• Miss E

Why one job isn't enough.


There was a time when I had one job. I tried the whole nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday shtick for a couple of years. (Which actually means nine-to-seven and sometimes weekends.) But it didn't sit well with me at all. I was working long hours, for low pay and not getting any creative satisfaction whatsoever. Sure, I learnt a lot and it was great experience. But once I learnt what I needed to, it was obvious to me that there were bigger fish to fry.


Five years later, I've probably had about 20 jobs since I quit full time work. Which back in the good old days, probably didn't look too flash on the resume. But now I wear it as a badge of honour. And I don't mean I do one job for a month and then quit, these are all small contract jobs and freelance gigs. Instead of spending 50 hours a week on one job I hate, I'm now spending 40 hours a week on 5 different jobs I love. Not only does this keep me from getting bored, it keeps me focused and engaged with each task as I jump from one to the other. No week is the same as the last and I have the flexibility to pick up and drop work depending on how busy I am with other projects. Having multiple streams of income also feels a lot safer to me than having just one. After being made redundant unexpectedly from a part-time job of 2 years, I realised that nothing is guaranteed. Luckily at the time I still had a couple of other jobs on the go, so I wasn't completely screwed.

Now, you might be saying, Erika - what are all these jobs you're doing, and how do I get them? So you're still working behind the counter at Coles, or managing your local Just Jeans, or stuck in that corporate job that destroys your soul. Then spending your down time creating as much art as possible but not really progressing your art business. Right? Well you're not alone. I was there too once, and a lot of people I speak to are right there with you. But, how do you go from one job to multiple jobs?

Simply, one at a time. Pickup a new job on top of what you're doing, then continue to add and drop jobs until you've found the right balance. If you're currently working full time, I suggest downsizing to a part-time job and then building back up from there with other small jobs. The guiding force behind my job selection was that I had time to focus on my art and I didn't want to earn money doing something I didn't want to do. And whilst that job offer working as a vampire waitress at Dracula's was tempting, I made the decision not to work in hospitality again unless the situation was dire.

Thankfully, I've been able to live off multiple jobs in the art industry for years now. I'm an art instructor for about 10 - 15 hours a week. Which I love. I'm a freelance graphic designer for about 2 hours a week, for some low-key long term clients. I'm an artist for about 15 - 20 hours a week, nothing brings me more joy than painting. I'm a freelance curator for about 3 hours a week, which doesn't pay a lot but I enjoy doing it. And then I'm a contract curator for local government for about 5 hours a week. And you know what? I feel like I don't have a job. Because none of these feel like work. I never say "I'm off to work!", it's usually "I get to do this awesome thing today!" Which I am so completely grateful for.

But hey, it didn't happen overnight. It's taken me years of mistakes and bad jobs and times of too much work and then not enough work to get this balance happening. And it's a constantly evolving thing, I'm always managing my various streams of income to ensure that I'm happy and making enough money. If you're too scared to take the plunge and quit that full time job you hate, let this be that little push you need in the right direction.


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