I know, I know, you’re thinking: What?! Tell me it’s at least related to the Arts!
Nope. Sorry, I work in an administrative role at a graduate level university. It’s health and wellness based. There isn’t a single course remotely close to being considered Art. (Although I dare say meticulously carving a cadaver over the course of 9 months requires a bit of an Artistic hand.)
But I thought you were an Artist! I feel so betrayed!
Some days I do too. I even have an Industrial Design degree. It’s not as high-brow as an Art degree, but it’s at lot closer to Art than what I actually do.
There. Now you know. I have a muggle job. It isn’t magic, but you know what? It is fulfilling.
Here’s the other thing about my muggle job, it allows me to make my Art. It allows me to love my Art.
Now, I’m not here to draw a line on where one crosses from “hobbyist” to “professional” in the Art world. That line is about as useful and lasting as one drawn in the sand at the edge of the waves. It’s easily blurred, erased, redrawn and lost again.
To the Artists I know out there who are able to work only in the Art world in some capacity, I am proud of you! To the ones who have made it big within their Artistic passions, I salute you. To the ones who struggle every day to make ends meet, but feel more fulfilled in their life work, I bow to you. It some ways, I also envy you.
But my Artistic path is just that: mine. And my path includes a day job. I like my job and I love the freedom it gives me as an Artist. So, here we go…
Six Reasons Why I Am Content Having a Muggle Job
1. Freedom to Create
This one is pretty basic, but let’s face it Art can be expensive. I feel pretty lucky that I have gotten to a place in my Art where it pays for itself, not many people even get that far. But it’s nice to know that the big stressors on the bank account are taken care of. Mortgage, bills, groceries? The muggle job covers those. It gives me some cushion to float the cost of a new costume until gigs pay it off. I have the ability to purchase the things I need to create the kind of Art I want to build.
2. Freedom to Say No
Nothing kills Artistic passion like being forced to create or perform when you don’t want to. With a day job, I have the freedom to turn down a gig or a costume commission. I don’t have to teach a class or produce a show. I never have to take work for an event when I’m conflicted with the venue or producer. I never have to kill my Artistic spirit by making it feel soul-sucking.
3. Refreshing Perspective
Having a day job means getting out of my Artistic head for a bit. When creating a new project, it is easy to get bogged down in the creative process. Sometimes I go so far down the rabbit hole I forget why I’m there in the first place. Having a day job means I must change gears regularly. I am forced to step away from a project. I have the opportunity to take a break and then come back with a fresh perspective. I may see a new answer to a problem or find that I was getting so distracted by the details I was missing the bigger picture or simpler answer. Sometimes we have to step away from our Art for a bit to see just how great it is.
4. Jackie of All Trades
I have a strong desire to do it all and know it all. (Shocking, I know…) I will never be the master craftsman who hones one skill to perfection. I’m too easily distractable. I like my muggle job. It takes a different set of skills. I’m learning something different. Doing something different. And in a different way, I’m making my mark on the world. If a master craftsman leaves his mark like da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa, I am more like Zorro leaving my triple slash in the walls and curtains of all the buildings I enter.
5. Battle Imposter Syndrome
Most Artists (and I’d even go so far as to argue all Artists who are passionate about their Art) feel Imposter Syndrome. That inner critic voice that says you aren’t good enough, that you don’t belong here, that you will never belong here. It is hard to escape and can burn out many Artists. My muggle job allows me to take a break from that voice. I get to go do something else that I’m good at. Bonus, I get to be surrounded by people who are awed by anyone who can create Art and the fact that I have the courage and talent to pursue my passions. While one should never surround themselves fully with sycophants, a few are good for the ego. Because I can step away, I can come back to my inner critic with the understanding that she is just one voice in my head instead of THE voice in my head.
6. I Like My Job
I love the Art I create. I enjoy the creative process. I enjoy the end result. I enjoy the community. But, truth me told, I also like my muggle job. It, too, fulfills me.
So now I’ve confessed. I not only have a muggle job, I like it. I’m sure it makes me less of an Artist in some people’s eyes. But, you know what? I can live with that.