You’re Mediocre? Ok Cool.


The average person in the U.S. has a 9 to 5 job or some equivalent, right? The average hours worked in the U.S. is about 34.4. Surprised? The average work week in Mexico is 42.85 hours. For Germany, it’s 26.37.[1]

You get up early. How early? Let’s say 6 o’clock EST[2]. You get ready, eat, finish the getting ready process, and then you leave.[3] You do it in this order exactly every day. You work 8 hours, maybe you work more, but not necessarily including a break. It could be you stock shelves, maybe you populate excel spreadsheets, or perhaps you teach people[4]. Whatever it is you do, you work. That’s for sure. You do this all day, every day[5].

Some are fortunate with a reprieve from the weekend. Hopefully you get at least one day off, but maybe you don’t. Maybe you don’t get any leave at all. Whatever the case, at the end of the day you come home, maybe you rest, you eat, perhaps you do a couple chores, you sit or lie down, watch a movie or television show, or you read. What you do, you do in the exact same order every day.

Occasionally you somehow manage to have the time to get out your computer and write. Or you get out your clay and sculpt or throw. Or you take out your paints and canvas and, well, paint. You do something creative. If you’re an artist, you’re going to have a normal, day job[6]. Some will have a night job, but a lot of creative types like to sleep. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

The greatest downside is the damper a day job can place on your art, your craft, your passion, your life. You can feel so burned out when you come home that it’s difficult to muster the motivation to do anything. Or maybe you have a job you enjoy, but in this instance let’s assume you don’t. So, you wish you didn’t have to supplement your income this way. But the way a lot of countries have structured their economies, you have to do this. You know it’s mandatory, you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth. No, no trust fund for you. You work hard, pay bills, play hard, create hard, hopefully. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully…

You may find that when the day ends and you return home, you can’t create. Don’t worry. It’s not you. This is perfectly natural. And you won’t need to contact your doctor about creative dysfunction. You’ll need a break. What you may need is a vacation from work or a momentary lapse in art.[7] Another possibility is to create a schedule and push through the block, the burnout, the fuzziness.

If you find it too difficult or you feel too out of it, you might also want to consider getting a different day job. You can look through the internet or paper or etc. Do not feel ashamed. Your job isn’t your life, neither is your art, contrary to what a lot of people might think, and you can leave both if need be. That is, not your life but your job and your art/craft.

As a creative person, we all have to come to terms with this. You won’t always get that dream job[8]. And if you do, you’re probably an adjunct anyway. You will have to get another job or 2 somewhere else because the one you wanted doesn’t pay enough for you to survive. At no point in time will this not be ok.[9] You’re allowed to make a living and provide for yourself or other people, if you have any.

 

There are many thoughts on this. All are welcomed and encouraged. Share!

Epilogue/Post Script

You can look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor to see the average incomes of various types of artists. You should see how you compare. You should also know it doesn’t matter. It’s here [10]. Maybe one day you can claw and scratch enough to get up to these incomes. It’ll take a lot, especially if you’re not connected and considering all the competition, but it’s not impossible. It’s just not easy, and you have a high chance of failure. All that can be said is keep trying. What’s the point of giving up?

 

I wish you all the best of luck,

Nathan

 


[1] http://fortune.com/2015/11/11/chart-work-week-oecd/  It’s kind of crazy. You might think Germany would have ridiculously long and strict hours, but you have to remember that they’re European. They can only stick to one stereotype at an issue.
[2] I get up every day at 5:45AM. Even on weekends when I don’t work. Force of habit.
[3] Even when you leave a job, you may find it difficult to give up the routine.
[4] Indifferent people, most likely.
[5] Except for weekends for a lot of us.
[6] Most likely.
[7] I don’t recommend the latter, but I have seen it help people.
[8] As previously mentioned in the, uh, previous paragraph. I can tell you from experience that any sort of writing job is the hardest thing to break into. If you’re applying and don’t know at least one person, you’re, most likely, not getting that job.
[9] With exception to those that degrade your art or are illegal. I can’t really condone either.
[10] http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/home.htm
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