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  • Tristan J. Miller

Day Jobs That Work

There's a huge misconception in the artistic community regarding day jobs.

Which is: All day jobs are garbage and therefore it doesn't matter what you do.

I held this belief for a long time. That, whatever my day job was I would feel unfulfilled. This lead me to go into every day of work miserable. My focus was negative and resigned to a necessary evil.

My thinking has since changed. I found there are three kinds of jobs I found successful while pursuing a career in the arts.

1) A job in the industry!

If you can find a job that is in or adjacent to your chosen professional field, then mores the better. Being in and around the industry you've chosen has many benefits. You can get to know people with whom you may be interested to work. Networking is a huge part of being successful as a creative person. A lot of folks seem to think that it's a shameful thing, but the crux of it is that networking is merely expressing interest in working with someone and hoping they feel the same. If you work for someone, and work hard, they will be likely to either hire you for either future projects or recommend you to others. I've seen this first, second, and third hand.

You also get insight into the actual way things are run. Not rumors, not what your teachers told you at school, and not whatever it is you've made up in your head from when you were thirteen practicing your award speeches in the shower. You get to see why people are hired, fired, and ignored. You get to see that it's a job and how it functions. You get more knowledge and as we know, that is powerful.

You also could find yourself in a situation where you get promoted. I've seen people go from Production Assistants, (The lowest position on the totem poll next to recycling bags,) to First Assistant Directors in months. Or to Personal Assistants, key PA, or Line Producers. You can move up and that experience will help you later on.

2) A job you do not care about at all!

When I say this I do not mean a job where you bum about like a Kevin Smith movie.

I mean you must truly, whole-heartedly, not care about the job.

You must punch in and out and then never think about that shift again. It must be a job, a means to an end. You must not spend time outside of the job thinking about it. You must not actually care about how it is run, where improvements can be made, or your status in the company. You must not care.

In order to not care, you must be proficient at your position. Competent as so no anxiety, worry, or care will follow you home. Spend 3 months getting really good at sandwich art, then clock in and never think about it again. You're cold, collected, a gunslinger just trying to make a living. Never thinking about the job they must do only about the next rest.

This unfortunately, includes making friends. In order to not think about the job you must have no contact with it outside of it. That means no drinks after work, no texting co-workers, no accidentally falling into a Jim/Pam romance. You're just there to get that paper to pay The Man.

3) A job that you actually find fulfilling!

These unfortunately, are the hardest job types to catch. They are rarer than a holographic Charizard card in 2000. So, if you manage to find one, cherish it. Love it. Enjoy the joy it brings to your days. You can find fulfillment in the work, or the people with whom you work, or the morals surrounding it. Figure out what causes you joy and try to find a job that involves it.

Your whole life becomes easier when you find a job like this. You're not depressed down by the drudgery of what you see as a waste of time. You feel as though you truly accomplished something with each day whether or not you did something to further your career. The greatest secret to making art is that when the rest of your life is fulfilling it's easier to make. Putting all your eggs in one emotional basket puts too much pressure on it, and the basket will break. Find other places to find joy besides art and art will be made easier.

The job also won't feel like work. The same will fly by as you focus monk-like on the tasks at hand. You'll find that your days feel like a series of equal tasks, all worth doing.


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