Ways to survive your day job when your dream career awaits

Ways to survive your day job when your dream career awaits

Some people enter the work world, and immediately start the career they always dreamed of. By the time their twenties draw to a close, they have legitimately, “become,” something—a lawyer, a teacher, a nurse… Others take the longer route. These office workers have a passion burning inside of them to be a filmmaker, an actor, a musician, a novelist… But they can’t make this “dream career,” pay the bills. So, they have a day job. How do you follow your dreams, when you must keep that day job?

  1. Remember that a paycheck does not define you

    Whether or not someone pays you to pursue that passion, does not make you any less of a scriptwriter, filmmaker, dancer or musician. You define that. What you do with your 40 hours a week, is just that…40 hours a week. If you change the way you see yourself, it will change you. If you see yourself as an artist that works as an insurance processor during the day, it will change the way you view your life. View your primary identity as an artist, a painter, a photographer, and suddenly your entire paradigm shifts.

  2. Dedicate a small portion of your income to your passion

    It takes money to grow a passion. When you are able to invest a little bit of your salary into your passion, you will start to feel like your day job is worth it. Are you a musician? Have a percentage of your paycheck set aside for musical gear. Are you a writer? Invest in an online writing course, a new computer, or have a regular fund just to update your personal library. Are you a filmmaker? Make it your objective to update your equipment, subscribe to blogs, and to save money to submit a project to a film festival.

  3. Build your passion into your free time

    There are 168 hours in a week. You are only captive at the office for roughly 40 of them.  (When you add in your commute to work, put it around 47). The other 121 hours a week are yours. Make the most of them. Build your passion into your free time, as a rule. When you are militant about making sure you get your art done regularly, you will find ideas will open up on how to take the next step. From there, it may not be long before you can quit your day job to pursue what you really want.

  4. Consider scaling down

    Once your art gains momentum, consider lifestyle changes. Could you perhaps meet the bills working 20-25 hours a week, so that you can spend the rest of your time on your passion? How could you reduce your expenses to get to this point? This will look different depending on your current lifestyle. It’s a radical shift, that should be given its due diligence in thought and preparation, and the timing must absolutely be right.