In this new millennial era, it seems the most uncool thing any young person can have is a 9-5. Everywhere we look there are young people starting businesses, creating career lanes, and encouraging each other to chase their dreams before chasing a paycheck. For most of us, working the same job for 30 years sounds like the closest thing to death by monotony. So what do you do when you have a 9-5 and a dream, and all your peers seem to be thriving with their dreams but without their jobs? You keep working.
Perception is everything, but reality is a different thing. The struggling artist/entrepreneur prototype is still a thing. For millennials who have complex identities besides being born after 1985. For those who are raising children, supporting their parents, or trying to keep up with the gentrifying surroundings of their city, quitting your day job is not only a bad idea, but it could set you back from your ultimate goal.
Bills are still relevant. Now more than ever. Rising healthcare cost, staggering student loan debt, and skyrocketing cost of living make it impossible to drop everything without a plan. It is not wise to quit your day job without being able to keep your day to day needs afloat. Everyone’s situation is different. I know artist who will always have a safety net either in the form of friends or family that will support them by providing a roof and a hot meal. I also know artist who have to work all day and stay up all night perfecting their craft. I am an artist who is also a single mother, who manages to draw, paint, write and edit, in between cooking meals and keeping my home organized. Not to mention my 9 to 5. My dreams are a priority but fall at number 3 on the list with my daughter and bills sitting at one and two. There are creatives who busted their ass to build a career while simultaneously maintaining a day job. Crissles, from the ground breaking podcast “The Read”, detailed how she didn’t quit her day job until she was absolutely sure she could maintain without it.
A day job provides parameters around your work, a system that requires discipline to create in a home environment. Whether starting a business or creating art, you need to write emails, you need to take calls, and you need to maintain a calendar. No one gets to their version of success without organization and systematic progression.
Providing for yourself and your family is a noble cause. Not all of us will have a team of supporters, help from parents, or a million-dollar loan from our fathers, word to Donald Trump. Our day jobs are a means to an end, not a life sentence. Your ambition and work ethic will be the difference between success and complacency. As long as you keep working, little by little, day by day, you will continue to progress. The one thing most entrepreneurs fail to say is that it took them years, sometimes even decades to reach a point of no longer needing a day job.
Get off the internet and focus on your craft. The reward will be the life you always dreamed of and a career you designed yourself. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, being an artist is even harder. Most of the greats died without ever seeing the impact their work had on the world. Being an artist and being an entrepreneur are two different things, and while there are more lanes to profit off of the creation of art, the decision to create artistically shouldn’t be based on profit, but that’s a story for a different piece.