When Are You Going to Get a Real Job?

Alarm Clock

First Posted 28-Oct-2014

If you are a creative, if you generate content or images, play music or do something else that isn’t a “real job”, you have heard this said to you. Even if you have found a home in commercial art or publishing, even then, the question sits in the corner of the room like a drunk alien somewhat passed out still puking on the furniture between snores.
I have a degree in English Literature. People hear that and often reply, “Oh, so do you teach?” No. I do this. I do this blog that doesn’t pay me any money, has pretty much no audience, and is a little more credible than playing Civilization for 10 hours a day. Maybe not. I feel so authentic writing the above. To pay my bills I drive my own car for Uber under the UberX brand. When I can get work, I play whack-a-puter for local banks. I never wanted a real job. I wanted this job, sitting in my guest bedroom typing words into an app run from my web browser that very few people will ever read.

As it happens I have an interview for a job whacking ‘puters this morning (10-28-2014 as I type this for an 11-1-2014 release). All signs point to my getting it. As much as I like blogging and being creative, there is something to be said for having my name on a lease for a house where the heat works, the lights work, there is running water, and flush toilets. Also for private health insurance. I used to be conflicted. I felt like holding down a day job was selling out. Even doing commercial work was selling out. I thought it heroic that someone would dig in and insist on making a living through their art. My grandmother made toys out of wood scraps with an old shoe grinding machine and kept the bills paid that way.

Starving for my art was never something I could do for long. I’d remember home, where the house is always comfortably warm and you could eat out of my Mom’s pantry for a month. There is cable TV and fast Internet. There are extra cars so if you want to go somewhere you can borrow one. Being a starving artist just didn’t work for me when I’d grown up with a comfortable home. These days, being in my mid-fifties, I have no patience for starving for my art. I like the life I’ve made. It’s been almost a month since I moved into my house. I’m staying. But, “when are you going to get a real job?” Maybe this morning. Maybe never. I’ve learned to thrive with little and with much. I’ve learned to trust God even when things look very frightening. It’s ok if I get a real job. It’s also ok if I don’t. I made it this far, through stormy weather and shiny fall days like today.