Making Time for a Side Non-Hustle

Why everyone needs their own Space Tractor

As I sit down to write this at 9 a.m., the day is already in full swing. I've responded to 17 emails, chimed in on a handful of Slack threads, and rejiggered my calendar to shift the meetings stacked on top of meetings. 

You all know the drill. Those of us fortunate enough to get to enjoy a life in advertising (or tech, or just about anything these days) know work is relentlessly demanding and seemingly knows no boundaries. 

On top of that, there are the side hustles. Everyone's got one—trying to be the next Jim Gaffigan (an ex-copywriter btw), running a greeting-card company, amateur dentistry, etc.

Yeah, we're all busy as hell. No surprise there. That's why it's essential to maintain your sanity with some sort of side non-hustle. Something we do for ourselves with zero added pressure. 

Mowing the grass is a bit like that for me. Very zen. Like maintaining a desktop Japanese rock garden, but on a larger scale set to the rumble of a gas-powered Toro engine. 

Cooking, too. I like that cooking is a finite activity. Buy stuff for tacos. Make tacos. Serve tacos. Receive thanks for tacos, even if you screw them up. 

But my true side non-hustle is my dad band, the infamous Space Tractor. That's where I really plug in and unplug from it all. (See what I did there? Copywriting…) 

Our first jam sessions monumentally sucked. But as we hacked our way through "Blitzkreig Bop," "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and "Folsom Prison Blues," we all realized this was exactly where we needed to be. 

Now every Thursday night, after all our kids go to bed, our band members straggle into our rehearsal room/club house. The space is a perfect rock sanctuary—a giant concrete bunker literally insulated from the outside world with, uh, insulation. 

For added visual context: Our rehearsal room has been described as looking like Guitar Center opened the door, threw up inside and slammed the door shut before anything could escape. 

It truly is a magical little bunker. With one flip of a switch, the amps all fire up with a welcoming hum and the janky colored stage lights flicker on and say, "Howdy, boys. Great to see you again." 

My fellow band members and I are all in the same boat, or tractor. Five dudes with day jobs—in advertising, tech, healthcare and the federal court system—yes, there is a federal judge among our ranks. And on any given night, it's arguable which one of us needs our little side non-hustle more.

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Hart Rusen
Hart Rusen is chief creative officer at SocialDeviant.

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