings or indulging in an extra extravagance without guilt, but often there are other benefits to pursuing a side gig. There's no reason to change the work you do now, but perhaps you have some motivation to add something more.
About Maureen Bonatch MSN, BSN, RN
Maureen Bonatch MSN, RN draws from years of experience in nursing administration, leadership and psychiatric nursing to write healthcare content. Her experience as a fiction author helps her to craft engaging and creative content. Learn more about her freelance writing at CharmedType.com and her fiction books at MaureenBonatch.com
Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 57; Likes: 236
from PA , US
Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in Leadership|Psychiatric Nursing|EducationAug 21Occupation: allnurses Asst Community Manager, APRN Specialty: 25 year(s) of experience in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU ; From: US ; Joined: Apr '00; Posts: 53,571; Likes: 26,664Side gigs are essential for nurses, especially as we age. Its super important to further your education as well as develop other skills that allow you prosper well into retirement.
Thanks for this info.Aug 22Occupation: Nursing Professional Development Specialist Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho ; From: CA, US ; Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,534; Likes: 4,543Quote from traumaRUsI couldn't agree more!Side gigs are essential for nurses, especially as we age. Its super important to further your education as well as develop other skills that allow you prosper well into retirement.
Thanks for this info.Aug 22Joined: Jan '12; Posts: 734; Likes: 1,676I've always wondered, for the nurses who work as Guides and Moderators on AllNurses, is this your side gig or full time job? I ask because this is something I would be interested in.Aug 25Occupation: RN Specialty: 15+ year(s) of experience ; From: US ; Joined: Jan '14; Posts: 77; Likes: 182Great article, Maureen. As a fellow freelance writer, I have always had a side job as an RN, even before writing. I don't know where I will be in 10 years, but I know I won't be doing floor nursing my entire career. I don't feel it's safe...Aug 25Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 38,000; Likes: 37,221Quote from DowntheRiverAlthough many of the mentioned benefits of the side gig are realized by site staff, usually these positions are non paid.I've always wondered, for the nurses who work as Guides and Moderators on AllNurses, is this your side gig or full time job? I ask because this is something I would be interested in.