The Daily Grind

I’m at the point where I feel like I’m about to explode. I don’t entirely dislike my job, but it’s not what I want to be doing… I need to have a creative outlet that encompasses more than the 2 free hours I manage to squeeze into my day. I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t a want… it’s a core need of mine. Problem being, I don’t have time to put together a portfolio to get another job, and half the media based jobs in this city are taken, and pay a fraction of what I get now… and I’m almost broke all the time as it is.

How do you guys deal with this kinda thing?

That’s more or less my condition at the moment, but two hours a day making music are a real luxury for me…
I’m just waiting for a better paid job and/or the chance to work less.
In the mean time, I clench my teeth and go on…

You get used to it. I assume. I’m not used to it yet after 6 years.

Byte I feel in a slightly similar situation so perhaps you can relate to my story a bit.

I was in that small regional town Armidale with a part time job as an audio technician at the university there. Man it eventually got boring as hell but at least I was part time so I could give some time daily to music stuff. That went on for 5 years, life changed a bit, and by the end I was ready to give it up and try something new. At any rate the uni were slowly making my position redundant through technological change. I thought to myself “surely I’m more skilled and worthy than this?”. My partner also gave up her job which was changing from a very negative situation into a positive one but she gave it up anyway for a few reasons. We both thought we’d be able to get much better jobs if we moved to the city, Brisbane, and reap the rewards of being in a cultural epicenter. So with much reluctance on her part, bye bye little town.

Well it’s been almost 3 months now for both of us without income. We’ve had savings to live off and a nice sharehouse situation to help us - but that hasn’t stopped the tension and unhappiness creeping into the situation. Moral is low. The job she had lined up for herself fell though (out of her control) and she was left to apply for something else. I found myself practically unemployable due to how tight the audio production industry is becoming. I had to think of a way I could use my old teaching degree to get back into something that wasn’t the nightmare of highschool teaching. So I’ve spent a fantastically huge amount of my savings on vocational-style training courses, one for Workplace Training and Assessment and another larger course on Adult Literacy and Numeracy Teaching. It’ll be a year before I can apply for any specialist work in that field, so that’s a fair while without serious income. I guess once I get my Training certificate I can chase casual work somehow, but I do feel a tad lost. Fortunately my partner just scored a really good job interview for a position very similar to the one she left in Armidale but with better pay. So fingers crossed. I regret dragging my partner into this, because really she didn’t to do it.

I really, deep down, wanted to move here to give my musical and creative development a chance to grow in a big city context. But it’s going to be AGES before we can afford some place of our own so I can comfortably get into that project again. Sure I’ve been doing a few production projects with other people, but somehow giving advice to others about how they could improve their songs doesn’t feel as wholesome as finishing your own songs. I guess if you do move to the city, be prepared to re-train or something like that in order to get stable work - without stable work you won’t be able to afford to live in the city and do music at any level of technical seriousness. There’s been a few times where I wished we could go back to that set-up in Armidale and just get chipping away at my music in my ample spare time, but I feel too muddled to know whether or not that’s a healthy wish or not. If you can score a job before you move that would be the way to go, but that’s so easier said than done.

The daily grind is something we all fight against as creative people. We are square pegs trying to be forced in round holes. Not many people respect that. While you can pour some of that struggle into your songs (music as catharsis or self expression) it still doesn’t get you anywhere from the daily erosion of your self confidence, and it wastes your human life. There is such things as good jobs and good workplaces out there - just takes some big effort to chase them and to re-skill in order to earn those jobs. I hope Canada’s vocational training sector is as good as ours. The opportunities there really put the university system to shame.

Not sure if this helps you at all, but there it is.

I just don’t work…
And I cope…

I’ve seen people stop doing music when entering 40 hour jobs, that’s why I swore to myself never to get into one. I am now in a 32 hour job which gives me full 2 hours a day to do other stuff (though I have been offered a full position numerous time), but gosh, I miss those days when I woke up in the morning and did music till late evening… :(

Sorry to hear about all that MMD… that sucks :(

Luckily I’ve got skills outside sound production. I was just told today that if I wanted to relocate, I could make $60/h coding actionsctipt, which I was quite good at in college. This pleases me greatly, but I’ve got to get a portfolio together before any of that shit will come through at all.

I’m installing Flash right now :)

Depressive friday afternoon modus ON!

