HR Side Hustling: The Popular Career Model Just About Everyone Will Talk To You About…Except Your Boss!

by Alan Collins

There’s a hot career model that’s operating under the radar.

It’s not new, but it’s become increasing more popular among HR folks.

However, you won’t read about in Workforce magazine, HR Executive or find it as a topic at any SHRM meeting.

And when your boss sits down to discuss your performance or your career, I guarantee he or she won’t bring it up either.

But just about everyone is talking about it.

It called side hustling and here’s one example of how it’s working.

A buddy of mine, an HR director in Chicago, awhile back informed me that he was taking an advanced online class on how to sell stuff on eBay.

Totally shocked and just a bit curious, I asked him:  “Why the heck are you wasting time taking a class on eBay?  You could be using the time instead to take a class on talent retention, HR analytics or how to leverage AI or social media in HR to attract talent? Those are the hot topics right now for HR…wouldn’t those be better for your HR career?”

“Sure, but hey,” he replied passionately, “Doing the eBay thing is my side hustle to put a little more cash in my pocket.”

“I absolutely love HR to death, but the health care company I work for is in trouble and has eliminated merit increases entirely for this year and I can use the extra income.

“And this advanced eBay class is going to help me do that.”

He went on to say: “You see, I’ve been a coin collector since I was in grade school. And, I worked in a coin shop during my summers to help pay for college.”

“Now, I make an extremely nice side income buying and selling them a couple of evenings a week from home on my laptop on eBay. At one point, I thought about opening up my own online coin business as a coin dealer, but it was just too damn risky and expensive.”

“So, instead, I decided to turn my passion into my side hustle.  I’ve been buying and selling coins at a nice profit for over four years now.   All on eBay — and all while keeping my day job in HR.

“So back to your question…yes, I’m looking at building my skills in HR, but I want to keep my side hustle going too.”

After we talked a bit more, it was hard to argue with his logic.

And one thing struck me…

More HR folks could use a side hustle.

Let’s face it, the economy and the job markets are volatile. Some employers are shaky. Many exceptional HR pros get let go all the time.

While many search for a better paying job or work towards advancing their HR career right where they are, many others are also choosing to side hustle.

If you’re in HR, a side hustle may be a great alternative for:

Here are a few examples of side hustles people that I know are doing successfully on evenings or weekends…while balancing the demands. of their full-time gig.

These are just the examples I know about.

And I’m sure this only scratches the surface.

You’ll notice, some are related to HR, but some aren’t.  And while the people doing them won’t become as wealthy as Oprah, Mark Cuban or Lady Gaga, they’re finding the extra spare-time income helpful.

While many are choosing not to hide their side hustles from their full-time employers, they’re not telling the world about them either!  

They don’t want their side hustle to jeopardize getting them fired from their main hustle.

So, if asked, they refer to them as their “hobbies” or “spare-time interests,” because they don’t want to be perceived as not being 100% committed to their organization’s success or their HR careers.

Do you have a side hustle?  

I do.  In fact, I’ve always had side hustles throughout my career in HR. 

For five years, on the side, I taught evening classes in Human Resources at three different colleges.

I’ve also bought and sold collectibles for profit — both person-to-person and online.

…And I even tried to restore a couple of 1960’s classic cars for profit.  But I failed at it and lost a few thousand dollars in the process because I didn’t know what I was doing.  Oh well, you don’t win them all.

Today, one of the things I do in my spare time is to write HR books and this blog.  In fact, I’m working on two books right now. But you already know that.  For me, it’s just another way to share my passion for HR.

I also invest and trade in the stock market.   It’s not unusual for me to make 10-12 stock trades a week from my account with TD Ameritrade.  It simple, easy and only takes a couple of minutes with the app I use.  I’ve never called this my side hustle, but that’s exactly what it is.   It’s fun for me and it creates yet another income stream.  In addition, it’s a good change of pace, improves my business acumen and allows me channel my intellectual juices.

