Align your day job with your creative destiny

Being trapped between a “day job” and your true creative destiny can be awkward.

It doesn’t have to be.

All too often, having a “day job” or “support job” looks like doing work you don’t enjoy in the name of paying the bills, while you pursue your true creative calling on the side.

In a more optimal scenario it looks like doing work you enjoy, ideally closely akin to your creative work.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to be a “real” writer. You probably know that already. *grin*

And for a while it felt like my coaching business was preventing me from doing that.

What I’ve since learned is that I was the only one stopping myself from pursuing my creative writing, and I had to make a few adjustments to change my relationship with my business to make my writing life a priority.

Inner & Outer Adjustments

Here’s what I mean:

  1. I had to start seeing myself as a writer and believing that my creative destiny and future success lies in that direction.
  2. I had to reorganize the structure of my days and life around my writing.
  3. I had to start thinking of my coaching business as my day job — luckily one that I like very much, and fully intend to keep doing — but one that is not the only center of my universe.
  4. I had redesign my business model to be more in alignment with my writing so it didn’t feel like such a departure from my own creative work (hence my Writer’s Circle and my focus on creativity over sensitivity, though that’s still part of the mix).

Ideal Support Job Alignment Checklist

Some things to take into consideration:

  • Make sure your support job pays well. Support jobs are Good Things, because they give you breathing room, usually financially, so you can pursue your creative destiny free from needing to rely on it to keep a roof over your head. (Not setting it up this way = a recipe for feeling creatively blocked if I ever heard one. I made this mistake when I first started my coaching business.)
  • Make sure your support job leaves enough time and energy that you feel like you have the bandwidth left to pursue your creative work. Support jobs are Good Things only when they work for you, so check to make sure your “day job” is truly supporting your creative work. If it is draining and deadening you, it’s time for a recalibration. Having a good support job that feels good to you can make all the difference in the energy, spirit, and passion you’re able to bring to your creative work.
  • Ideally, make sure your support job is aligned with your creative work. In an ideal world, your support job will match or resonate with your creative work. If it’s not, can you make any adjustments? Your spirit will be so much happier.

Your Turn

What about you? If you have a “day job,” is it working for you? How well is it aligned with your creative destiny? Are you inspired to anything shift about it? Let us know in the comments.

 Jenna

Coming Attractions

~> December 26th, 2011. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts — come rain, come shine, come holidays! Sign up here. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session.

~> January 26th, 2012. Start the new year fresh with your life purpose clear in your mind. My next life purpose breakthrough group session in on January 26th, time of day TBA. Details. Registration deadline: December 29th.

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. Still critiquing (and learning tons!)

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

Comments

  1. Sidney Dawson says:

    I agree with this statement 100%. It is so true.
    “Make sure your support job leaves enough time and energy that you feel like you have the bandwidth left to pursue your creative work. Support jobs are Good Things only when they work for you”

  2. Diane Quartarolo says:

    Not even close! I have a job that from the outside may seem ideal (I work from home), but it pays me barely enough to live on and while my hours are very flexible, the job has become terribly draining and stressful due to rapid changes within the company. I want to make an adjustment this year, but I’m not sure how to go about it.

  3. What a great post because this really can be a struggle to balance the “day job” and a creative pursuit, or it can even be expanded to balancing a “day job” with living a life you love! Thank you for sharing the list of adjustments you made personally. Examples or stories from the lives of others is super helpful as a thought-provoking launching point for me to apply the wisdom in my life. And I love the ideal day job checklist! This is something I can use to immediately assess my situation. And it will be helpful in 6 months and in a year and so on since I happen to be starting a new day job in a couple of weeks! Good food for thought as I enter into a new chapter.
    Cheers!

  4. Colleen says:

    Hi Jenna! Love your blog. While I agree with you about the day job aligning with your true creative passion in order to allow the necessary energy and time to pursue it, I don’t think that for most people it’s very realistic. Most of us are “stuck” in jobs that we have no choice but to keep due to mortages, cars, debt, etc. – you know that great “American Dream” we’ve all been striving for.

    I would love to quit my job and go work at a flower shop so that I could have the time and energy to devote to my creative process. But in the real world, that is just not an option; unless I want to be homeless and not eat. There are many “jobs” that I’m sure many of us would rather do than the one we currently have, but either those jobs are not available (largely due to the economy), we don’t have the skill set on our “resume” in order to qualify for those jobs or they pay grossly less than what we need to makes ends meet.

    I agree that in a perfect world having a day “job” that aligns with our creative process and allows us the time and energy to pursue at our leisure would be wonderful, I just don’t see it being very realistic for most of us.

  5. Ann Hodges says:

    How timely for me! I learned yesterday that one of my part-time jobs (I have two) is being eliminated in February, so now I will have adequate time and energy to devote to launching my coaching business. I shifted my thinking a while ago, seeing myself as a coach rather than a legal assistant. Now I am excited to take the next step on my way to becoming a healthy, vibrant, and sought-after life coach. Thanks, Jenna, for this post.

  6. Cindy says:

    Being single, I think that I tend to have more practical concerns when it comes to pursuing my creative goals. I would love to do something that frees up more energy for me to pursue my creative work, but I also know how difficult if can be to start over with changing jobs/careers (I have done this in the past). I struggled with having a day job for a long time because I want to give my best to everything I do. I have shifted my focus to concentrating on what my job provides for me instead of what it takes aways from me. I have opted to stay in my current position because at least I know what is what, I have a good deal of autonomy, and I don’ t have to bring work home with me, plus I get paid pretty well. I try to write outside of work at least an hour a day. I am moving toward my dream of being a full time writer, but I just have to keep reminding myself that I am in transition and it will not always be this way if I keep working at it. This post was a reminder to keep my eye on the prize and to keep making adjustments to my lifestyle to make my writing a priority. Thank you.

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