Finding courage when you have a sucky day job

Sometimes it's hard to find, but it's in there somewhere.

Sometimes it’s hard to find, but it’s in there somewhere.

I was getting ready for another day at That Day Job.  I was looking in the mirror, putting on my makeup with an invisible timer in my head telling me to hurry up or I would be late.  Then came the mega turbo 2 minute blow dry which is usually followed by the phrase “That’ll have to do”.

And then the light went on.

This sucks!

Why didn’t I realize this sucks a long time ago?

Why do so many of us end up here?  Doing a sucky day job for sucky wages.  If I was earning the same money getting inky and painty and arty, I would think I was a genius.  But when it’s for a sucky day job, you don’t feel like a genius.  You feel like an idiot.  An idiot getting her soul sucked.  Slowly.

If your working day looks anything like mine, it goes a little something like this:

Get up at 4am.  Perform Olympic gymnastics routine called “Don’t trip over the cats”.  Truly the ninjas of the animal world.

Blog like a woman possessed for 2 hours.  Actually blog for 2 hours and 10 minutes because “I just have to finish this”.  So now I’m running behind in my perfectly timed routine which is no longer perfectly timed.

Frantically feed the furry kids while still performing that gymnastics routine.  Then do social media with one hand and feed myself with the other.  This girl knows how to multi task!

Perform the mad rush and minor miracle that is a shower, makeup and afore mentioned blow dry before the mad dash out the door hoping I remembered everything.  There’s days I stop just to check I remembered to put my undies on.

Why?  Why are we afraid to follow the thing that calls us when this shit is the alternative?

Seriously, a day job is what we should be afraid of.

Why do we wait until we are 40 (or are staring at it very closely)?  Why do we wait until we can’t stand it no more.  Hating the ‘have to’ of a day job suddenly gives you courage to do the things you’ve told yourself for years that you couldn’t.

When I first wrote my About page 2 years ago – I said I found myself in a day job I didn’t love but didn’t hate either.  I’m figuring out it’s the worst kind of day job to have.  Because when you hate it, you get the hell out.  And when you love it, you are happy to do your creative business on the side.  But when you don’t love or hate it – you just sit in limbo.  You let the days go by.  The weeks go by.  And before you know it, you are celebrating another New Year’s Eve.  And facing another year of the same same.  Until eventually you grow to hate it.

If you are scared because you don’t know how to start.  Because you don’t think you can do what your SHeros are doing.  Because you aren’t smart enough or talented enough, or just that you don’t think you are enough….

Take a minute to picture what your life will look like if you don’t take that leap of faith.

Now go do something for your business.  Go do something for yourself.


PS – In case you couldn’t tell, my mid life major reassessment was really getting to me this week.





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    12 Responses to Finding courage when you have a sucky day job

    1. Ariel says:

      Steven Pressfield says: the opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is indifference. Indifference keeps us safe, but not making choices. I know how you feel friend, but you wrote the post and you keep making your art anyway, so you are my SHero.

      • Coral says:

        Love the Steven Pressfield quote, Ariel. So, so true. Indifference just leaves you empty, doesn’t it? And you can live in it for a long time before you realise what’s been going on (which is not much actually).

        Thank you for your beautiful comment about being a SHero – you are too sweet. Some days I feel like I’ve got my cape on and other days…not so much. xo

    2. Nita says:

      You described my morning perfectly except for the 2 hours of blogging. Finding the time (read: creative energy) to write is what consistently falls off of my plate. And what you said is also so true, except for the fact that we still have to earn enough money to live and for me, running my dance school was never going to pay me a living wage. So I made the (awful) choice to close it down and get the sucky day job. But now, we are throwing all our eggs into the basket and making the leap…living simply and retiring early. I will be finished my sucky day job on November 14th. On the other hand, if I didn’t have my sucky day job (and a hubby who is great with finances) I wouldn’t be able to retire to the simple life so soon (I turned 52 last week). It’s a conundrum, isn’t it?

      • Coral says:

        So excited for you getting to say goodbye to your day job Nita! I know a few girls who are doing that at the moment – must be something in the stars… I need my day job to pay the bills on my fridge. To pay for art supplies. To pay for workshops and courses and learning. You kinda need it before you can run away from it which feels kind of odd. Especially as you go through the frantic morning ritual yet again, trying to remember why on earth you are doing this to yourself.

