3 Side Struggles Everyone Told Me To Already Try
- I’ve tried everything under the sun, from keeping dogs to working in a sewing factory.
- Three side struggles everyone told me to really try to suck it up.
- I lost money while driving Instacart, and I worked in a cookie store that put my health at risk during the pandemic.
I’ve tried every aspect of hustle under the sun.
In Chicago, while I was in college, I hand-sewed leather wallets for a high-end accessory brand, and worked as a personal assistant to two wealthy businessmen, all while completing my first internship at a local magazine.
In New York, I arranged people’s homes, worked as a personal assistant again for my basement neighbor, worked behind the scenes at Fashion Week, and watched people’s dogs.
In Los Angeles, I worked at a cookie store, started delivering groceries through Instacart, and went on to get paid to be the best dog uncle and dog breeder in the world.
I desperately needed money and took any side suggestions from people, including becoming a delivery driver for services like
and Instacart. While I am grateful for the side carts that helped me put food on the table while I struggled financially, only a few of them sucked the life out of me.
These are the three side gigs that I wish I had never tried.
1. Driving for Instacart
Nothing has made me lose faith in humanity like seeing how badly people disrespect Instacart shoppers during a global pandemic. Some customers ordered 12 cans of soda and a gallon of water, and I had to carry several flights of stairs while my car was parked precariously on the street – and they only paid $1.50 for an order worth hundreds.
After calculating the cost of gas in Los Angeles and valuable time wasted searching for specific items in the store, I actually lost $2 an hour driving for Instacart.
The only plus side is that they pay on a regular and reliable basis, with the option to get paid instantly using the instant withdrawal feature. On the days when I couldn’t afford to eat, this feature came in handy.
2. Personal assistant
Don’t get me wrong: being a personal assistant comes with many unique perks. When wealthy managers no longer wanted their expensive clothes, furniture, books, or other things, I was able to keep them or resell them for a profit. She paid me to go shopping at luxury stores, like upscale furniture store Restoration Hardware, while swiping my manager’s credit card. I had cash flow during the holidays when they needed more help picking out and wrapping gifts.
But putting pressure on someone to text me at all hours of the day to make sure their needs would be taken care of simply wasn’t worth it. I felt powerless about my own schedule, plus I couldn’t help but feel that some tasks were just busy work and had no real impact on their lives. Especially as a person of color who mostly works with wealthy white people, I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with the nature of work.
3. Cookie baker
I started working at a cookie store in Los Angeles in February 2020. I am grateful for this opportunity as it helped me make ends meet during difficult times, however, once the pandemic started, things changed dramatically in our work environment.
While everyone else was collecting unemployment checks worth twice what I did in a month, we were risking our lives during the pandemic to bake cookies. It was sad and frustrating not to close the store, choosing to prioritize profits over workers’ health.
Many customers were unwilling to wear masks. To make matters worse, the company decided to add more food delivery platforms, such as
In addition to our own delivery service. We were quickly inundated with requests for cookies, but the store wouldn’t increase its budget to put more workers in the schedule to keep up with the demand.
At the time, I had no choice but to take these gigs. I had to bake cookies for minimum wage, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to buy groceries. I’m grateful those days were behind me, but these three side gigs in particular have done more damage to my mental health and self-esteem in the long run.