From software to side hustle, how I make it work - Ginny Fahs, #MovingForwardFeatured

Share your experiences of managing your side hustle on top of your full time software engineering job.My old apartment had a poster in the front window that faced out towards the street, with the famous Thoreau quote: “Live the life you’ve imagined.” Because it faced the street, I saw the quote every time I came home. It always struck me as odd (the poster was my roommate’s). Growing up, I didn’t spend much time imagining my future. Some of my friends knew they wanted to become doctors or scientists or urban planners. I just knew that I wanted to leave the world better than I found it. I was open to the idea that this could and would take many forms. Not quite knowing where I’ll land next is exhilarating to me, and in that sense, I’m the opposite of Thoreau: I prefer living a life I never could have imagined.One of the benefits of not having a set-in-stone career vision is that when opportunities pop up, I make space to explore them. Last March, my friend @andrea called and said she was working on getting an activism project off the ground. The project would address power imbalances in the venture capital industry - an important topic, as access to capital means access to power in a variety of forms. I rolled up my sleeves, ultimately co-founding a social movement alongside @andrea, @cheryl, and @tracy called #MovingForward (VentureMovingForward.org).I still work as a software engineer at Uber Eats. I love the people I get to work with and the joy of shipping code with global reach. In my free time, I dig in on activism. Now the Executive Director of #MovingForward, I am always connecting with people working on issues of equity and inclusion, taking phone calls with VCs, penning blog posts about our movement, and building out our volunteer team. I do this work every day in the early morning before I go to work. The more engaged I become with #MovingForward, the more it spills into evenings and weekends. Activism is now my true side hustle - always on my mind, ever the work I can’t wait to return to.If you’re still trying to find your professional north star and you’re open to exploration, consider a side project (it doesn’t have to be activism). Self-driven projects outside of work can help you get your feet wet in different industries, build a network, and establish a level of creative control that those of us still early in our careers don’t always have at work. I’ve also been surprised by how often #MovingForward complements my job at Uber. It’s given me the chance to develop negotiation, collaboration, and other critical skills that serve my full-time role. I spent too long believing that the best thing I could do to succeed was throw myself at the job. Now, I appreciate the ways that my side project rounds out my skill set and network. It’s also helping me chart a vision for my next chapter that brings me closer to social change.Is there a project you’re already hustling for on the side, or one that you’re considering joining or starting yourself? Shout it out in the comments!Ginny Fahs is a software engineer at Uber based in San Francisco, California. Working on the backend of Uber Eats she ensures the customer experience is seamless. She is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of #MovingForward which gathers VC commitments to foster diverse, inclusive, and harassment-free workplaces. To date over 100 VC firms in the US have committed. Prior to this she worked as a Senior Marketing Manager at Glow. She studied History and Literature at Harvard University and trained in full stack web development at Dev Bootcamp.
Abadesi's profile thumbnail
Hi Elphas – as a reminder – this is part of our public posts series sharing conversations with women across tech on the topic of #careergrowth. Ginny, thank you for sharing with us.Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
andrea's profile thumbnail
And I'm so glad you took the reign at #MovingForward!! The team is lucky to have your leadership. A bit of history -- I met Ginny through my own side hustle. About six or so years ago when I was working in private equity, I took my first Board of Directors role at a non-profit. One of the other directors introduced me to Ginny. Forever grateful that the non-profit took a chance on me to have a relatively young person on the board. I learned a lot about how to run and grow a successful non-profit, and I also hope I contributed back with a new lens and line of thinking for the Board, who were all far more experienced than I was.If you have a chance to join a board of a growing non-profit-- highly recommend!
VivianC's profile thumbnail
Thanks Ginny for sharing! I am a big believer in the power of side hustles. I first started doing side projects because I wanted to do more, faster, and on my own terms. Instead of feeling stuck or constantly fighting for projects at work, I found side opportunities that challenged me in new ways. Within 6 months, I was offered a position that was several levels above where I was a year ago. That's when I realized that I had leapfrogged my career by showing the world what I can do instead of what my bosses think I can do. In fact, I started my company Rise (joinrise.co) to help women do just that.
kuan's profile thumbnail
Such an inspiring and uplifting story! Thank you for sharing!