What depresses me most is not the time-consuming work itself, but the idea that we HAVE to work for another 40 YEARS. I can squeeze 4 hours of music in a day, more or less, without completely destroying myself. But 40 fucking years! Jesus! I’ll be damn happy if I SURVIVE till my 40th year. I don’t think I’ll grow very old. Wish we were back in the Stone Age. Some hunting, some collecting, some pottery, lots of reproduction and dying of unknown diseases… I’d happily make the trade.

Usually I have this every tuesday (as tuesday is furthest away from any weekend) AND THAT’S what bothers me: living from one free moment to another. Not that I don’t enjoy my work, and I realize a weekend can only be a weekend with work, but I’m damn freaking sure mankind wasn’t made for +40 hours a week. But it’s what pays the bills and keeps me off the streets and buys me gear. Oh well. Having work in these times of economical misere is a luxury, I realize that… and still complaining! Ofcourse! I’m human!

A poem by BYTE-Smasher
we saw you
slacking off
you’d better shape up
or fuck off
you can’t make a living
at living
what do you think this is
a free country?

you’d best do the math
your time is our liability
your sanity costs us money
we don’t care if it improves your quality
we want massive bulk quantity
you should be a one man factory

you should maximize units
and minimize man-hours
minimize your happiness
and maximize our gains

if we don’t see scars, bruises and tears
it’s quite obvious that you haven’t worked hard enough
your personal life would be our private property if we had the means
but regulations keep getting in the way
a free market would fix that fast
until then we’ll stick to sheer intimidation

at any rate, it seems we miscalculated
you don’t fit our impossible mold
security will now escort you to the gutter
we’re still looking for a better model
and when we find him
we’ll send you the bill

I just quit a reasonably well-paid and absolutely safe job at a university, supporting postgraduate research students doing digital art and being allowed to do some teaching/research of my own…so I can be a full-time, freelance musician :)

When I say ‘safe’, I mean it’s almost impossible to get fired - I’d have to go and do a shit on the Vice Chancellor’s desk. Even with the recession and huge UK higher-education funding cuts, I could have kept the job for life. But I woke up one morning and remembered that I’ve been training to be a professional musician since I was six years old, I’ve got two music degrees, I’ve taught violin professionally, I’ve played in all sorts of bands…and I remembered being poor but happy instead of having too much money and NOT ENOUGH TIME.

Don’t get into that situation, kids. Sure, I’m going to starve for a few months: I saved a bit so I can pay rent while I work up a composition portfolio and pull together some people into a variety of profitable live ensembles, plus I’ve got a very supportive fiancée (whose parents are so supportive they didn’t even mind that I quit my job months before marrying her!) so hopefully everything will be fine.

Absolute worst-case scenario is that…I have to go and get a proper job again ;)

I’m an accountant…nuff said really.

is this the Workers Anonymous? Ok, I’m in…

I am currently facing quite a crisis (in a positive way we could call it a “revolution” or a “change”):
I am about to move to a new flat I have just bought. Bigger, newer, with a big (and I mean BIG: 1000 suqare meters) backyard, 15 minutes away from the small city where I always lived.

At the same time, the company were I have been working since 2000 is now in the making of some financial magic, so in the end we are receiving about 2/3 of our usual wage, while the last 3rd should be given us in April, I hope (the whole “magic” started party in September and fully in November)… Also, I have been moved from an interesting c++ project, which was closed because our manager is an idiot, to a boring Microsoft Dynamics NAV project.

I of course have a bank loan to pay now that I have bought the new flat, but my father promised me to help me by giving me the money he would earn from the selling of the apartment where I lived together with my girlfriend; but then, on January, he said that he could not give me what he promised, while he could only give me exactly what I needed to buy the home remaining with no other money in bank, about 20.000€ less than what he promised.

Finally, my girlfriend lost her work he did from home (a ridicolous income: 200€ for 2 days a week, but still money).

The result is now that I have started to hate this whole situation, starting from my girlfriend, who still lives with me now, but the situation is getting worse every day and I really hate to see her at my home now.

The only fixed point in my life now is my job which, although being boring, is what allows me to pay the bills and the loan, and I only see one aim in my life now: moving to the new apartment and live alone with my dog Mucca for a while. It has to be taken into account that I currently work in what is probably the best IT company in this area so I am really not motivated in a change, but still I would not advise you to make such kind of change into your life into such a delicate moment for the “civilized” world, although the crisis moments are the best ones to make changes: I, for example, decided to buy an home, but would not change my job for anything else at this time.

