Seems like everybody’s got a price
I wonder how they sleep at night
When the sale comes first
And the truth comes second
Just stop for a minute and smile….
That right there is a portion of Jessie J’s “Price Tag” and I couldn’t help but play it in my head as I sat down to write on a Sunday afternoon. The topic of pay and salary among our friends and colleagues in Higher Education and Student Affairs (HE/SA) positions today can be quite heated. Everyone’s background is a little different and so too are their present day needs. Some of us have a partner we share expenses with, others maybe a family, some of us may be trying to get this career thing started on our own. Regardless, from my experience, engaging in a little side hustle outside of work has been somewhat lucrative for me, not just in dollars but in experience too.
Everybody look to their left
Everybody look to their right…
Let me describe my background a little bit. I attended a small university in Connecticut (my home state) and relocated to Alabama for my HE/SA grad program at a larger university right on the Gulf Coast. I wanted to challenge myself with relocation, something that I’m sure many of us are familiar with. Of course, this presented itself with financial obstacles from time to time.
It’s not about the money money money
We don’t need your money money money
We just wanna make the world dance
Forget about the price tag…
Over the past year I’ve engaged in a couple different side hustles. When I was looking to contribute to rent with my partner, I began editing an author’s book on Mozambique and the expansion of liquefied natural gas in the country in relation to business logistics. Yes. A book on Mozambique’s economic future as it related to natural gas. The arraignment itself felt so random. I maintained a profile that listed my prior degree on a job database for students via my university’s Career Services office. This author reached out to me upon seeing my profile and degree information and thus began a six month journey where I learned more about Mozambique than I thought possible. Thanks undergraduate English degree, it started to pay dividends while I earned my master’s degree! I was paid well for the work I was doing with this author, but when I had completed as much as possible, our arraignment ended abruptly.
Ain’t about the uh cha-ching cha-ching
Ain’t about the yeah b-bling b-bling…
Full disclosure, I actually contemplated working for dog daycare a summer ago too. I don’t enjoy living paycheck-to-paycheck and wanted to have the ability to provide for myself as well as my partner while living comfortably. Let’s just say, I was bitten on my first day and then I decided that my hands served best as an extension of my thoughts on a keyboard rather than as a chew toy. Since then, I’ve kept up editing from working as a Copy Editor for my university’s student-run newspaper and occasionally I’ll work on editing others’ writing who know of me from word of mouth.
We just wanna make the world dance
Forget about the price tag
Side hustles, from my experience alone, seem practically necessary if you’re going to live comfortably as a graduate student. These hustles worked well for me in the past but as a recent grad I don’t see myself continuing them much longer. That’s not to say there wasn’t tremendous value in these hustles besides the money. I feel that these hustles have made me much more appreciative of what others do in pursuit of their own education, financially especially. I hope that these experiences help as an #sapro in that I’ll have more experiences to share with students, experiences they may connect with themselves. Hopefully I’ll soon find myself in a position soon that appropriately pays me for the work I do. That’s all I want…to make the world dance, or in the case of HE/SA, help students earn an education.
This post is part of our #SAsidehustles series, which focuses on the SA pros with a second passion. These Student Affairs Professionals transition their mental and physical energy into a project that acts as both an emotional release and some level of supplemental income. From Etsy shops to horse braiding, these stories are bound to make you want to find your “by night” side hustle. For more information, check out the intro post by Tom Krieglstein. Be sure to read the other posts in this series too!