A Composer, a Lyricist & a Day Job walk into a bar…
The Composer says to the Lyricist. “You’d be nothing without me, I write the beautiful tunes that make your words sing.”
The Lyricist says to the Composer: “You’d be nothing without me, I write the beautiful lyrics that make your tunes shine.”
The Day Job says to both of them: “You’d both be dead without me.” Then downs three tequila’s and heads off to work.
Just a little joke to break the ice, that's how all good relationships start right? I thought I might tell you a little about my current relationship...
Me and my Day Job have been seeing each other for about 16 years now…
So I guess we are now in what you would call a “long-term relationship”. Over time we’ve both changed. I mean, that’s normal right? You can’t expect to stay the same over sixteen years. When we first started going out, my Day Job was kind of all consuming…
We met online and it was my first time in a full-on relationship. I reckon it’s fairly safe to say (and I don’t think my first real Day Job would mind me saying it) that at first it was pretty overwhelming. I mean, I didn’t really know what I was doing and I had a lot to learn about visas and sending kids on holiday to America. It was pretty hard work, but it could also be fun. My Day Job introduced me to some great people who were also going out with a Day Job of their own and we would all hang out together. Sometimes we’d leave our Day Job’s at the office and go out drinking and bitch about them behind their backs. But overall it wasn’t so bad.
I was with my first Day Job for about a year, a Visa Officer at Camp America. But we both changed a little bit over that time and I think we must have started drifting apart. I also remember that that was the year I started seeing my Passion seriously… Don’t get me wrong, I was so grateful for the time that I had spent at my Day Job, for the things I had learned, the experiences shared, the people met, the rent paid. But when I’d go out at night with My Passion there was a little spark that I didn’t really feel at my desk…
That first relationship ended on fairly good terms. I’m not sure if my Day Job ever found out that I was cheating on it with my Passion but I like to think that we’re still friends today. And my Day Job was never really the jealous type anyway. So I moved on to another relationship, this time with a Libyan Oil Company. A bit of a sideways move, but I was looking for something a bit different I suppose. This Day Job came with a little more money, a good location and more new friends but it was only ever going to be a rebound Day Job. Having said that I learned a lot about myself during that relationship. I learned that a Day Job could get me a little bit more money and higher specialisation, and this particular Day Job was a little less emtionally demanding of me… I could go away on holiday without it and it wouldn’t really mind for example.
But the best thing about it meant that I could spend a little more time with My Passion…
I know, I know. I’m a fricking shit right?
Well, I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself. By this time I was spending a few nights a week with my Passion. We would stay up late staring into each other’s eyes. It was beautiful. Sometimes we would even spend a whole weekend together. I suppose I was young back then and had more energy, but I was definitely burning the candle at both ends. I was putting a lot of work into both my Day Job and my Passion. But I don’t think I was ever really happy with that particular situation because I was actively looking for other Day Jobs online. Sometimes I’d be looking for other Day Jobs while I was supposed to be working at my current Day Job. Oh the betrayal.
Then I found it.
Something I thought was My Perfect Day Job. Working in administration at the Royal College of Music, surrounded by gorgeous music and brilliant musicians, fine colleagues, making a difference in the lives of students and professors so they could get on with pursuing their… hold on… MY PASSION!
This is when some bad things started happening. Me and My Passion started fighting. Sometimes I would be seething with rage and envy that my Passion was seeing all of these other people at the same time as it was seeing me. And what was worse, it was spending a hell of a lot more time with them. I was still seeing it regularly on the weekends and in the evenings but I could hear it making sweet sweet love to countless others in the practice rooms of The Royal College of Music throughout the day.
My Passion was not a quiet lover.
And so this wasn’t an entirely happy time for us. We shouted at each other a lot. And we fought about petty things. Even being with my Day Job, as fulfilling as it was, just reminded me even more that I wasn’t with my Passion. I became a little despondent with both my Day Job and my Passion. I don’t know if either of them really knew what was going on inside my head. To be honest, I don’t even know if I did.
