• Antoinette Minor

My Job Knows About My Side Hustle

One thing I know that almost everybody in the corporate space worries about is separating their personal life from their career. Everybody is always like, "I don't talk about my love life at work," or "I don't befriend my coworkers." Listen, I get it. You don't want to be judged or have anything from outside of the office impact your professional life. There are many different viewpoints on this issue and I think I stand somewhere in the middle. I don't believe in sharing everything but I'm am also not going to let my coworkers believe that I am not a human outside of my cubicle. With that said, the even bigger question or debate is whether or not you should tell your boss about your side hustles or your business.

Why? Well, employers often worry that you'll spend work time performing duties related to your business and that is a valid concern. It's hard to contain your business tasks to such a small portion of the day and your boss definitely does not want you working on your stuff instead of what you are paid to do. There is a misconception that budding entrepreneurs can't work full time and run a business but many of us do. So, is it okay to tell your boss and/or coworkers about your business? I don't have all the answers but I can tell you that I told my boss and here's why. 

Let's start from the beginning. I did not disclose information about my blog or any other side businesses when I applied or interviewed for the position. To be honest, I was still very new with my blog so there wasn't much to talk about. Plus, no one asked about it. Now, if it came up in conversation I probably would have said something because I believe in being open in order to avoid confusion, miscommunication and conflict of interest. At the time I didn't feel like my prospective employer needed to know. I just needed to get in the door and prove myself so that they couldn't say no to bringing me on board to the team. My blog wouldn't have made a difference in helping me get the job therefore it was none of their business. Would I change any of that. Nope.

So, when did I tell them about it? After I got settled and comfy into the job... wait... comfortable is not the right word. YOU SHOULD NEVER GET TOO COMFORTABLE AT A JOB! Any who, I began to slowly let things be known after the 3 month mark and after building a relationship with my boss. This is the first person I told because the last thing I wanted was for any supervisor, senior manager or executive to find out from anyone but myself or those who manage me. It's my story to tell and not anyone else's. You feel me? Plus, damage control is much easier when it comes from the horses mouth rather than the peanut gallery. I was essentially being my own PR person by controlling the story about my blog and side businesses.

Now, back to the why. Overall I needed my employer to know what I was passionate about so that I could be open and honest about my needs to pursue my dream. For example, when I went to visit the White House I did so as The Young Professionalist. I literally had a week's notice about the opportunity and I had to tell my boss that I was not coming to work because I was going to the White House. For most people you have to give much more time for a planned day off and I know even if your boss was on board for some of you that still wouldn't have been an opportunity you could take. As for myself, my boss understood just how important this was to me. I promised to have all of my work done and a list of things for the interns to take care of before I left. My boss was totally on board with that as long as I held up my side of the bargain. Mind you, this happened not once but twice. She let me take the day off to go to the White House TWICE!

I also decided to share my business with my employer to showcase skills and expertise that I have outside of my normal scope of work. I often throw in gems like how to properly use social media in marketing and setting up sales funnels. This gives me leverage when its time for a possible promotion that includes tasks that I'm not responsible for at this time. Also, the expertise I'm giving may be beneficial to my business but I share them to also help build the company as well. There are more than a few areas that I believe could bring in profits to the company. Money speaks volumes so I always try to share how I've made money as an example of how my employer can do the same. If I can make the money on my own imagine what I can do as an employee and future senior manager! Maybe even imagine what I could do as a contractor... Catch my drift?

Not only was it beneficial to share my business for the reasoned mentioned above, I find that if you share your wants, needs and dreams with those who have the potential to help you its much easier to achieve. Any employer that is TRULY concerned with the development of its employees will invest in YOU! If you don't have anything in your yearly goals related to professional and personal development then you need to find a new job. Every time an opportunity to develop professionally was presented to me it never came without the other party saying, "this would also be good for The Young Professionalist." Like, what? They really want a sister to be out here WINNING! As an employee I respect that and there is a sense of loyalty that comes with it as well. 

By the way, this post is inspired by a recent award I won. While I was at the BlogHer conference my employer was having their bi-annual employee luncheon. You know those funny awards HR thinks is fun to give away? Well, I won one of those and I am the proud recipient of the Most Likely to be Famous from their Side Hustle Award. I was shocked because I did not know that many people were aware of my blogging or my side business but I was glowing on the inside. To me, it meant that my work outside of the 9-5 was valid and that my employer supported my passion to, "do me," after 5:00pm. 

My experience is definitely not the same for everyone and just as my employer respects my side hustle your employer may frown upon it. I get it and I feel you. Its definitely not a great position but what I will say is definitely find a place that will respect your passions outside of the office. I'm not saying they will support it but if you can be open and transparent without getting the side eye or someone watching over your shoulder then you've hit the jackpot. This is definitely the biggest reason I've been open. I ain't in the business of hiding because that is just not me. Plus, I'm very okay with letting everyone know that as a millennial I have to support myself outside of my 9-5 paycheck. I got student loans to pay.

So, what is your view? Do you have your own business and are you hiding it or not? Why? I would love to hear the story of others. I also want to leave you with this. Get your side hustle on and make that paper!

See you at the top,

The Young Professionalist


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