Hey people, how was your first week in the new regime?
Mine was filled with stress and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.
But in an attempt to not get burnt out or lose my mind, I’ll be following this advice and also attempting to get this blog back to its regularly scheduled programming of posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Today: the advantages to having a day job.
My time is short these days, because along with all the things I was doing last year (reading, writing, working, and taking care of my health, both physical and mental) I have added “wedding planning” and “activism” to the list. (I’ve always paid a moderate amount of attention to politics and world-improving, but that generally consisted of waking up around election time and monthly monetary donations to various organizations. Now it requires much more.) So lately I’ve been more resentful than usual of any time-sucks, namely, my day job.
So it’s helpful to remind myself (and you, if you are one of the many many writers out there who has one) why having a day job is actually a good thing.
Caveat: Again, these are all positives for me. I am not trying to shame anybody who doesn’t have a day job or prefers to freelance or what-have-you. I am simply telling you why a day job works for me and why it may for you, too. To each our own!
1. Money Not to overstate the obvious, but having a regular job means a regular paycheck and I put “not having to worry about money” in the HUGE PLUS column given all the other things I have to worry about.
Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
Thus sayeth Flaubert, and while I don’t personally love Flaubert’s writing, there’s no denying how brilliant and important he is as a writer, so what he says about the craft should definitely be of note.
Having a day job means you don’t have to spend time figuring out how to structure your days; five out of seven already have a built-in structure. For people like me, who are terrible at making plans and prone to whimsical flights of fancy, having a set routine is crucial for figuring out when I have time to write.
3. Benefits Having healthcare and the like built in to my compensation = not worrying about them. Another big plus.
4. Not looking for additional income My husband-to-be is a freelancer (in the video game/animation industry), so it’s definitely something I’ve considered. But there are a few differences between his situation and mine:
- He worked a day job for almost ten years in his industry before going freelance, so he had a ton of connections from the get-go. And even with those connections, he’s been freelancing for five years now and this past year is the first year he didn’t really have to worry about work. Those first four years were pretty touch-and-go as he established himself and his reputation. Now, the work tends to come to him more often than not, so it’s less of a worry. But it took a while.
- He works in a super specialized industry. It takes a lot of time and special tools to be a good animator, so his competition is less fierce than say, a freelance writer.
Could I be a freelance writer someday? I’m sure I could. But I know it would take a lot of time and work to establish myself, make connections, and find work that pays as well as my day job does (honestly, I’m not sure freelance writing will ever pay as much as my job in marketing.) Perhaps someday I’ll be willing to put in that effort, but for now I don’t want to spend all my time looking for work when I could spend that time novel-writing.
4. The people I am an introvert. I don’t go out of my way to talk to people. I often wonder, if I worked from home, how often I’d even see or speak to another human besides my husband-to-be. Working in an office forces me to talk to people, get to know people I wouldn’t ordinarily know, make new friends (something hard to do after school!) and navigate personalities. In other words, it makes me live more. And life is the best fodder for writing.
5. Expanding one’s horizons I’ve learned a ton in my various marketing jobs over the years in both cosmetics and high-end audio, and I can’t consider anything learned, even when it’s something I was never particularly interested in, to be a waste. Again, all experiences are fodder for writing.
Are there disadvantages to the day job? Definitely, most namely time. Also, you need to be sure you’re picking the right day job for you. But I’ll get into that, along with my time-saving techniques, in a later post.
So! I’d love to hear from you. Do you day job and write on the side? Do you freelance? What’s your opinion on all of this?
Image found here