How old are “old Chinese sayings” and how many are actually Chinese? Fewer than all of them, I surmise. However, one I encountered said that wisdom consists in getting things by their right names. It appealed to me because it stressed accuracy in speech.
Awash as we are in mendacity, the article quoted here refreshes by signaling how “cute” euphemisms can cloak misery — in this case, “the chaotic truth of working life in today’s America.” The author recommends that we improve the way we talk about work by shunning cynical, exploitative jargon.
The “side hustle” is one of a growing roster of trendy corporatized idioms, like ordinary household appliances that are now “smart” or plain vanilla businessmen and women remade into the more exotic “entrepreneurs.” Our jobs are now “flexible,” although we are the ones contorting ourselves to work at all hours, or we are professionally “nimble” because we are trying to survive on freelance gigs.
So what can we do? For starters, anyone writing about work… should stop glorifying long hours at work or juggling multiple workplace identities… As workers, we might acknowledge that “side hustle” is an insidious term and resolve never to use it again. More broadly, we must fight other forms of this falsifying new jargon and seek out more truthful language….
(Alissa Quart, “The Con of the Side Hustle,” NYTimes, 4-6-19)
(c) 2019 JMN.