This morning I’m scared of my work.
It’s over there, in my computer, and I know as soon as I open it I’m going to have to face it. And that scares me.
And so to distract myself from the fact that the only thing which will actually help is actually going to open the damn thing up, make a plan, and all that good stuff… my brain has decided to bring up the ever helpful voice that says things like:
“If this was really what you loved to do, you’d love every minute of it.”
or this one…
“When you love what you do, you’ll never dread Mondays again.”
I dread Mondays sometimes.
There have even been weeks when I dreaded Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
I’ve dreaded them as a singer, as a writer, and as a financial planner.
The type of work doesn’t seem to matter… so is it me?
What we believe about work: your ‘true calling’ won’t feel like a job at all
Yup. I’ve got this belief kicking around my head.
It’s something that’s instilled in lots of artists. This feeling that you’re so lucky to be able to do what you do. That everyone else would kill for this opportunity. The idea that most people hate their jobs but YOU get to do what you love.
And doing what you love means never feeling like you hate it and want to stay in bed all day.
Doing what you love is what we should all aim to do, because it’s a perfect world of perfect bliss, and if you’re an artist you live in this world and that’s why no one has to pay you in actual money because you’re already paid in the glory of the moment.
That’s a ton of baggage to put on ourselves.
I’m sure somewhere there’s a magic arts pixie who dances in the fountains of delight every day and needs naught of the sustenance of the physical world.
But when I was singing full time, that was not me.
And now that I’m splitting my focus between opera and planning… it’s still not me.
Hey artists…. other people love their jobs too
I’d just like to add as a note to the creative community… not everyone wishes they were an artist.
I know when we meet them at dinner parties they say: “at least you get to do what you love”… but lots of people do what they love.
In the last 2 years I have met people who LOVE financial planning. And those people say the exact same things that we used to say:
“How lucky are we to be able to do what we love everyday”
And they are. And so are you.
We don’t have a monopoly on ‘living your passion’ in the arts, and that means that we don’t have to live by some other set of rules.
Having a job that you love is not ‘all the compensation you need’
Can you imagine someone going up to a doctor, and after hearing her talk about how much she loves her work with patients and the intricacies of diagnosis and treatment, says something like:
“Man, you love it so much, we should be paying you less.”
No. That’s crazy.
Because we’ve already decided that doctors should make money, whether they love it or not.
We’ve actually decided that most career paths and ‘callings’ should make money, regardless of how much satisfaction they gain from the job.
But not the arts.
In the arts, we’re lucky enough to ‘just be doing it.’
Well… bully for us.
The creative community has to change what we believe about ourselves
The hardest thing with a conversation about money in the arts world is that so many of us have adopted beliefs about the work we do and the people we have to be in order to function in this world and be accepted.
Lots of those beliefs hold us back.
And this is a big one.
For years I honestly didn’t realize that lots of other people love their jobs. For years I didn’t recognize the equal standing of a ‘calling’ to be an artist and the ‘calling’ to help someone with their finances.
Both are incredibly challenging and fulfilling lives that people live with passion, creativity and absolutely love.
But the fact that we believe one calling is worth paying for, and one calling is payment in itself is a major problem.
And no one outside of our community is going to change what they believe about us, until we change what we believe about ourselves.
Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator
Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.
She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.
Email Emily at email@example.com