Though she probably didn't realize it at the time, a new blogging and tweeting friend of mine nudged me to write this. I had another great idea for a blog, but my day-job cut into the moments I had set aside to research and write it, so the research never got done. When she first wrote to me on Twitter the other day, I was so deep in an on-call technical issue at work that I made a quick response and then dove back into the problem. The next day, when I went to look at my messages, I did not even remember that I had already replied. Talk about not being in the present moment.
Of course, I replied to her again. And then promptly realized that this was the second time I had responded. Did that make me twice as friendly as if I'd only responded once? Um. Probably not. She was very understanding. Thankfully.
The point is, even though I consider myself to be a musician and artist, I have a day-job. The trouble with the occupation that I've worked for many years is that it also involves some on-demand nights and weekends. Because I deal with the so-called back end of computer server technologies, I sometimes have to perform updates when the customer is not busy typing data into their little screens or I have to be on-call (i.e., available for after hours support) in case the customer runs into problems with the stuff that I administer.
Obviously, this kind of work can impact gigs, practice schedules and so on that are supposed to happen in the evenings “after work”. In fact, on last Friday, I barely made it to a wedding I had to play for with a moment to spare. Did the bride know? No way! Was I stressed out by the close call? You bet.
At this point in my life, I need to have a day job in order to simultaneously pay the bills, save for retirement, and provide upkeep on my musical
toys tools. Nearly all the musicians I jam with have other work ranging from electricians to clerks to plumbers to technicians to day-care professionals.
At this point in my life, I also want — more than ever — to have adequate time for my marriage, practicing music, recording, gigging, marketing (including blogging and social media which could be full time jobs), and so on. It's a real balancing act incorporating all of this with a job that does not always fit in the 9-5 mold.
If you're still thinking about which day-job will be good to go with your musical practicing and gigging, I recommend avoiding ones that require on-call work or otherwise fill your weekends and nights with “extra” work. You need those times for playing and making music.
Stan (aka @muz4now)
P.S. Not to worry, that “great idea for a blog” is still on it's way … soon.