Why do creatives continually refer to their other job as a “day job?” Are you aware that those words take power away from your real work?
I have never understood the phrase “my day job.” In fact, it’s feels like chalk screeching on a black board every time I hear it. Do artists say it without thinking what they are actually saying? Words have power – significant power. I would like to suggest that you be more consciously aware of the words you choose before you say words such as, “my real job,” or “my day job.”
When I started my art career (my third career) over 25 years ago, I quickly learned to tell people I was “working.” I did not say, “I am painting.” That made a huge difference in their minds as well as my own. I believe that they somehow thought I was playing or doing something trivial that did not require my full attention.
I had to, and continue to, educated friends and family that I had business hours and to please not call me about personal matters during my business hours. (My mother never liked this and never understood it even when I would mention to her that she didn’t call me at my other jobs.) When I was under contract as a consultant, meetings had to be scheduled. Whenever they asked for my availability on Thursday afternoons, I would say that I was booked at that time. They didn’t need to know that that was my time to go to painting class.
Choosing to use words, such as, “When I get off from my day job,” “I have Wednesday off, then I can paint,” “At my day job, I….,” and “People wonder why I don’t have a real job,” impact what you experience. Most of us don’t realize that the words we use habitually have impact. The words “day job” takes power away from your work. By changing your habitual vocabulary—the words you consistently use to describe your life and work—can change how you think, feel and how you live. It can change the direction of your art business and how you perceive and feel about it.
Also, notice when you say “day job,” how the energy in your voice changes. Yet, when you talk about your real work—your art making—your energy goes back up. Can you hear how the words “day job” takes power away from your work? Energetically, negative feelings surround the other job you have as well as your work as an artist.
What other words can we use besides “day job” to stop taking power away from your work as an artist? How about, “At my second job, I….,” “I work in my studio on Wednesdays,” “I am available from my other job at…,” and for those who question you about your real work as an artist, consider this giving them this bumper sticker.
Other suggestions are welcome. I would love to hear other artist’s ideas because I know we can be creative with words as well as with clay, paint and metal.
Let’s debunk the myth that making art is not real work — because we all know that it is! Art changes and saves lives. We need to use words that convey the power of art and its impact on the world. Your job as an artist is very real and it requires more work than you probably thought possible when you started and, yet, you keep doing it.
Let’s celebrate your work as an artist with powerful words.
This quote serves as a good ending: “Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours wisely,” Robin Sharma
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