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  #1  
Old 01-17-2018, 08:59 PM
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MrTheOne MrTheOne is offline
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Default How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

This is probably one of the most asked questions on this forum, but I'm interested to know how many of you all dealt with this issue, if you're playing pro or even semi-pro.
I work a FT day job, but my music opportunities are starting to grow in ways I never though possible.
Problem is as good as those opportunities are, they're still mostly inadequate financially. I suppose i could make it work if I adjusted my lifestyle drastically, but I'm just not interested in eating nothing but Ramen noodles and risking the heat and electricity getting shut off. Maybe that means I'm not ready for this afterall, since I'm not willing to be uncomfortable, but I guess I'm hoping for some advice on making the leap. The added issue is I'm pushing 40 and have this nagging feeling that I'm just too old to BEGIN a career in music.
The artist I've been hired by has a career that's starting to pick up and she'll need players that actually want to tour instead of just playing around town. She's already hired me for one short tour and a couple of festival dates this summer, but I can't guarantee that I'll be available for every date unless I quite my day job. Which I'm afraid to do because at least I have a steady source of income, medical insurance, etc.
I'm not banking on making crazy money, but can I make a living? I'm open to multiple income streams of course (i.e. lessons, other gigs, PT work, etc).
Needless to say I'm thrilled and grateful that she wants be on board. She's really talented and great showman, and every indication is that her career is on the rise. I just don't want to let a great opportunity pass me by because of my own trepidation. On the other hand, am I taking too much of a risk if I DO decide to go all in?
Anything you guys have to say is much appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2018, 09:24 PM
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CommanderRoss CommanderRoss is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

The guitar player I'm with is a single, full time musician. Has been for 19 years. Plays in 3 bands, is endorsed by Gretsch & is well known here in town for his multiple instrument talent.
He's called on by the local recording studio & is used as their in-house bass player if the need arises (which is frequent).
He also serves as a "Hired gun" for some local bands who need a fill in for a few shows.
99% of his income is cash based & he squeaks out a pretty good living from it all.

However...He's 51 years old & still lives at home with his parents.

I, as his drummer, am like you: FT job, wife, mortgage etc. (my son is grown & gone).
I gig with this guy a lot, make a good bit of side cash doing it & if I decided to take the full time plunge, there's no way I'd be able to pay the bills like I do now. Even with the wife's income & me being covered by the VA for health insurance.
Were it not for my buddy's low overhead & poverty level income on taxes, he'd be a homeless busker on the street.

Not knowing some of the particulars of your life, maybe you could make this work. I promise you it'll be a struggle at first & the artist who's career is on the rise may get the bills paid for you.
But you'll always have the wonder when it's all going to end. As many artists on the documentary Hired Guns have said, "One day I was eating surf and turf, the next I was scrambling for ANY gig out there."
Your artist friend might get hired by someone for a bigger project you & the rest of the group won't be a part of & now you're unemployed.

Please don't let this dissuade you from trying. IF you can set it up to where you take an unpaid break from your job to tour & see if this will work out, do it!
That way, you'll have something to fall back on if it all goes south.

Good luck my friend and keep us posted of your progress.
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Old 01-17-2018, 10:23 PM
WallyY WallyY is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Is it what you've always wanted?
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  #4  
Old 01-17-2018, 11:40 PM
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PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Too many unanswered questions to give a good answer:

Do you like your job?
What's the job market like in your town? In other words, if things were not to work out, what's the likelihood of finding another?
Are you married?
Do you have kids?
Do you have any debt?
Have you saved up any vacation time at your job?
Have you talked to your boss about the possibility of taking an extended time off?

These are just a few things I'm thinking of right off of the top of my head.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:06 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Letís say you have no bills and youíre ok living where you are and you donít have to pay for that. If your musical income can cover your healthcare and food, car insurance, incidentals, retirement account, then youíre probably ok to go ahead and quit your job.

