The Art of Hustling

For some reason the term “Hustle” has a negative connotation. In my research, I’ve come to see it means to move with haste or to fraud or swindle someone, but in this day and age, any word can have a negative connotation. I choose to believe that we can assign whatever meaning to any word as we so desire, so for me, and I hope for a lot of others we can appreciate the word hustle for what it truly means.

I familiarized myself with this term a long time ago and to me, it has a whole new meaning. I had to fend for myself earlier than I would have liked, but circumstances were what they were and so I had to make due. I learned that I couldn’t allow my circumstances to define me or my purpose, and so I sought to create my own life- free from the torrid situations of my youth.

When I moved to Ohio, two things were absolute:
1) I had to rely on myself and no one else and 2) I had to make sure that no matter what, history didn’t repeat itself. (When I publish my memoir, you’ll learn of all the things I’ve overcome). So knowing these two things, this created some certainties after I graduated from college. I knew that I couldn’t be homeless and tying that in with my absolutes, it meant I had to do whatever was necessary to make sure that didn’t happen. I had to make money and while I wasn’t ready to flip burgers, nothing was out of the question.

I moved in temporarily with a friend and when I was planning to move somewhere more permanent it fell through, so I had to make something more permanent and that’s what I did. I had to work hard and I had to have money, because another certainty was that I had to eat and I had to pay bills and I was on my own so I had to make it work so what did I do?

From 9am-2pm I worked at the college I went to in the bookstore, then from 2:30-5pm I worked at the middle school and then from 5:30pm-10pm I worked at CVS and I did this everyday until I lost the job at the college at which point, I became a full time substitute teacher. And I did that, and the middle school’s after school program and CVS. I wasn’t making a lot of money with three jobs but I also wasn’t worried about rent or Sallie Mae or insurance or where my next meal was coming from.

If you could see my full resume it would probably astound you and working so many jobs and doing so many different things kind of made me apprehensive about growing up, because after it was all said and done, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. But through this experience I learned that hustling is a part of life and even when we find that perfect job, we should continue to hustle in the now and build that perfect future. Retiring isn’t going to be easy- American isn’t what is used to be, so we have to work harder than we ever had to.

Don’t think you’re above anything, because the only thing that is certain for any of us is death. So work hard, don’t give up and hustle on.


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