Monday, July 6, 2009

When That Day Job Gets in the Way...

I wish I had the magic wand and magic answer to this one!!

But I thought I would discuss it anyway, as it comes up a great deal, in many different circles.

As a singer/actor/dancer - in whatever genre that may be - you have chosen to be a kind-of gypsy. I say "kind-of" because there is a fluidity in that statement. Your choices change over time, with experience, and with discoveries.

However, pursuing your artistic life and trying to make a living at it can be exhausting and "sacrificing for your art" can get really tired, really fast. So, a "day" job is a necessity - to pay rent, to not starve, to do the things that are needed to get by and get through. Remember, 95% of us are unemployed at any given time! Day job is REAL!

When the auditions are slow, when there is no work, the day job can be a welcome diversion. But if there are possibilities, and now you have to juggle your day to day with what COULD be, ah, now the dilemma.

How do you pay rent, work your day job, audition, build your craft, still have friends and time to laugh and just "be", get performance job, and find another day job when that job is over???

It is fatiguing - no question. Just writing that I had to stretch!!! It is exhausting.

Is it do-able? Of course! Now is the time to get creative with your life! You HAVE to in order to accommodate all the necessary things you must DO.

Balance takes time - and it changes. Priorities change. Life changes. The one thing we can be sure of is that nothing stays the same. So, do not beat yourself up if you haven't found a balance yet! You will if it is important to you!

Pursuing a career takes energy - time, emotional, psychological, physical, money. How much are you able and willing to devote? We would all like to say EVERYTHING, but believe it or not, artists must be realistic and the ones that can be real with themselves find their place much more comfortably.

These are ONLY suggestions, but perhaps it can help or lead you to way that works with you and for you. Often, when I am overwhelmed, I write (surprise surprise!) and making creative lists can help. Keep these lists and every couple of months revisit the exercise and then look to compare from 2 months ago. You will begin to see yourself in light that will draw you into YOUR next. What is important to you? Write down 5 things that come into your head - no value judgement, no thinking about it. What do you want to do? 5 things - first things that come into your head. What do you love about YOU? again, 5 things - no thinking, just respond! What do you want MORE of? same deal; What do you want LESS of? again, 5 things...

You might be surprised, elated, provoked by what you reveal to yourself about yourself.

Where do these "answers" take you? I hope, deeper into your psyche to discover who you are and who you want to be and how you can better find that person fully. It is a beginning exercise to then bring it into a fuller dimension of how your day patterns, where you are losing energy, gaining it, putting it, needing it. These are your choices. The change may not happen immediately - perhaps it will become clear you need a different day job. That may take time, but you will put the focus and energy into it to find the right one for the right time. Perhaps you need more sleep, more exercise, more practice time, more specific goals on classes/auditioning/building a project for yourself...

Whenever something begins to feel like it's in the way, it is yours to do something with. There is a change a'coming and it is YOURS to recognize and YOURS to develop. This can be an exciting time for you if you SEIZE it and discover it.

Clear space for you - make time for you - discover you! Then and only then will the discoveries happen and the changes show clarity. Whining and moaning might feel good for a minute (!) and then it's time to DISCOVER AND CLAIM.

Each step is closer to the authentic YOU and the complex YOU that will find the path that is right in the moment. Stay fluid, stay present, BE in the moment and know that path may change! Be true to yourself - if the path changes, it is okay; Explore it! It if takes you elsewhere and it makes you content, go where YOU lead, not where somebody tells you to go.

So when you wake up exhausted, disgusted, frustrated, blah, or just curious - take it as a sign to do a "life check" - where am I? where do I want to be? what is important NOW?

It will allow growth and development - and perhaps you will see why that day job is getting in the is trying to show you something - your choice as to whether you see it or not.

COME ON!!! Be that creative creature you are!!!! LIVE creatively! Discover it! Breathe it!!


  1. I thought this would be painful to read and it was, but I read it anyhow, and now here I am commenting, which I probably shouldn't. I think even taking day jobs that are fleeting eventually becomes a luxury and those of us in life's autum not its spring end up in day jobs that take up not 40 but over 50 hours a week and for many of us sloughing that off (and all the life sustaining benefits that go with it) is not an option. For me my "day job" does not just pay the rent it also provides health insurance and money for my retirement, a discounted metro card, vacation, and people who know me so if I need time off for family emergencies I can have it.

    In my case I believe (particularly in this economy) it is too late to jump ship, particularly since if I stick it out in my current situation for three more years I will have health insurance for life no matter what I do next.

    My challenge is what to do with the one or two hours of free time a day that I do have. Do I work on new music, try to network to plan another church fundraising concert, or take the path of least resistance and watch tv?

  2. Why shouldn't you comment? You have made your life work...THIS is what I am talking about! You have found what needs to work for NOW. You are finding what you NEED and even with a few free hours, you have created OPTIONS! BRAVA! Why was it painful to read? I am curious...

  3. Adding to say - day jobs are REAL and we take them because we NEED to and even because we WANT to. This is the point. It is okay to decide, what I NEED what makes me content is this path - and my singing/acting et al will be part of me just not the ONLY part. The priorities change - and ultimately IT IS OKAY.

  4. And you say you're not a psychologist... ;)

    This advice, as most of the advice you give, also applies to life in general. I was thinking it would be great advice to give to new moms, tweaking it a bit for the particulars.

    Another thing to do when things get overwhelming is to make lists breaking things down into smaller steps. The unmanageable suddenly becomes manageable!

    Thanks, as always, for another great blog entry.