Author Topic: Should I choose a side hustle or degree?  (Read 1223 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Should I choose a side hustle or degree?
« on: July 25, 2019, 06:48:41 PM »
Hi folks, long time lurker, first time poster. I have a few options on what I can do with my spare time this upcoming year, and I would like input on which option is most likely to set me up for success.

Option 1: Currently I'm a programmer for a fairly prestigious film festival. This is a side gig that pays me $1500, but when broken down hourly I'm making less than minimum wage. I'm afraid to calculate how much less. Comes with some cool perks, I'm passionate about it and have volunteered with the festival several years, and I get to meet cool/influential people that could possibly help me in my field (non-profit/arts world).

Option 2: I work for a university and could get a free MPA. School isn't that hard for me, but I'm sure this would take up a fair amount of time as I want to finish in under 2 years. Apparently the program is not too challenging. Hopefully this would lead to higher pay in the future, but do Master's degrees actually mean that much of a pay raise anymore?

Option 3: Working on side projects that I haven't had time to because I typically have worked several jobs. Now that I have my stable university job, I could focus on starting my blog or freelance writing, which I have done successfully in the past.

What do you think will set me up best for future success? Should I attempt all 3 at once? I'm in my late twenties and have moderate (no longer boundless) energy and usually work at least 45 hrs a week.

slow hand slow plan

  • Stubble
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Re: Should I choose a side hustle or degree?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2019, 11:32:48 AM »
option 4:

You might want to just look for a job that you are passionate about that pays better...

Or you could reach out to more similar art and festival projects and try to drum up more additional work that way


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Should I choose a side hustle or degree?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2019, 12:09:10 PM »
Are you excited about blogging and writing?  Or is it just a thing you know you can do?

And what job would you get with your MPA?  Is it a job that interests you?  It sort of sounds like you just kind of settled on an MPA, but that you aren't looking at the underlying job prospects.  I think a degree for the sake of a degree is rarely a good plan.  Would it help you at your current job/employer, opening doors for advancement?  Or are there specific jobs in the field, which require an MPA, that interest you?  And have you researched to see if you can get those jobs with an MPA but little relevant experience (assuming your current job isn't related)?  Why did you settle on MPA?

Finally, what is your financial picture like.  Answers might be different for someone with six figures of debt than they are for someone with a 50% savings rate.  For the latter, the film job seems great, but for the former, maximizing income may need to outweigh following your bliss.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Should I choose a side hustle or degree?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2019, 01:48:26 PM »
@Villanelle I am excited about blogging and writing, definitely one (of many passions). The MPA would help me at my current employer and within the non-profit world which my entire career thus far has been in. I have years of non-profit experience, but within the university world I've been told getting an MPA will increase my pay rate in the kind of university positions I am interested in. I'm debt free and have a fairly high savings rate, but I would like to make more money. I guess my primary motivation for getting an MPA is the higher rate of pay that I could get within a university setting. And I enjoy school and learning new things. Outside of a university setting, I'm unsure how much of a benefit an MPA would be; perhaps I need to do more research into that. I just feel like later on I'll regret turning down a FREE Master's degree.