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Why You Should Have a Side Gig

Evan Winter

So you’re a physician. You’ve spent years in school and training putting in many long, hard hours to do something you love. You enjoy the vast majority of time spent at your day job and wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. But what if medicine isn’t the only thing you’re passionate about? Being the high-achievers they are, physicians and other professionals usually have interests and hobbies outside of their career field. Often, the desire to learn, grow, and diversify life skills doesn’t end with medical school or training, and you may consider turning one of your hobbies into something more. Here are a few reasons why you should pursue a side gig. 

Supplement Income 

Perhaps the most obvious reason to cultivate a side gig is to supplement or diversify income. As a physician, you likely have significant stable income, but maybe you would like some extra funds to pay off student loans quickly, add to a retirement account, or just have additional spending money. A paying side gig not only provides extra cash flow but is also a phenomenal way to expand and diversify income streams while doing something you enjoy. Having more than one source of income supplies stability in case another is threatened and may provide you with greater leverage when negotiating salary and benefits from your full-time job. 

Develop New Skills 

Whether your side gig is related to medicine, like writing a medical blog, or seems vastly different, like teaching rock climbing, you will hone some skills you may not have been developing previously. Side gigs associated with your day job have somewhat obvious benefits of furthering your medical knowledge and increasing your exposure to new ideas and ways of approaching your specialty. However, more obscure side gigs can also positively affect your day-to-day life in more roundabout ways like increasing communication abilities or improving business skills such as marketing and negotiation. You may be surprised at how you end up connecting what you learn from a side gig to what you do full-time. 

Release Stress and Diversify Sources of Self-Esteem 

As you are probably aware, physician burnout and imposter syndrome in medicine have been hot topics for quite some time now, but having a side gig is just one more way you can fend off both. A side gig can create an outlet outside of work to help occupy your mind on your more stressful days. Instead of coming home to dwell on what isn’t going so well, you can focus energy into another project. This is especially helpful when your side gig is very different from medicine. In times when you’re struggling to feel like you belong in your field, spending time on something else in which you excel and that makes you happy will provide another source of positive self-esteem. Some people prefer to be busy all the time, often to keep their minds off the negative aspects of life. In this case, a side gig also has you covered. Since a side gig isn’t necessarily a primary source of income, there should not be any pressure to perform at a certain level. You can tailor your activities to your desired intensity and even change that intensity periodically. 

Learn More About Yourself and Network with Others 

If you never try something, you really don’t know if you will enjoy it. Taking the next step with a side gig will teach you more about yourself and how you like spending time. Maybe your hobby could become something more if you put in a little extra effort, or maybe you will find it best left as just a hobby. You won’t know until you try. Not only can you discover more about yourself, but developing a side gig may provide opportunities to network with others like you, whether they be physicians who also enjoy the same activities or individuals who have no connection to the medical profession. You may find yourself with a whole new group of friends and acquaintances who you would have never met without pursuing a new interest. 

The Takeaway 

There are many reasons why you should have a side gig, and some you may not even consider until taking the plunge. Having a solid escape from your day job has the potential to positively impact your mental, physical, and financial health, depending on the direction you take it. The obscurity of that direction may seem daunting at first, especially if you’re comparing yourself to others who have become successful with their side gigs, but remember that by definition a side gig is not your full-time job. You have no strong obligations to it and are free to shape it into whatever fits you best. Whether it is made from an existing hobby, or an activity you only recently became curious about, consider exploring the possibilities and crafting a side gig.

While having a side gig is great for a number of reasons, it is important to consider how it relates to your employment contract. Often, contracts include some language requiring approval for the physician to perform outside work and generate income from it, especially if that work is related to medicine. If you are considering a new contract or starting a side gig, you should review your new or existing agreement for such clauses. Resolve's team will help you review and negotiate so you are not only maximizing the compensation and benefits received from your job, but also have more freedom to pursue a side gig. Visit our contract review page for more information and to contact our team!