Few creators are excited about their day-to-day work, the fewer comedians are. Or maybe it’s just me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to get paid and don’t have to decide between interesting things like paying rent and a trip to the grocery store, but even coming up with the idea of day jobs as a means to end up feeling like a technique I don’t want to admit. I’m sure I didn’t hide it too – the days when I wore confident underpants and introduced myself as a comedian, people asked me to clarify: “Oh, is that what you do for money? ” I try to be funny at the same time and hide my shame, “Well, sometimes. Do you need to see my tax return? Hahaha, not seriously, I have a daily job. I’m just doing my writing.” I mean, really.
There’s something about one-day doing comedian work that makes you feel particularly embarrassed. And I say this with some degree of authority because before I started pursuing the art of comedy, I dipped my feet into being a lawyer (that is, I bombed my LSAT) and then became a fashion designer for two years. By the time I realized I wanted to pursue writing and performing work, I actively deleted my resume and took a job as a letter worker at a university. I don’t want to take another design job that requires all my time and attention. Taking a page from Philip Glass’s book, I wanted a basic job that allowed me to focus on my goals and targets. That’s my way of eliminating Plan B while still being able to afford Plan B.
But nothing feels as flattering and embarrassing as when a YouTube fan approaches the front desk and exclaims, “Oh my gosh, are you Priya? I love your channel!” Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? It’s annoying to look at a young person’s face doing maths and feel sorry for me. “This is real life, your gods are mortals, and sometimes just enough money to eat biscuits at lunch” is what I mean, but instead I say, “Oh my god, thank you! That’s your sweetness!” and then offered them a cup of coffee.
We all know that we need day jobs to have money to cover our lives and pay for the basics and hopefully get insurance. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is no joke. A lot of artists already have daily jobs, and it’s important to remember to “do.” I was most annoyed when I had a day job when I was put on a break in creativity when I surrendered to the thought that I had a low-level letter job serving the teacher was all I got with my two degrees and years of hard work. It took me time to realize that daily work can also serve us creatively. My work left me faced with thoughts, feelings, and personality that I actively avoided coping with (I called it fulfilling my professional obligations) and meeting people so beyond my ability that I had to write a character around them.
I am also studying the art and politics of writing emails in a professional environment, so I can cover my butt and keep my dream job when I achieve it; make friends, but do not abuse function CC. I imagine that having your dream job does not immediately remove the bastards from your immediate or extended neighborhood. At the end of the day, when we take off our bra confidently when we walk through the door, work is a job. Day job or dream job, it’s a job. I mean, I definitely want my dream job, but what I’ve learned from my day job and will take it with me on the red carpet when I win an Emmy (I’m trying The Secret), to keep growing, I need to keep getting creative. And for me to keep creating, I need to pay my electricity bill.