The Day Job Blog

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Are you hard at work on projects that bring you tremendous fulfillment but don’t exactly pay in folding money? Do you face the ever-harrowing struggle of balancing creative work with life’s other responsibilities? Is the job where you spend a substantial portion of your time not what really drives you, even though you do it anyway?

Then you’ve come to the right place. We all gotta keep the bills paid.

What Kinds of Workers Have to Get Overtime Pay?

A few months back I wrote a piece about American overtime laws and how they set clear boundaries about what kinds of workers need to be paid time-and-a-half for any hours per week they work over forty.  These laws were enacted to 1)Create more jobs by giving employers incentive to hire more workers at the regular rate instead of paying their existing workers the time-and-a-half rate, and 2)To help workers maintain a better work-life balance, because working a lot of overtime sucks hard.

The rules are laid pretty clearly in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which I first learned about when my old job as a school secretary overloaded me with more work than I could possibly handle in a 40-hour workweek and I started doing some research.  While the Continue reading »

India Trip Reflections #3: “People Should Know Their Place”

About halfway through the India trip I met a guy whose name I won’t mention here, both to protect his identity and because I’ve forgotten it.  He’d been to college and was now working a comfortable middle-class job that paid a decent salary, had plenty of room for advancement, and didn’t require him to work too hard.  He seemed pretty happy, or at least satisfied with how his life was going.

During the hour or so we spent together he told me about a lot of things: about his job, about arranged marriages in India, and about the political problems and corruption the country faced.  Then we got on the subject of social media, which he wasn’t a big fan of.

I thought it was odd that someone so close to my own age (he was in his late twenties) could Continue reading »

India Trip Reflections #2: Your Job Shouldn’t Define Your Status

When I was in India, I found myself being asked the same three questions over and over:

  1. Are you married?
  2. How many brothers and sisters do you have?
  3. What is your job in America?

Now the answer to the first question was of course no (my response usually involved the phrase “haven’t found the right girl”) and my having two younger brothers was simple enough, but how to explain my work to people from an entirely different culture was a whole lot trickier.

In America, when I meet a new person and hear the “What do you do?” question, I judge based on the situation whether the person is Continue reading »

India Trip Reflections #1: Never Forget What a Break and Time Away Can Do

At the beginning of this month I flew to India for ten days to attend a friend’s wedding and take a much-needed vacation.  It was my first trip abroad in two years, and I spent the time meeting new people, exploring rural Indian villages, experiencing farm life, and trying awesome new dishes made from amazing vegetables and the freshest butter and yogurt I’ve ever had.

Now I’m back, and I feel awesome.

I was pretty stressed out before I left because of too much Secret Office Day Job-related overtime and having a shit ton of things to do in general, but I guess I hadn’t realized Continue reading »

Cool Stuff I Did in 2017, and Cool Stuff I’m Going to Do in 2018

It’s been a long month, and an even longer year.

That’s not to say it hasn’t been a successful year of getting a lot of things done, because it has.  Since I talk all the time about the importance of tracking your goals, here’s a quick list of things I got done in 2017:

  • Turned This Blog Into a Regular, Consistent Project Last January But I Also Have a Day Job was a mere scattering of posts with some half-finished static pages and few regular readers.  For the last 12 months I’ve posted an entry a week, gained a lot of Continue reading »

Guest Post – Life vs. Writing: A Balancing Act

Angela D’Onofrio is a writer and artist whose series of novels takes place in the fictitious town of Aviario, Connecticut and contains elements of the fantastic (I reviewed one of her Aviario novels, In the Cards, a few weeks back). I met her through a local writer’s group, where I was struck by her dedication to promoting her projects and keeping an active role in her many, many creative communities.  Check out more of her work here, or follow her on Twitter at @AngDonofrio.