But gradually, over time, I came to recognise that it wasn’t my Passion’s fault, it wasn’t my Day Job’s fault. It was my perspective on the whole situation that needed to shift. I was the common denominator and I realised that I had the power to do something about it…
So I started saving a lot of money. I worked hard at my relationship with my Day Job. I worked even harder at secretly restoring my relationship with my Passion. I put together a band made up of people from my Day Job, all of us collectively cheated on our Day Job’s at night when we went out a few times a week. It was an exciting time. My Day Job meanwhile, all the time, thought things were getting better and better. I was engaged at work, we were earning more money, I was even spending a little more time with My Day Job than I had done in the past, I genuinely seemed happier.
But my Day Job had no idea what was to come…
In 2012, I told My Day Job that I was leaving it.
My Day Job didn’t quite know what to say. But by that time it kind of knew that I had never really broken things off with My Passion. In fact, at that point my Day Job and my Passion had even met on a couple of occasions. They were very civil to each other.
So I left My Day Job. At last, I was alone with my Passion. I had dreamed of this moment. I had talked about it with My Passion late into the night. We were both so excited, we couldn’t quite believe that we could finally be together. This was the beginning of the rest of our lives together!
Except… the dream did not entirely match the reality.
It turns out that my Passion wasn’t great with money. We made a little cash, my Passion and I, and my Passion did it’s best to take the place of my Day Job but we were not brilliant at planning together. We really hadn’t thought this through… and now that I was spending so much time with it, it turns out that my Passion could also be quite volatile. Mean even. So it was just me and my Passion for a year, haemorrhaging cash, worrying about where the next pay cheque was coming from, wondering how we might be able to afford the next months rent, worrying about things we had never had to worry about before… for example being able to prove that you could pay the rent on a flat without regular payslips. I began to think about all the things that My Day Job had done for me. Things I had never appreciated whilst we were together. And you know what? My dream of living with My Passion turned into a little bit of a nightmare.
I became depressed and I began to miss my Day Job…
I missed the things that it provided me with. Structure to the day, a social network, people to talk to at the water cooler, people to have a drink at the pub with after a long day, a sense of contribution to society. And yes, fricking MONEY. But more than all that I realised that My Day Job provided me with a hold on sanity and a healthy perspective on my life.
After a year of this, it just so happened that I was having dinner with a friend who knew my old Day Job. He was joking about my idiocy in pursuing my Passion (this particular friend thought My Passion was both admirable and ridiculous at the same time) and mentioned that he had been talking to a colleague from another Day Job who had said they could really use a bit of help doing exactly what I used to do…
He mentioned it as a joke. But I grabbed him by the shirt and said ‘Hook me up bro!’ He was surprised, having thought that I was living the dream. At which point the truth about me and my Passion came pouring out. It wasn’t really working. It wasn’t that we didn’t love each other, it’s just that at this point in my life, I needed things that my Passion in it’s beautiful, youthful state simply could not provide. I needed my Day Job back…
But.. my Passion had learned a thing or two over the past year and was working hard to change. It was bringing in a little cash so I didn’t need a full time Day Job anymore. I needed something that could provide me with a little bit of security, a bit of sanity and enough money so that me and My Passion didn’t have to sleep on my friends floor anymore. But I needed my new Day Job to not be too demanding, to be more flexible, to let me go off with my Passion for weeks at a time (with enough notice) and to be encouraging of my dreams.
Not too much to ask right? But the important thing was, I had learned what I needed, I was smart enough to ask for it, and I was lucky enough to get it.
I started my new Day Job at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in 2013. I started spending about three days a week with my new Day Job. As my Passion grew up, it became a bit better with money, it became much better at planning. It used it’s time much more wisely because it had less of it to throw around.
Over the last few years my Passion has come to bear a strong resemblance to my Day Job. It is now bringing in more of the cash and it is able to rent a flat and pay bills all on its own. Whereas, once upon a time, my Passion really hated my Day Job, resenting the time that I spent with it, now my Passion appreciates how important my Day Job is to my life. The two have now become quite good friends. I’m sure they get together sometimes and bitch about me behind my back but I don’t mind.
At the moment, where I am in my life, I need both of them. My Passion alone was too wild, my Day Job alone was too suffocating. Now I think that they both appreciate each other a hell of a lot more than I once did.
For your reference I earn approximately 80% of my living now through royalties and writing commissions. I earn the remainder through my administrative work at Trinity Laban. But it’s not just about money. It’s about sanity, it’s about structure, it’s about planning and it’s about remembering that it’s fun and that you love it.
People who say you aren’t a real artist just because you have a day job, don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.