The Advantages to Having A Day Job


Hey people, how was your first week in the new regime?

Mine was filled with stress and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

But in an attempt to not get burnt out or lose my mind, I’ll be following this advice and also attempting to get this blog back to its regularly scheduled programming of posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Today: the advantages to having a day job. 

My time is short these days, because along with all the things I was doing last year (reading, writing, working, and taking care of my health, both physical and mental) I have added “wedding planning” and “activism” to the list. (I’ve always paid a moderate amount of attention to politics and world-improving, but that generally consisted of waking up around election time and monthly monetary donations to various organizations. Now it requires much more.) So lately I’ve been more resentful than usual of any time-sucks, namely, my day job.

So it’s helpful to remind myself (and you, if you are one of the many many writers out there who has one) why having a day job is actually a good thing.

Caveat: Again, these are all positives for me. I am not trying to shame anybody who doesn’t have a day job or prefers to freelance or what-have-you. I am simply telling you why a day job works for me and why it may for you, too. To each our own!

1. Money Not to overstate the obvious, but having a regular job means a regular paycheck and I put “not having to worry about money” in the HUGE PLUS column given all the other things I have to worry about.

2. Routine

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Thus sayeth Flaubert, and while I don’t personally love Flaubert’s writing, there’s no denying how brilliant and important he is as a writer, so what he says about the craft should definitely be of note.

Having a day job means you don’t have to spend time figuring out how to structure your days; five out of seven already have a built-in structure. For people like me, who are terrible at making plans and prone to whimsical flights of fancy, having a set routine is crucial for figuring out when I have time to write.

3. Benefits Having healthcare and the like built in to my compensation = not worrying about them. Another big plus.

4. Not looking for additional income My husband-to-be is a freelancer (in the video game/animation industry), so it’s definitely something I’ve considered. But there are a few differences between his situation and mine:

  • He worked a day job for almost ten years in his industry before going freelance, so he had a ton of connections from the get-go. And even with those connections, he’s been freelancing  for five years now and this past year is the first year he didn’t really have to worry about work. Those first four years were pretty touch-and-go as he established himself and his reputation. Now, the work tends to come to him more often than not, so it’s less of a worry. But it took a while.
  • He works in a super specialized industry. It takes a lot of time and special tools to be a good animator, so his competition is less fierce than say, a freelance writer.

Could I be a freelance writer someday? I’m sure I could. But I know it would take a lot of time and work to establish myself, make connections, and find work that pays as well as my day job does (honestly, I’m not sure freelance writing will ever pay as much as my job in marketing.) Perhaps someday I’ll be willing to put in that effort, but for now I don’t want to spend all my time looking for work when I could spend that time novel-writing.

4. The people I am an introvert. I don’t go out of my way to talk to people. I often wonder, if I worked from home, how often I’d even see or speak to another human besides my husband-to-be. Working in an office forces me to talk to people, get to know people I wouldn’t ordinarily know, make new friends (something hard to do after school!) and navigate personalities. In other words, it makes me live more. And life is the best fodder for writing.

5. Expanding one’s horizons I’ve learned a ton in my various marketing jobs over the years in both cosmetics and high-end audio, and I can’t consider anything learned, even when it’s something I was never particularly interested in, to be a waste. Again, all experiences are fodder for writing.

Are there disadvantages to the day job? Definitely, most namely time. Also, you need to be sure you’re picking the right day job for you. But I’ll get into that, along with my time-saving techniques, in a later post.

So! I’d love to hear from you. Do you day job and write on the side? Do you freelance? What’s your opinion on all of this?

Image found here

13 thoughts on “The Advantages to Having A Day Job

  1. I agree with you and all the replies, staying at home is a friend and an enemy. I love staying at home but sometimes I wonder whether I don’t like the thought of it more than the reality. A day at home can make me feel like I’ve been alone for a week even though the day before I was at work, slightly annoyed that I had to leave the house. I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one with such senseless tendencies. To me, so much of it is about finding my peace of mind and not thinking about what else I could be doing, both at home and at work. So far I’m only a writer at heart and don’t feel like I’m in a position to comment on this really but from my experience I can say be happy if you don’t have to do your day job in the weekends. Seeing people but never the ones you want to spend time with, it doesn’t help.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I relate to all your points, especially because I did quit my full-time day office job to travel and then freelance. I had all those points as concerns–benefits, I’m an introvert and was worried I’d never speak to a single sole all day, etc. I thought long and hard about my decision. I’ve been very lucky. As a freelancer, I’ve had plenty of work, and I’m grateful for that.

    My challenge now is that I work too much, and I don’t make time to write for myself. Interestingly, I wrote more when I had the full-time office job because I had a set routine. I wrote, read, or researched from 7 to 9 am and then was in the office by 9:15 or 9:30. (I was also fortunate that we had flex-time and I could come in as late as 9:30. Of course, I stayed until 6:30 pm.)

    Routine has been the biggest challenge for me as a freelancer–and a friend. I feel the need to jump right into work in the morning so then I don’t write in the morning. And, because my friends know I freelance, they think I can easily “take off” work during the day and help them (doctor appointments, etc.). It’s my own responsibility to say no, I know. I just always felt the need to help out. After a year of freelancing, I am finally getting to a better routine and standing firm about my work time during the day. I’ve had to educate a few friends on what a freelancer does and what that means and that it’s just as serious as an office job.

    So now, this year, my big challenge is benefits. I get my insurance from the ACA, and if it’s repealed without a replacement, well, I’m not sure what my options will be.

    It’s definitely easy for me to get distracted by social media during the day, so I have to be vigilante and self-disciplined to not get sucked in. It’s not easy at all–at least not for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I could see myself struggling with the same issues. To be clear, freelancing is still something I’m considering for the future–the freedom is SO appealing! But it’s just not the right move for me right now. Let me know how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, even if I could make a living from my blog, I’d want a day job for the routine, stability, and also the fact that I go stir crazy when I’m home for too long – and going to a cafe to work all the time gets expensive!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Agree with all of these points, and sometimes it’s worth going back and reminding myself of these things. And nonestly, when I have long sans of time when I’m not out of the house much, I become less creative, not more – even if you’re not especially social, I think it’s easy to overlook how much it matters to be around other people, watching, listening, and observing, if you plan to be writing. My day job does that for me, at least.

    But yes – more time would definitely be welcome.

    Liked by 2 people

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