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how do I handle a “common” job with a parallel profession as a musician? — Ask a Supervisor


It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” query. A reader writes:

I’m a musician (classically educated soprano, to be particular) and I’m in my late twenties. I not too long ago returned to highschool after a number of years out within the workforce, the place I had singing gigs and a musical life which I attempted to mix with numerous “common” jobs. It was powerful, however it labored – earlier than the pandemic, I had a “common” job and a reasonably regular stream of gigs that paid my payments. In fact, the pandemic blew all this to smithereens. The job I had was a contract that ended shortly after every little thing shut down, and naturally all music work evaporated.

Properly, I made it by means of the worst of the pandemic. I moved provinces and returned to highschool in one in every of Canada’s giant cities. I’m now in class full-time, and never at present working a “actual” job (not sufficient hours within the week!) though I’m selecting up singing work when it seems. Sooner or later, as soon as I get out of faculty once more, I should discover that steadiness between gigs and different musical work and an everyday job once more, and this time I’d prefer to be higher ready.

I battle with the best way to current myself to employers, provided that my core priorities are 1) maintaining myself fed, housed, and so forth and a pair of) making superior music, and never essentially the job I’m making use of for. However perhaps extra importantly, I really feel actually insecure about my work historical past, and have a tough time with making a coherent narrative out of it that isn’t “I took no matter I might get so as to survive.” I’ve labored SO many alternative jobs, principally as a result of dwelling for eight years in one in every of Canada’s poorer provinces, the place work is nearly universally seasonal, poorly paid, and contract-based (particularly for younger folks). Good alternatives simply principally didn’t exist, and I actually couldn’t afford to be picky about the place I labored. In consequence, my work historical past consists of farm labor, museum work, retail, tourism, library work, admin stuff … the record goes on. I don’t thoughts sporting loads of completely different hats, however I actually struggled to be what all these completely different jobs required, and it was exhausting. Sooner or later, I’d love to simply … do fewer issues. (Ah! The glamorous lifetime of an artist!)

It was at all times apparent to me that if I needed to do music for a dwelling, I must have some type of different job alongside it – not only a aspect hustle, actually, however extra of a parallel profession with a specific amount of flexibility. Are there any folks on the market amongst your commenters who’ve (much less nicely paid, much less steady) inventive careers that they’ve managed to enrich with a extra mainstream job? If that’s the case, how did you determine what a superb parallel profession was for you? (Any options for fields I ought to take into account?) What course of did you employ to provide you with one thing that labored? How does it break down financially (and the way did you determine what you wanted to realize financially to make a go of issues)? And the way do you keep the steadiness between your artwork and your common job, with out being torn aside? That is one thing I’ve actually been scuffling with. My life actually obtained loads higher and happier as soon as I admitted to myself that I used to be a musician first, and never a Particular person Attempting to Have A Profession with music on the aspect; however I nonetheless actually battle to search out methods to steadiness the calls for of standard jobs and what I have to do to be fulfilled as an artist.

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