With corporate America still grappling to reclaim its footing in a post-pandemic return to the office world, people are spending more time and energy contemplating their purpose and the passions that fuel them.

No longer willing to accept blanket job offers with standardized terms and conditions, the American worker is negotiating new agreements, ones that support their financial, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Some desire remote work while others are trading some time in the office for fewer hours or a shorter work week. But it’s not the lack of motivation to work which is driving people to compromise with their corporate employers. Now, more than ever, people are embracing their own American dream.

Unfulfilled by humdrum of the daily grind and uninspired by the corporate ladder, employees are realizing the best plan to fund and fuel their dreams is by filling their own financial tanks.

Side hustles, moonlighting, and weekend gig opportunities are coming out of the hush-hush shadows to become more mainstream. Just ask your friends and neighbors what they do for a living and there is a chance you’ll get a complex answer comprised of day-job and extracurricular financial activities.

Finding happiness at work is becoming a full-time job and employees are working harder than ever to achieve it.

Perhaps due to the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic, people are deciding to say no to positions and places that no longer serve their higher aspirations. The Great Resignation, while a drastic and dramatic mass exodus, tells the story of a tired workforce, out of oxygen, seeking a new breath of life to carry them into their next phase of professional freedom.

Focused on pursuing their passions, or calling, some workers are deciding to step down or step back to take lower paying corporate jobs to pay the bills, secure medical insurance, and fund their personal business pursuits.

Real estate investment, lifestyle businesses, blogging, and start-ups are normalized as secondary income streams. With the recent uptick in inflation, supply chain costs, and instability on the world’s financial stage, Americans aren’t willing to put all their trust in the traditional job market.

How does corporate respond to side-hustle nation? Embrace it, of course. While there continues to be rules of engagement and conflict-of-interest guidelines, most employees are supported in their secondary employment. Corporations accept the idea that happy workers are productive ones, and if making some money on the side adds to that happiness while keeping workers gainfully in their employ, then let it rain.

What steps can you take to pursue your calling? Like the diverse options in the sea of opportunity, there is no one right way, but taking the first steps might look like this:

  • Think about what drives you, whether it’s money, service, or creative development.
  • Narrow down your desires and options.
  • Inventory your skillsets – the ones you have and the ones you are willing to develop or refine.
  • Estimate the amount of time (and be honest) that you have to invest.
  • Investigate your organization’s rules and requirements about disclosing and pursuing secondary employment.

Workers no longer need to feel like they’re stuck on the hamster wheel with no escape in sight. Instead, they can safely try something, or several somethings, without losing the safety and security of their corporate jobs, in hopes of sparking that million-dollar idea, funding their kid’s college fund, or finding their true calling. The American dream is, once again, alive and well.

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