In this time and age, the best you can do to reach the success you dream of is hustle. You will hear most hard-working individuals saying, “I’m hustling,” and the truth is they find themselves working more than two jobs, over 60 hours a week. Although the word hustle used to refer to an illicit or unethical way of making a living, it has now changed its original meaning for a more positive connotation. Those who are hustling, in reality, are making “strenuous efforts to obtain especially money or business.” Most women you meet in your day-to-day life are hustling their way to the top.
If you are paying any attention to what goes on in the workforce, you will realize there is a big pay gap women face in every job they have. Although they are capable of doing the same tasks as men and at times are better qualified, they are paid less than their male colleagues. For example, in the United States, women make 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This continues to happen even though women hold 51.8% of management positions. So, even though they are academically prepared for the job at hand — 57.3% of Bachelor’s degrees, 60.1% of Master’s degrees, and 53.5% of Doctorate’s degrees are earned by women — they are not compensated fairly.
Back in December 2019, 50.04% of the American workforce was made up of women. The vast majority of them focused on health care and retail. However, Aparna Mathur, the American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Paid Family Leave Project Director, says simply holding a job does not guarantee financial stability. For that reason, many women find themselves hustling, working more than one job. In 2018, 9.1% of women worked more than one job while only 6.6% of men held more than one position.
The reality is women have to work harder than their male counterparts to make it to the top. And even then, they have to continue proving themselves worthy of the positions they hold. They work hard through college, do their very best at every interview, and end up being told by a pay gap that their work is not as worthy as the work done by men. But instead of giving up and wallowing in injustice, they continue to hustle through every work the 24 hours in a day allow them to do because most women do not have the luxury to stop working.
The true story
Like many women in America, I found myself hustling. I work two jobs — one full-time 9 to 5 and one part-time four times a week. Do I need both jobs? Truth be told, with my full-time job, I would be able to pay my bills, keep a roof over my head, and food in my cats’ tummies, but I would not be able to enjoy life as much as I want to or save to build the future I see for myself. So, instead of living month to month, I decided to work two jobs and allow myself the small luxuries of life.
My coworkers see me leave the office in my server uniform, and my server friends get to hear how tired I am from never-ending long days. Every single one of them gets to see me hustle my way through life, thriving and getting one step closer to where I want to be. I learned that from the many women who came before me and taught me you must fight and work hard for what you want in this life. I did not take that teaching lightly. I took it literally and began building a career that would make my dreams come true.
So, my 9 to 5 job pays for my bills and allows me to spoil my cats, while my tips are for my tattoos, my nails, and my savings account. Hustling has allowed me to save as much money as possible to one day buy the beach house I dream of and give my children the kind of life my parents worked hard to provide me with.
Women have always been hustlers. Working hard in every way possible to keep the home afloat, the children content, and their spouses on the right track. When they were able to, they took that same energy into college classrooms and later on to meeting rooms to show they were ready to take the world. Even though there is a pay gap and female workers are not compensated the way they deserve to, they continue to work hard every day. Hustling, with the positive connotation we now give it, is one of the most admirable things a person could do nowadays … and to think it came from a term that used to mean the exact opposite.