If itís just you then you can do whatever you want, itís when there are other people in your life that it gets complicated, right?
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2018, 10:50 AM
dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

When you've adequately fully funded your retirement account, paid off your house, eliminated all other debt and can afford private healthcare insurance for the rest of your life.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2018, 11:48 AM
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mikyok mikyok is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderRoss View Post

However...He's 51 years old & still lives at home with his parents.
Sounds uncannily like my gym training partner.

He's a published author and is very well respected local historian, does TV and Radio a lot. He does something silly like 150 talks a year. He works in a museum for 10 days a month which pays his national insurance (pension and healthcare).

He's 55 single and lives with his mom. No money worries whatsoever!

There's part of me that say well done you've beat the man and no woman no cry! I like having my own home too much.

When I lived with my rents I did quit a job and just do the gigs for a few months, played all over the UK and loved every minute but couldn't pay a mortgage on it. It's a shame there's too many arsehole bosses in the world otherwise I'd have a happy medium between gigging and the 9-5!

My advice to the OP would be make sure you can cover your bills before making the leap and good luck!
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2018, 12:33 PM
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Mongrel Mongrel is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Asked myself your question and my brain spit out this answer....

"When I get $80,000 up front (after taxes) from a record company or artist."

That is about a years salary\benefits for me and would insure that my wife would be taken care of while I "chased the dream". (It doesn't even factor in finding a job if the project fails and all the time invested building up seniority etc.) Otherwise? I will make do with weekend warrior gigs, vacation time, and unpaid leave. Now if you already live with your parents have no significant others or pets, and your parents can get by without you? GO FOR IT!

Here is the thing...eventually everyone, or at least a majority of people-including "rockstars" want what it sounds like you already have-stability. They want the house, the medical, the big comfy couch, heat, hot and cold running water, and a place called "home". You would be giving that up for instability and the excitement of playing onstage (no mention of whether you would be in on the "record deal" and studio time?). If, IF you are\were a key member of the project with writing credits and expectation of royalty payments etc. that should be figured in... But to be the project's short-term "tour drummer"?

Not sure that is moving you closer to the goal posts or not....

Last edited by Mongrel; 01-18-2018 at 01:02 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2018, 12:59 PM
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Mike Stand Mike Stand is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Letís say you have no bills and youíre ok living where you are and you donít have to pay for that. If your musical income can cover your healthcare and food, car insurance, incidentals, retirement account, then youíre probably ok to go ahead and quit your job.

If itís just you then you can do whatever you want, itís when there are other people in your life that it gets complicated, right?
Words of wisdom here from Bo.

Also, I'll add that even when one is unattached/without obligations, it's still sometimes really difficult to know what one really wants.

At 40 years old I would not want to suddenly give up the stability I've become accustomed to. But then again, I'm not even 40 yet and still I could be considerd an "old fart".
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:08 PM
Groov-E Groov-E is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyY View Post
Is it what you've always wanted?
I dont know any musician worthy of the title for whom it isnt the case.

But there is also this :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Letís say you have no bills and youíre ok living where you are and you donít have to pay for that. If your musical income can cover your healthcare and food, car insurance, incidentals, retirement account, then youíre probably ok to go ahead and quit your job.

If itís just you then you can do whatever you want, itís when there are other people in your life that it gets complicated, right?
We have a good family income, yet with two young kids we dont have much for savings at the end of the year. Steady income is a good solution for steady expenses for the forseeable next 20 years, good fortune permits. And that is the least rock n'roll thing in the whole wide world.
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Old 01-18-2018, 02:52 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTheOne View Post
Problem is as good as those opportunities are, they're still mostly inadequate financially. I suppose i could make it work if I adjusted my lifestyle drastically, but I'm just not interested in eating nothing but Ramen noodles and risking the heat and electricity getting shut off. Maybe that means I'm not ready for this afterall, since I'm not willing to be uncomfortable
I think you already know the answer. :)

I'm the 'poster child' for making a day job and music career work. I spent 14 years with a company, while also growing with Weird Al. I toured, recorded, and platinum albums were delivered to me at work, along with equipment. Now, this was an entertainment company, and they were much more accommodating to me than they might be with anyone else. It probably wouldn't happen at all with most companies in today's workplace. But it was a middle-management position with a few titles, and I obviously did it well enough for them to put up with some lengthy leaves of absence. I even quit one time, and they called me on tour and offered me a new position (and more money!)