 

Hello, fellow writers with day jobs!  Ian approached me a little while ago and asked if I’d like to write a guest post for his blog.  “Sure,” I said, “but let’s do it after National Novel Writing Month, when I’ll be done writing my fingers off…”

Which brings us to the topic of this post: Life vs. Writing. For the past four years, I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo: a challenge to authors to write the first 50,000 words of a novel draft in a month.  As much as I’d love to be able to tell you that I pummeled my keyboard into submission…alas, Continue reading »

How the Republican Tax Bill Affects Grad Students (Spoilers: Not in a good way!)

I don’t often talk politics on this blog because that’s not what it’s for, but in rare cases I come across a political topic like the Republican Tax Bill that affects not only creative people with Day Jobs, but all of us who don’t quite fit the Traditional Middle-Class Mold of going to college, getting a high-paying job, and working that high-paying job until retirement.

For the past few weeks President Trump’s been talking about a new tax bill that he and others have touted as a way to bring tax relief to the middle class, in addition to reducing paperwork and loosening restrictions on businesses to make them more competitive.  Though the exact rhetoric around the bill has been mixed, the White House has been careful to plant the seed that the bill isn’t designed to help the wealthy, and Continue reading »

November Novel Progress Update!

Just a quick note this week, since it’s been a busy one.

When I last checked in for my October novel progress I was working on typing up the revisions from the 3rd draft and had gotten through 55 pages, or about 20% of it.  That was pretty good, but not great.

November’s progress was similar: as of today I’ve gotten through 120 pages of revisions, or roughly 40% of the draft.  That’s also good (and slightly better than last month’s progress!), but not even close to where I’d like to be.

I am happy this month that I was able to spend more nights actually working than in previous months.  That’s partly because I developed a rhythm of Continue reading »

Run Your Own Art Swap

It’s that time of year again.

For the past five years I’ve done a yearly Art Swap where I round up a group of creative folks (almost all of whom have Day Jobs of their own) and everyone makes a project of some kind, in any medium, big or small.  They make enough for everyone in the swap, mail them to me, and I collect the shipping money and mail the projects out to everyone else.

Organizing the whole thing is surprisingly simple—I keep in touch via plain ol’ email, set some deadlines early on to keep people on track, then send out group reminders as those deadlines get closer.  Most everyone involved finds the deadlines helpful, since as I wrote about a few weeks ago, we tend to take tasks Continue reading »

You Don’t Pay Me to Care

I used to stress out about work, but then I stopped.

Way, way back before I’d come up with the Day Job Philosophy, at my previous jobs I was always trying to support my employer by doing my best, since that was the way I’d been raised.  I worked hard, tackled all the assignments I was given, tried to impress my superiors, and focused a lot on making other people happy—and it almost destroyed me.

Back then, I believed that if I did a job well I’d naturally be recognized for it, which would then lead me to more success and material rewards Continue reading »

What I Do When I Don’t Feel Like Working

Some days I just don’t have the energy to sit down and do my creative work.  It happens to all of us, and if you hear someone say that they can work every day despite the circumstances than they’re either lying through their teeth or they’ve somehow found the Holy Grail of Creativity that magically allows them to work at 100% peak performance all the time (which doesn’t seem likely).

Everybody reading this knows that feeling: when you come home tired from a long day at work, when you’re worried about bills, your future, or a breakup, or when you wake up on a Sunday too hungover to do much of anything.  In these shittiest of shitty moments, the last thing you want to do is Continue reading »

A Short Post (promise!) About Needing More Economic Freedom to Realize Your Potential

“But wait!” some of you naysayers might be shouting after my last entry about creating a world where people don’t have to spend all their time working just to get by, “if people didn’t have to work, then they’d just sit around playing video games until they ran out of money, and then society would fall apart!  The only way to keep people from being lazy is to make sure they’re working hard so they can learn responsibility!”

I hear different versions of this argument a lot, and it always irks me because it assumes that the majority of people are innately Lazy and Useless, so we have to force them to work just to teach them a lesson.

This argument falls apart when you consider that being forced to work uninspiring, mindless jobs makes you see work solely as a chore, like that dishwashing metaphor I always use for unpleasant tasks Continue reading »