If you’re a millennial, and you’ve struggled since college to find meaning and fulfillment in your 9-5 job, it might be time to pursue a 6-11.

A 6-11 isn’t a replacement for your more traditional 9-5 role. Think of it as a side gig or side hustle. It’s a complement to your daily responsibilities, and it might be the conduit you need to connect with your most closely held passions.

Feeling Unfulfilled?

In the 1930s, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted a near future in which our societies were so prosperous and efficient that people would work far shorter hours while still performing roughly the same amount of work. A look out the window reveals that hasn’t quite come to pass.

Data from Wakefield Research for MOO reveals that about 75% of Americans working a traditional 9-5 job are unhappy or unfulfilled in that role — that’s a bit of a blow to our collective happiness, particularly when you realize that a full 90% of people believe a rewarding and fulfilling job is a major factor in overall happiness. Researchers have uncovered deep ties between job satisfaction and feelings of motivation, empowerment and engagement.

The scientific findings and statistics pose a clear picture of what the average worker wants out of life. We’re not looking for piles of cash to swim in, yachts, or fame and glory — although those things are nice to have. Instead, we’re looking to do something that makes us happy by feeding our passions.

First-World Millennial Problems

Today’s millennial population needs to escape from the workday boredoms that plague us during business hours. A 6-11 lets us explore the passions that go unexercised during our day jobs. Maybe it’s something you derive from your chosen field of study in college, or a new interest you picked up after graduating.

Whatever it is, it has the potential to complement your day job, and your daily routine, in a significant and self-edifying way.

In addition to shaky financial footing, Millennials also tend to be overqualified for the day jobs they eventually settle into. Between 1993 and 2003, enrollment in degree-granting educational institutions rose by 20%. Kids were told they could grow up and do “anything their hearts desired,” and they chose majors based on those desires. Then they met with the harsh reality of the post-graduate world.

Some 40% of the unemployed population in the United States is composed of millennials. Meanwhile, more than half of all millennials are underemployed and nearly a quarter of them have settled for unpaid positions simply for the experience.

The dissatisfaction and disenchantment is actually a huge opportunity — and it might give rise to major changes in the way we think about work itself.

Enter The “6-11”

It’s both scary and exciting that we’re now in direct control of our destinies and our happiness. Kathryn Minshew, founder of The Muse, said:

“The onus is on companies to improve the employee experience, but also on individuals to take their career into their own hands. Whether it’s learning a new skill online … or diving into a 6 to 11 side business, people are getting more creative than ever in determining what the ‘right career’ looks like for them.”

In other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter career path. The convenience of the modern world and our dissatisfaction with our day jobs have conspired to deliver almost unlimited opportunities. We simply need to learn how to seize them.

Learn to recognize opportunities. For some, the unfortunate realities of bill paying and tax season are reason enough to explore a 6-11.

For others, such as Kacey Royer of Found Wanderer, it’s a way to release pent-up creative energy and channel it into something of financial value to our lives.

“I decided to start my business as a way to release some of the creative energy I always had, as well as share my visions about this world with other people … This has helped reinforce my love for finding inspiration in everything I do in my personal life, as well as in my career.”

A side hustle can be more than a passion project or a labor of love: It can also advance your career in some unexpected ways. It might be tempting to surrender to feelings that you’re dividing your love, your devotion or your attention span.

That might be true — and if it is, you might want to take a step back and reevaluate.

But for many others, a side hustle can help you foster meaningful relationships with others, explore emerging or new-to-you industries or devote time to a creative pursuit that might one day bear financial fruits.

Casey Albright, of Casey Albright Photography, credits her 6-11 side hustle and the people she has met because of it for changing her life and her outlook at work.

 “We live such fast-paced lives and most days are all go-go-go without realizing how quickly time is passing … until one day we look back and wish we had lived some of those moments more slowly. Getting to do what I love for the happiness of others: that’s rewarding in itself!”

The joy that comes from pursuing your passions can develop your character in a way you never thought possible, and it has a ripple effect that goes beyond your zest for life. The fulfillment and happiness spills over into your career, motivating and inspiring you to do even better.

If You’re Going To Do This, Do It Right

If you’re going to explore a 6-11, make sure you’re doing it with the right motivations. Keep your focus on learning new skills, expanding your personal and professional networks and strengthening your personal brand.

Most importantly, have fun with it! If your side hustle isn’t something you love deeply, you’re not going to stick with it — and worse, it will serve as a distraction from your other commitments.

Done well, your 6-11 could change your life and move us one step closer to an upwardly mobile society. Give it a shot and see what happens.

Source: Forbes