“Don’t quit your day job.”
It’s a phrase that has been uttered to many creative types over the years as a “nicer” way of saying, “You’re not going to make it.” And it has a way of making creative types (at least this creative type – I can’t speak for everyone) internalize it as ‘If I have a day job, I’m not really succeeding.’
Since living in New York, I have had months where I did not have a day job, and I have had months where I daylighted as a Receptionist. Currently, I’m living in the latter. I am one of two Receptionists for a private hedge fund here in NYC. Some days are very busy, but others are pretty slow. And on the slow days, I find that I am actually able to get a lot of work done. In the last two weeks, I was able to post a casting call and sort through (over 600!!) submissions for my upcoming project, LadyBro. (If you haven’t yet, go like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!) I also was able to attend a concert in Beacon, NY, and a performance of a FABULOUS new play, as well as begin an 8-week acting class. I’ll even be starting a Voiceover class in November, and all of that is possible because I have my day job.
In the months when I did not have a day job, it was easier for me to procrastinate, and not actively search for and pursue opportunities. My day job gives me strict time restrictions that dictate how I’m able to spend my time. I have an hour lunch break, so I have a choice: Do I use the time to edit my audiobook in peace? or do I spend it watching Netflix? Without strict time restrictions, it’s a lot easier to choose Netflix. But when I choose to edit my audiobook, I’m that much closer to getting it finished, and feeling that much more accomplished. On Saturday, we shot the promotional scene for the Seed & Spark campaign for LadyBro. I only had a few select options of time for that, so I made it happen. And now, we’re that much closer to being able to launch the campaign. (Coming soon-stay tuned!)
For me, personally, it is helpful to have a day job, because it allows me the structure I need in order to be productive, and the funds I need in order to pursue artistically inspiring events like concerts, plays, and classes.
“Don’t quit your day job.” OK. I won’t. And when I do, it will be because it’s taking away from the time I need for my acting career, rather than gifting time to me.