Lately, a lot of people have been asking me about freelancing. I’ve posted a few notes on what I do on Facebook and on Twitter. Some of these are specific for writers, but a lot can be adapted for musicians, visual artists, etc. Today, I wanted to post about something that every freelancer will likely experience at some point in their career. That, dear reader, is the hell known as the dayjob.
If you’re just starting out, you will have to have a dayjob until you make it. (Notice, I did not say “if you make it.” That’s important.) There will also be times when you have to go back to a dayjob because the work in your field is sparse. That has happened to me as well. Twice.
Right now, I only freelance. That’s been the case for the past year. But I work in constant fear that I will have to return to my former life. The minute I stop pushing towards my end goal of world domination could be the minute I ended up back in some law office in the Valley pushing file carts.
I have had so many soul-sucking dayjobs that I can’t recall all of them. Primarily, I worked as a legal secretary. Occasionally, I worked full-time gigs, but mostly, I worked part-time. I worked for, more or less, $12 an hour, transcribing dictations, resubmitting documents that someone lost for the millionth time and trying to calm down every rage-filled voice on the phone. Sometimes, I worked for very nice people, but it was a tedious gig filled with insurance companies, state bureaucracies and other institutions noted for their incompetence. I hated being a legal secretary, so much so that I frequently came home sobbing and shaking.
Dayjobs aren’t fun, but they are necessary. I also think that, because of the “fake it ’til you make it” culture that exists in a social media-heavy world, people are less likely to talk about the dayjobs they have or the ones they once had. At the time, I really didn’t want people to know what I did during the day because I thought it would make me look like a n00b. Maybe that was wrong. Maybe having a dayjob while editing an entire monthly publication (The Rockit), writing for other people and finishing my MA was something to celebrate. I don’t know. But working dayjobs I hated was the best motivation I could have to do what I do now. Let it be your motivation too.