[How to Have a Day Job] On Kindness and Magic

howtohaveadayjobsnow

This week, I’ve been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. This was a Christmas morning surprise of a book – I was browsing Audible with my monthly credit in hand, and it popped up in the new releases. A book on creativity by the Ted-talking, globetrotting, smooth-talking (not in the sleazy sense, but in the read-me-my-library sense) authoress with the mostest? Yes, please!

In the midst of her discussions on being kind to your creative spirit, I hit a chapter called “Day Jobs.” My throat tightened just a bit. I was a little nervous, because I was afraid that this was going to completely take the wind out of my sails. Was the world’s foremost authority on eating, praying and loving going to take over what I had started?

Okay, I’m being a little dramatic. I was actually really excited about hearing what she had to say.

I did not expect that she would so perfectly summarize what I’ve been trying to convey with How to Have a Day Job from day 1.

To yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away. Because you’re making really loud noises, and your face looks weird when you do that.

She also talked about how she kept up her day jobs through three book publications before she quit to write full time. Three books. And admitted that if the third book hadn’t been such a success she would still be working day jobs so she didn’t have to put that pressure on herself, her craft and her finances.

So if you’re wondering why I keep talking about this, about all of this, about balancing your life and your paycheck, about managing your sanity while you clock in and out, this is it. It isn’t fair or nice to say to your vocation, “Hey, pick up the slack, buddy.” Who would stick around for that kind of abuse? Feed yourself, pay your bills, and give your muse the time it deserves to flourish comfortably.

[How to Have a Day Job] Movin’ On Up

howtohaveadayjobsnow
As I type this post, I am sitting in front of my computer the night before the last day of my current day job. Starting Monday, I will be doing a NEW AND IMPROVED day job. And so far as day jobs go, it’s going to be related to something that’s become my niche skill in the industry in which I work. As such, it feels like a smooth change, like putting on a new outfit while still keeping the same shoes.

In dealing with the stress of changing jobs, I figured this would be a good topic to write about for H2HaDJ. And instead of doing my usual 5 things list or a how-to, this one is going to be in the form of an FAQ. Because I realized there are a lot of questions I’ve been asking myself, even if I haven’t said them out loud. After all, this is the first job change I’ve had in three years.

Oh man, what if I look like an idiot because I don’t know anything?
Everybody starts out not knowing anything. But guess what? That’s going to change every day you’re there. Hold off on judging yourself for a solid 90 days. 3 months. If at the end of that you don’t feel smarter and more capable…well, that’s not going to happen.

What if they don’t like me?
Oh man, there it is. The high-school-y whiny desire for acceptance. It’s there, no matter how much of an island you think you are. But the fact of the matter is this: you can’t control what people think of you. What you can control is how you treat them and how you let their attitude affect you. Put on your best mental Brita filter: only let the good, clean vibes in. Nothing else is worth bringing into your world.

Is this a huge mistake? Shouldn’t I have just stayed with what I knew?
Obviously that’s not true, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You can take that as meaning this moment in your life, on a grand scale, or this specific situation. Be positive. Look at what you can gain, not at what you’ve lost. This is a new adventure. It’s going to be awesome. And if it isn’t? There’s going to be another new adventure before you know it!

How am I going to get stuff done? I’m going to be exhausted!
Whoa, take it easy. You actually don’t know how you’re going to feel yet. Give yourself some space. Take about a week and feel out your new schedule, especially if you’re going to have a change to your commute, work hours, or sleep patterns. This is the time that investing in a day planner is really going to help. Block out the time you’re going to need for your new job but pencil in things you want to do. Be nice to yourself, dammit.

And again, I know I say this in pretty much every H2HaDJ I do but…be present. Focus on NOW. Don’t sit around thinking what it’s going to be like tomorrow, or how shitty today was. Stay aware of what you’re doing at this moment, and live it to the fullest.