    3. Dar says:

      Hi, Coral ~ I’m new to your blog, but loving it. You asked a good question, lol. I dunno the answer. I’m doing it, too, tho. Waiting… I left a soul-sucking job, got a much better one, and now I don’t feel that urgency to get going with my own biz. I need to do it anyway. Right now. I’m gonna go write an article for my future blog. Thx for the inspiration today! 🙂

      • Coral says:

        I love new visitors! Welcome, welcome. I am considering a side step, rather than waiting it out where I am. I think you bring a different energy to your art and your business if you have quit in a blaze of glory and now have to make it all happen in the next 6 months otherwise you are in a world of trouble. Or if you grow to despise your day job and that brings a frantic or desperate energy to your creative stuff because you just want to get the hell out. There is a delicate balance to it all which can be hard to find. I’d love to hear more about your future blog too.

    4. Jennifer Kennedy says:

      Very inspiring post!

      I’m in that exact position right now — I’m complacent. Not really loving it, but not really hating it!

      However, I’ve decided to take action and move forward on my goals and dream. I spend 10 hours of my life on my day job. 8 hours working and 2 hours getting to and from work! This is the motivation I need to take steps forward on my business.

      • Coral says:

        Hi Jennifer – there seems to be a few of us in the same boat. It’s not just the day job. It’s the travel that eats into our time as well. It all adds up. I often listen to audio interviews as I drive to and from work to at least get some use out of the time. Love Srini from Blogcast FM.

        Taking the leap is tiring and you never feel like you have enough hours in the day. But what you learn and who you met along the way are worth it. I feel so fulfilled with what I’m doing even though i still have a long way to go. And I’m excited to be working towards the day I can walk into the bosses office and resign. Hold onto that thought. You can do it.

        I loooove your site – gorgeous design (and photo woo woo!).

    5. Dana Lynn Thompson says:

      I’m in the exact same boat. Not hating my day job, but not loving it either. I don’t make enough (yet!!!) on my own business to pay the bills so I have to stay. In his book The Success System That Never Fails, W. Clemente Stone says “The road to success starts when you are inspired to make the effort. Inspiration starts when you are motivated to dissatisfaction with things the way they are. Therefore, inspirational dissatisfaction is the strongest single force in your success system that never fails.” He goes on to say that most of us are comfortable where we are and until we are uncomfortable enough with our situation to desperately want to change it, we won’t change.

      I know this is true with where I am right now. I have a comfortable day job, can comfortably pay my bills with some left over for extras and so I’m not nearly uncomfortable enough to really make my side business work. This is why you always hear of these successful single moms with 5 kids who got divorced and lost their jobs and then started this unbelievable business. The situation they were in was so incredibly uncomfortable that they HAD to do something about it.

      I’m not sure which is worse, being comfortable or have some tragedy strike to make things uncomfortable enough to work your butt off and make your business awesome. I’m thinking the former might be worse.

      • Coral says:

        Kinda scary but also comforting to hear so many people tell me they are in the exact same boat. At least we aren’t alone! I’ve been working towards my big wild crazy dream for two years and am still a way off. But I wonder if it’s taken 2 years because I’m not uncomfortable enough? There is a fine balance between dawdling and going too fast and missing out on all the beautiful things that happen as part of this adventure. Or because I definitely worked my tail off on a project once before that didn’t turn out the way I planned. That hurt. A lot. And so I think I’m a bit wary this time. Of getting my hopes up too much. Of having unwavering confidence I can make it happen. But I also have to remember sometimes you fall over and you just have to get back up again.

        I think it’s a lot of work, a dash of perfect timing and a dollop of luck that all combine to make your big wild crazy dream a reality. What do they say – where opportunity meets preparedness?

        Thank you so much for sharing the W. Clemente Stone quote Dana. We can do this!

    6. Dana Lynn Thompson says:

      Here’s a recent post from Nathalie Lussier’s blog on “failed businesses.”

      Thought you might like to watch it. I’ve been through my fair share of failed attempts as well including two MLM party businesses and a dog clothing business. I’m definitely making more money with the web design than I did with either of those so I think this is definitely the ONE. I think everyone has a few failed attempts before they hit on the right idea. Don’t let that get you down! 🙂

      • Coral says:

        Thanks for the link Dana. When you start a business and it doesn’t go the way you planned, it can feel like you are the only one who has gone through it. You try to understand why other people have made it work and you couldn’t. You wonder what ‘secret ingredient’ you are missing. What do other people know that you don’t. And most of all, it hurts. A lot.

        But you and I are sisters. We’ve had the guts to try again. To put the hurt aside but bring our lessons with us. And sooner or later, we will be one of those giving a hand up to those at the beginning of their adventure.

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