PS: Foo?, argh… really sad to hear the situation you are into… I sincerely hope you will see the light soon…

i’d say that’s a good idea!

man, work is killing me… i work quite a lot and i don’t mind it but for the fact that i have veryyy little energy to do something creatively when i get home. ))): now, i’m a strict amateur but even so i want to develop my skills (to keep up the fun of it i guess) and that means i must keep at it. but as it is now i mostly open up the xrns and stare at it. programming music on a computer takes quite a lot of energy for me, i guess.

on the positive side: i still do a lot of noodling on my instruments at home even if i’m tired. so much easier to just pick up the guitar and mindlessly strum away i guess.

any tips? recco me a drug? :>>

Lock yourself in with a quarter gram of MDMA and 5 grams of proper weed. Take the MDMA and MAKE MUSIC BASED ON YOUR FEELINGS, go where your mind wants to go. Whenever you feel the sweat drip from your fingers and you can’t sit still for another second, roll up a fat one to calm down. Make sure you have PLENTY to drink, make sure you’re NOT home alone. And have a great fap/shag every now and then. :P

EDIT: I tried this once. Got too distracted. Went outside. Got back at 5:00 AM. Made NO music. I guess you musn’t take ALL the MDMA at once.

EDIT: Drugs are not the solution, but can help to GET THE BALL ROLLING. Nothing more. But also nothing less.

EDIT: I sound like a fucking druggy, but I’m relatively very inexperienced.

EDIT: A new samplepack or plugin can also be a drug, don’t forget to get high on those!

EDIT: One more edit for teh lolz

Dude I hate generally everything about my life right now: My job sucks. It is either too slow and boring as hell or way too busy and a real bitch. Also, it doesn’t pay well at all and there is no growth; no way to move up the ladder. I work this crap 40 hours a week. I just lost my apartment due to an extremely emotionally stressful split between me and my lady friend of the past three years. My car broke down. Its transmission completely crapped out. And, my cell phone is turned off. But you know what? I just keep on truckin cause what else could I do. I only have my life and I figure well that’s all I’ve got and I might as well just do the best I can.

Touching The Void

haha, thanks for the tips! on drugs, i’ve ever only tried making music on a computer while drunk and it doesn’t work that well. makes me just want to passively listen to music or actively play but not compose. i guess i’m not enough in touch with the computer as an instrument.

Why don’t you have a recording session then? Record 3 hours in a row :) Sounds like you need to get in the groove to be motivated enough to compose. Perhaps going through your recording session gives you ideas for a track? This DID work for me :) Many a time!

ah, the stories here are so depressing that it seems no positive tales are allowed. however, i will chip in, mainly because i really like to read about the lives of the other people in this community, and figured i’m probably not alone in this, so i will tell you about my situation.

truly, i am quite happy with the way it is for me right now. i work a 39 hour job ('till 1600 on fridays, it’s a trick to cover for the mandatory 6 additional free days every company needs to have here) doing payroll administration. that sounds like total boredom, but luckily i do not agree. its actually pretty interesting to do as it is an ever-changing line of work due to new laws and regulations and stuff. all i really want from a job right now (i have no degree or whatever) is to challenge me a bit mentally. with this job, i have to keep thinking, so that works for me. i do not see myself doing this for another 40 years, but since i have no idea what else i would want to do, i’m fine with doing this.
to be honest, i don’t think about having to work another 40 years, or another 39 hours this week or whatever. i live by the day, as much as i can. i am happily married, have 2 fantastic dogs (1, named Ernie, is in my avatar), a great place and both me and my wife make ample amounts of money to get by.
i would like to have a bit more time to work on my music, but i just do weekends starting from 2300 until 0400/0600 in the morning, if i can both friday and saturday (if my wife agrees, which, being sweet as she is, most of the time she does). it’s all amateur stuff anyway, so i don’t really mind though.

i really feel sincerely for you guys who are going through tough times (most posts are from january/february, so i hope some stuff has been resolved?).

@It-Alien: i love that your dog is called Mucca. reminds me of Mucha, one of the most amazing painters ever. even if it’s not related, it’s a great name.

about the drugs: i’m somewhat experienced (mushrooms, lsd, mdma, speed, salvia, weed, alcohol), but i only use weed to make music on. that is, each weekend.

all of you, thanks for sharing your stories. once again, i really hope some of the stuff has been resolved.

The problem with music and drugs is I find it makes it hard to focus on the computer screen. SO much easier for these rockers who just have to brock out on their instruments!