However, there are some things you should know before launching your own side hustle.

From my own experience and talking with others, a good side hustle will have the following characteristics:

With all that said, let’s talk.

What do you think about side hustling to augment or enhance your HR career?

Have you considered a side hustle?  Do you have one now?

Share your insights, experiences responses in the comments below by clicking here.

I’d love to hear your story.

Onward!

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Want to discover ONE AWESOME WAY to leverage your HR expertise to create a second income on the side?  Then check out: YOUR HR GOLDMINEHow To Turn Your Human Resources Know-How Into A Lucrative Second Income & Make A Difference In People’s Lives…Without Leaving Your Day Job!   The book itself will provide you with tons of ideas and a step-by-step plan for putting them into action.

About the author: Alan Collins was Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses. He is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling books for HR professionals including YOUR HR GOLDMINE.

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2 Responses to “HR Side Hustling: The Popular Career Model Just About Everyone Will Talk To You About…Except Your Boss!”

  1. Cathy McCafferty- Smith Says:

    I have worked in three different HR roles — and I had side hustles throughout my “careers.

    Here is one of the reasons why I think it worked.

    I have had 8 jobs created for me (no one did them before me based on org need and right place networking- one that was volunteering but led to multilple jobs in HR and other professional internal consulting or service roles. (I was asked to create the job descriptions for each)

    And, also as a former bank employee/leader…

    I also had a clear saving plan by giving myself an allowance from my pay checks that kept me in a comfortable and modest lifestyle – to make sure when I wanted to “fire myself” whenever I felt I wanted to I could. Or I wanted to be prepared for when someone else decided that my HR learning development job was no longer needed due to economic forces-(which happened). I was then prepared for the present ..or for the future, so I knew I would be “ok”. I wanted control over the choice of where, or whom I would work for. I believe in “Best Fit” for a role and I love variety- so I have worked in 5 different industries – successfully- which also is also important now in my independent consulting work.

    Once -I even “fired myself” after slowly building my HR/OD leadership development consulting business though incremental stages, such as…

    going to a 4 work week, with the 5th day for my consulting practice. I was teach a national career coaching certification course, building/ delivering online learning courses, presentations and speaking engagements in various professional and other organizations to continue to build my own leadership development consulting exposure.

    One more idea for others…

    I’m also a crafter and quilter (quilt art show quality) and have sold through various local consignment shops.

    My Point Is: Whatever you engage in for extra money on the side doesn’t have to be only HR…What other talents you have, whatever your life’s purpose goals are can also be choices you can make towards a “side hustle”.

    I wanted to be free of the threat of a loss of a job (because more than once in HR I had the tough luckily only occasional responsibility of letting people go

    So I took control of my own finances and where I worked and how I would make a difference in the world- and love it.

    P.S. I had two awesome leaders in my three different HR roles (Bob and Barbara- thank you!) that supported me in my need for learning and variety – while making a difference. They were the inspirational leaders who made me believe I could continue to learn, teach, and facilitate group learning with and for others!

    Signed,
    Cathy Mc-S

  2. Alan Says:

    Cathy, wow! Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. Among your many excellent points, here are the ones that stand out for me:

    (1) “Whatever you engage in for extra money on the side doesn’t have to be only HR…What other talents you have, whatever your life’s purpose goals are can also be choices you can make towards a side hustle.”

    (2) “So I took control of my own finances and where I worked and how I would make a difference in the world- and love it.”

    (3) “I had two awesome leaders in my three different HR roles (Bob and Barbara- thank you!) that supported me in my need for learning and variety – while making a difference. They were the inspirational leaders who made me believe I could continue to learn, teach, and facilitate group learning with and for others!o I took control of my own finances and where I worked and how I would make a difference in the world- and love it.”

    Point (3) really stands out for me personally. I, too, have been fortunate to have encouraging leaders that helped build my skills and urged me to continuously learn…which I was able to translate into success on the job and in my side hustle.

    Cathy, thanks for the awesome share out.

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