The perfect job for a creative person is doing the stuff he/she loves while getting paid for it. But sometimes this is not possible. In this post, you will learn ways that can help you to survive living in a treadmill.
Choose the job that is right for you
The best thing you can do to survive your daytime job is not making it survival at all. You know what you are good at and you know what you like to do. So just apply to jobs you really want to do in the first place. It sounds difficult. And it is difficult. But it is possible.
If your skillset does not fit the job descriptions, acquire the skills you need in your spare time. I cannot remember a time in the last twenty years when I was not reading books about time management, screen writing, post production, animation techniques… If something you are really into (some call it hobby) can become the thing you do for a living, isn`t that worth fighting for? Life is extremely short. Make the best out of it.
You might think now:
That sounds great. But there is no perfect job for me in the area I live in.
Or you just cannot afford to work in the job that better fits your interests because it pays too little. What if you have a family you have to take care of? Read on.
Change your Job
By this I do not mean that you should immediately get another job. Maybe you can adapt your position to better fit your talents and interests. For example: You work in a construction company and you are responsible for creating floor plans. You are one of thirty people working with a drafting software. During your ten years at the company you have realised that your interests have shifted towards programming. So you start coding little macros (mini programmes) to extend the features of the drafting software which save time and money. As time goes by you establish yourself as the programming guy for in-house extensions. A friend of mine did so.
Your supervisor might not see at the beginning where this could lead to, and which benefits the company would have from you doing this stuff. Usually a small demonstration (like a prototype) of the things to come might help. And yes, you might have to do this in your spare time or during your commutes. You can also try to do this during downtimes in the company – in case you have some.
I did something similar in the last advertising company I worked for. We always had a huge work load. But there were times when I had to wait an hour or so for stuff or for approvals to come in for all the projects at the same time. And these downtimes I used to create a tool that-with the click of a button-generated 200+ print ready presentation images of actual online banners (that we had created). The banners were displayed on different mobile devices (diverse iPhones, iPads, different Android and Windows mobile phones etc.) …and looking at them from different angles.
My motivation for doing so differed from my friend´s, though. I did not want to change my job, I liked working there. I just though: As I am getting paid for my time anyways, I can still do something productive – even though there is nothing to do at the moment. Because: There is always something to do.
The boss was happy, because we had something new to sell (at zero additional costs). I was happy, because I had done something new. And the company was always very generous when I needed something.
Look at your daytime job from a different angle
So you are an employee and you are not happy with the tasks you have to get done today. They might be uninteresting and not very fulfilling. Maybe you should think about what this job does for you: It pays your bills (hopefully).
You change your time for money. Nothing wrong with that. At the end of the month a check arrives and you pay your loan, the gas.
So what your job really does is not paying your bills, but taking away a burden every entrepeneur has to live with: Where will my money come from at the end of the month? Do not underestimate that.
If you are not an employee, but a business man instead, you are a business man 24 hours a day. Switching off demands a lot of self discipline. Back to your daytime job: After you leave your office leave the office at the office. Like switching a reset button. I always kidded that the moment I left the company`s floor, I forgot what I had done this day. Oddly enough, I sometimes see stuff I obviously did during my time at the agency but I cannot recall having done them. I did not do that because I wanted to forget the day at the office. As I mentioned before, I really liked my job there. But after a day`s work had been done, I just wanted to refresh so I could focus on the things I wanted to do next.
So, after you have worked on your daytime job your mind is free to do the things you love. Your job as an employee takes away the pressure of making money, because there are other people who take care that the company has enough clients so it can pay you your salary. Win – win situation.
As soon as I sat in the train, I was working on my own projects. This, of course, only works if you do not step out of the office totally exhausted. Which is something you can control to a certain degree as well. I prepared the shoot of the horror short film The Cellar this way.
Please mind that I am not writing about being sloppy at work and waiting for your eight hour shift to be over so you can leave. You are getting paid to do the job, so do it right. Be fair with your employer, be known as somebody who is responsible. Just take care that you do not bleed out. This is is not advantageous for anybody.
There are other things you can do in case you feel like you live in a treadmill, which I will write about in a later post. So stay tuned.
And until then: Good look with your creative projects! 🙂