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Polywork Reads: Gen Z's work woes & how founders can leverage AI

Polywork Reads: Gen Z's work woes & how founders can leverage AI

Welcome to the latest edition of Polywork Reads, our team's scouring of the internet's best in side income, personal branding, and the future of work for your reading, viewing, or listening (or sometimes combinations of all of the above) pleasure.

This time around, we took a deep dive into the topics that stole headlines over the past month: uncovering the motivations behind Gen Z’s gravitation towards side hustles, why one founder thinks AI is the future of personal branding, and mourning the lack of mentors for a new generation of professionals.

Gen Z is side hustle-heavy, but not for the reasons you may think

A growing cohort of Gen Z workers — to the tune of 40% – are taking on side hustles, according to a recent survey by EY.

Why? Mostly to protect their livelihoods — a struggling economy coupled with the rapidly changing dynamics of work are among the culprits cited by Fortune author Paolo Confino. One glaring issue contributing to the rise in side hustles: workers no longer enjoy the job stability of generations’ past, a warning signal that alternative sources of income may be needed sooner than later.

Why my side hustle makes me a better full time employee | Polywork Blog
Why our side hustles can actually make us better at our full-time jobs.

“In a separate, not yet published survey that EY shared with Fortune, 73% of Gen Z said they have a side hustle to “make more money.” It’s a way to hedge against the financial turmoil that can happen when the economy goes south and firms cut their employees loose, EY Americas’ cultural insights and customer strategy leader Marcie Merriman said in the article. Gen Z were raised by parents who lived through the worst of the 2008 financial crisis. They watched millennials graduate college and enter the job market at the nadir of the Great Recession. And they themselves came of age in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the economy to a standstill and saw record layoffs in March and April 2020.”

Source: Fortune and EY

AI: A founder’s secret personal branding weapon

Founder and Forbes contributor Kalina Bryant aims to make a case for AI as an under-utilized tool by founders to grow their personal brands.

She hones in on three areas – enhancing engagement metrics, audience targeting, and social media management — as three important keys to unlocking personal branding impact, all of which can be achieved by better leveraging AI.

Guide to AI tools for future of work | Polywork Blog
A guide to AI tools that you can add to your digital tech stack and use it for greater productivity.

“Personal branding is a dynamic journey that combines the power of marketing, AI, and expert guidance. To take your brand to the next level, start by understanding your audience, creating valuable content, and maintaining consistency.”

Source: Forbes

Mourning the demise of the mentor

It’s been a rough roundup for Gen Z, who are also seeing the impact of a new work environment on their ability to find and learn from mentors, author Chloe Berger laments in Fortune.

Berger cites new survey data from Adobe and other sources to come to a troubling realization — there aren’t enough mentors to go around for a generation that likely needs them most.

Mentoring: A guide for getting started | Polywork Blog
An expert’s guide to becoming a mentor and where Polywork can help.

“Just 52% of Gen Zers say they have a mentor, according to Adobe’s newly-released survey of more than 1,000 Gen Zers. But it’s not for lack of wanting: A whopping 83% of Gen Z workers reported to Adobe that they think a “workplace mentor is crucial for their career.” Without one, the most junior employees are forced to navigate an uncertain and ever-shifting professional landscape on their own.”

Source: Fortune

Honorable mentions

  • How This Seller Makes $12,000 a Month of Passive Income on Etsy | Entrepreneur
  • How to build a strong personal brand in the digital age | Fast Company
  • Leverage Your Online Presence | Above the Law
  • Leak: Shopify clarifies its stance on employee side hustles in new internal guidance one day after CEO memo said Shopify requires 'unshared attention' | Business Insider

Give your side hustle the front-page treatment it deserves – get started on Polywork.