Memoirs Of A NEO Artist Chapter 3 -The Artists With Day Jobs

As an artist with a day job here in Northeast Ohio, sometimes we get up on Mondays and feel like calling off to finish a project or to just say NO I DON’T WANNA COME IN ON GENERAL PRINCIPLE. Fact is, we just can’t do that. We have rent to pay, bills, our children, car notes, and all other sorts of financial responsibilities. So no! We can’t just leave or call off. For now we have to be thankful for our day jobs. We have to be grateful and make the most of where we are and what we do. After all WE’RE the ones who chose that job. It didn’t choose us.

So how do we get to that grateful place of Zen and peace? How do we balance the psychotic, anal retentive, micro-managing supervisor who has nothing else better to do except harass you on every little thing you do that’s not “in compliance with company policy” which he/she uses to make you look like you’re not a team player? This is a tough cookie indeed. The way to navigate through this is to focus on the things you DO like about the job and why you chose the job in the first place. We have to focus on the positive. Yes.. This is an active thing we must do BEFORE we clock in. I will be the first to admit I am not always successful at this mental exercise. I can be a bit of a brat when it comes to my time. At times, I chose not to focus. For me, I look back at the time when I was jumping around from couch to couch trying to figure out what I’m going to eat. So that being my alternative, I sometimes make a point to stop right where I am and breathe. Then I start back and pace myself through out the work day to prevent burn-out. Focusing on what we want our day to look like is key. I am more successful at this than not.

Speaking of artists with day jobs, I think as artist we undervalue some of the things we learn there…or at least some of us. Work Ethic is a key ingredient for a working artist. A lot of my fellow artist here in NEO have never understood the idea of work ethic. A part of work ethic is BEING ON TIME. If you are late all the time on the day job, most likely disciplinary action will be taken. If we call in sick all the time or not show up. If we have lame excuses as to why a job wasn’t done properly. Spreading rumors on the job. Inner-office romances. Appearance not up to company standards…I know this sounds like corporate crap we don’t wanna hear (I know it grosses me out too) but these things are the difference between the artist who will have longevity and a reputation of excellence as opposed to the artist who ends up in their 40’s and 50’s talking about the good ole days as they complain about the factory work they hate or how the city the live in is killing them creatively. In other words, let’s look at our dreams as the day jobs we want.. AND TREAT IT AS IF WE HAVE OUR BOSSES DOWN OUR NECKS TO DO OUR DREAMS.