Side Gigs Can Lift Mood Enough to Improve Performance in Main Job

(p. R4) Contrary to the popular wisdom, moonlighting doesn’t leave people worn out and unproductive from 9 to 5. Instead, side gigs can make people feel more empowered—and thereby more productive at the office.

Dr. Sessions and his colleagues—whose results were recently published in the Academy of Management Journal—posted ads on large social-media networking groups, asking people to take a series of surveys about the nature of their supplementary work.  . . .

The study showed that supplementary work frequently enables side hustlers to feel empowered by taking ownership of self-directed work—which was especially true for those who were motivated beyond making money, says Dr. Sessions.

. . .

Side hustlers self-reported that they were preoccupied with their after-hours gigs the next morning, due to being deeply engaged in that work.

. . .

But that wasn’t the whole story: The moonlighters’ colleagues rated their co-workers’ performance significantly higher on those same days.

So, the uplift in mood had a statistically stronger positive effect on employee performance than the negative effect of being distracted—even if the moonlighters didn’t see things that way.

For the full story, see:

Heidi Mitchell. “When Two Jobs Can Be Better Than One.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021): R4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date November 1, 2021 , and has the title “How a Side Hustle Can Boost Performance at Your Regular Job.”)

The comprehensive review by Prof. Stephan mentioned above is:

Stephan, Ute. “Entrepreneurs’ Mental Health and Well-Being: A Review and Research Agenda.” Academy of Management Perspectives 32, no. 3 (Aug. 2018): 290-322.

The recent study co-authored by Dr. Sessions mentioned above is:

Sessions, Hudson, Jennifer D. Nahrgang, Manuel J. Vaulont, Raseana Williams, and Amy L. Bartels. “Do the Hustle! Empowerment from Side-Hustles and Its Effects on Full-Time Work Performance.” Academy of Management Journal 64, no. 1 (Feb. 2021): 235-64.

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