Day jobs - The juggle is real!
My first ever job was at a cute little bakery and I worked there for a couple hours after school two times a week. Since then I’ve probably had a billion different random jobs. The most jobs I have ever had at one time has been 3 and I was also volunteering at the time. It was kind of the worst and also kind of the best depending on how I look at it.
The Grown Up Job.
After graduation from my illustration and design course I worked as a graphic designer for a textile printing company in Sydney Australia. It was a 9-5 job with a salary, a boss, coworkers, clients, deadlines and all of the grown up job things. It was a very good job with some great people and I knew I was lucky to have it. Sure I had no time or energy for any creative work of my own but hey I had a “real job” and I was supposed to be happy.
Only problem? Something just wasn’t quite right. The feeling of something not being quite right grew louder until one day when my husband said “Wanna move to Canada for a couple years?” I said “yes” without even thinking.
Wherever you go, there you are.
By the time I got to Canada I was completely burnt out. Not only was I creatively blocked but I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted. This wasn't because of my job it was because of a lot of things and it was during this time that quite a few things in my life looked to be falling apart. It is with hindsight now that I know they were actually falling together but it was really tough. I had to reach out for help and do the real work of finding out who I am and finding what happiness means for me.
The No Pressure Job(s)
Even though I would miss the pay check and stability of a 9-5 graphic design position I decided that for my next job in my new country I would try and get something with as little pressure as possible. I thought with something easy and flexible I would be able to focus more easily on my creative work. This led me to the world of retail! It turned out that minimum wage in Canada is much lower than in Australia and I ended on taking on more and more little “no pressure” jobs just to try and bring in more money. It is tiring going from job to job and these no pressure jobs were actually making me feel over committed and there was not very much financial reward.
The other challenge? I was bored. In the graphic design job I was over stimulated at work but in my retail jobs my brain felt drained but in a different way. Also I suck at retail and sucking at your job just, well, sucks! I was very happy with life but my work life just wasn't quite working for me.
During this time I was working my little buns off on my creative work as much as I could! I was finding my style and also learning all that I could about running a business including social media. My art work was coming along and so was my understanding of social media which leads us to today…
My day job is actually still running my own business
People often assume that I make all my money from being an artist and illustrator. While it is true that I am making more than I ever has as an artist and illustrator I still do other work to bring money in.
The other work I do - social media consulting and recently joining the team at THRIVE are actually a great fit! It means 2 days less a week to focus on my art practice and business but because the work is so meaningful to me it leaves me feeling inspired, energized and fulfilled.
You guys asked for the reality of my situation. So here goes…
Am I making a killing? No. Am I even making close to a decent full time salary? No. Am I closer than ever to achieving my dream of running a financially successful business as an artist and illustrator? Yes I am.
I work really hard, I am fully committed and I believe strongly in the quality of my work. I have the support of my husband, my sister, my friends and my fellow artist girl gang. I also have the most amazing supporters - many of whom I haven’t even met in real life. Every like, follow, comment and tagging of a friend means a lot to me! Everyone who has sent me an email just to say they love my work or people who meet me for the first time and say “I love what you do” means so much. Everyone who signs up for my workshops, collects my work or is a client of mine is basically my hero!
It’s a journey.
I am juggling and I will probably always be juggling in one way or another. I find compartmentalizing, boundaries, gratitude and realistic expectations are the key things that help me make it work!
If you've read this far. Thank you! Feel free to let me know if anything I've shared here has resonated with you and a little bit of your story too if you'd like.