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My Biggest Fail in Balancing Side Gigs with Corporate Life: Lessons Learned

😳🐲 Sharing personal failures can be daunting, but it's through these experiences that we often learn the most valuable lessons.

One of my biggest missteps occurred while juggling a side gig with my corporate job. Here’s a look at what happened and what I would do differently now.

🪨 The Miscommunication Breakdown

My side gig was a passion project that I was deeply invested in, but I made a critical error: I didn't communicate enough about it with my manager. In hindsight, I can see how this lack of transparency created a breeding ground for misunderstandings.

🙄🐲 My manager started to worry. He suspected I might be competing with the company or, worse, burning out due to overcommitment. In reality, it was his lack of trust and understanding that was the real issue, but I hadn't done enough to bridge that gap.

🔥 The Consequences

This mistrust led to increased scrutiny. I felt micromanaged and undervalued, which only fueled the tension. My work environment became stressful, and I found myself constantly defending my commitment and capabilities. It got ugly and for no real reason!

🐉 Navigating my corporate job and side gig was like a dragon trying to balance its wings in turbulent skies. When I failed to communicate effectively, it was as if I clipped one of my wings, making it harder to stay aloft and maintain direction. Through these challenges, I learned that a dragon needs both wings working in harmony to soar to new heights - just as we need trust and transparency to succeed in both our professional and personal endeavors.

💚 What I Would Do Differently

1. Open Communication: I would establish a regular check-in routine with my manager to discuss my side gig and how it fits into my overall career goals. Transparency can build trust and alleviate fears of competition or burnout.

2. Set Clear Boundaries: Clear communication about my availability and how I manage my time would have helped reassure my manager that my corporate responsibilities were not suffering. I would outline my work hours and ensure there was no overlap affecting my corporate job.

3. Align Goals: I would work on aligning my side gig with the corporate mission, showing how the skills and insights gained from my side project could benefit my main job. This alignment can turn potential conflict into a win-win situation for both parties. By the way, this shouldn’t be a necessity, but it helps!

4. Document Progress and Impacts: Regularly documenting and sharing how my side gig contributes to my personal and professional growth could demonstrate its positive impact. This practice helps in creating a narrative that supports my dual roles. Again, not necessary, but it could help a nervous manager manage their worries.

5. Seek Feedback: Actively seeking feedback from my manager about any concerns and addressing them promptly would have been crucial. It’s essential to be proactive in managing perceptions and expectations.

💪🏿🐲 Lessons for Leaders

For managers, fostering an environment of trust and open dialogue is key. Encouraging employees to discuss their side gigs can lead to a more engaged and innovative workforce. Recognizing and leveraging the skills employees gain from their side projects can be beneficial for the entire organization.

My experience taught me the importance of communication, trust, and alignment. By learning from these mistakes, I’ve become better at balancing multiple roles and ensuring that both my corporate job and my side gig thrive.

💚💚💚 If you’ve faced similar challenges, I’d love to hear how you navigated them. Let's spark a conversation and inspire change together.

Feel free to comment below and share your own experiences!

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