There was a point where I was constantly busy with work, local bands, and Al, balanced with home life. I had virtually no time for myself, and I was financially able to walk away from the job. That was the turning point. I decided that my time was worth more than that paycheck.

But it was a move made only when it didn't financially impact my life, and that's important. Starving for one's art is highly over-rated.

Bermuda
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2018, 03:05 PM
Groov-E Groov-E is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post

But it was a move made only when it didn't financially impact my life, and that's important. Starving for one's art is highly over-rated.

Bermuda
I guess that last sentence would have perfectly resumed most comments below, including mine !
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2018, 03:34 PM
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GetAgrippa GetAgrippa is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Interesting question I can empathize with the difficulty. Back in 2000 I was a productive up and coming medical research scientist- the head of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics Institute had taken me under his wing- a huge honor. My wife was a working Pediatrician for same medical college. We had three young daughters and we had used daycare till we hired at Home babysitter- she had to learn how to drive and we bought an extra car for her to drive. We both struggled that we spent more time in careers than with our kids, having trouble with our sitters, and then we found our youngest has a sensory integration dysfunction and need physical therapy. Because she made more money we decided I would stay home as Mr. Mom- which I was ill equipped. We were worried about our finances but the money saved from daycare, me fixing broken stuff rather than hiring a fix, etc we came out about the same. I was Mr Mom for 8 years (my research mentor warned my choice ended my research career, which it did l) but after that I started teaching at local colleges. It was the most rewarding experience of my life, no regrets, and the thing in life Iím most proud of. Although not the same scenario I say all that to say go for it.
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Old 01-22-2018, 12:56 AM
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No Way Jose No Way Jose is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

It's time to leave when you hate what you are doing.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:27 AM
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Frank Frank is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

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Originally Posted by No Way Jose View Post
It's time to leave when you hate what you are doing.
I wish this was true for me.

And I'm not talking about quitting to pursue music. I didn't put in the work to make myself worthy. But, outside of the music thing, I truly hate what I do. I have done it for a long time, and I hate it - so much that it is making me emotionally and physically sick.

But - that doesn't mean I can quit. I made certain life decisions about family that mean I can never retire. And, you can't just wake up one day and recast your career, maintaining the same salary. So, yes, I hate it, and it hurts me every day, but I still have to do it.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:44 AM
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTheOne View Post
am I taking too much of a risk if I DO decide to go all in?
Anything you guys have to say is much appreciated!
Just use any accumulated vacation time and use that when you need to be away from work. If you need more time, see if they'll let you take a few days off here and there without pay. No way would I suggest that you quit your job. The music gigs can dry up in an instant, especially when you're just a sideman. The only time I would suggest quitting your job is if you have some sort of contract in place and the artist has music that is charting on Billboard.

Are you a member of the AFM?
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:20 AM
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drummingman drummingman is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

I'm 41 and still going after the goal of playing full time. So you are not too old. You will never be too old. The age thing is nothing more then a number. I don't have a wife or kid's but I do have to help support my mother who lives with me because she cannot work because she is disabled. She gets a small disability check each month that cover's the rent and all the other bills I cover. So we help each other with the financial issues as we are the only family that we both have.

My current day job pays pretty well but is now getting in the way of me being able to gig and do rehearsals like I need to. Its also starting to cause my body pain that I fear could effect my drumming. So I'm actually on the hunt for a different day job that will give me more flexibility in my schedule and won't cause me pain. I will have to take a pay cut which will hurt. But, my goal is to get to touring for a living full time. So this is the sacrifice that I have to make right now to get there.

No matter what your situation is if you want it bad enough do whatever it take's to find a way to make it happen. That may mean eating bologna sandwiches and ramen noodles for quite a while. But, it will be worth it in the end if your heart is in it and the only career that will truly make you happy is playing music.
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:55 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Myself I would wait until it was funding my day to day life. Or I had the endorsements, exposure, and gigs set up for several months in advance all the time. I don't like taking finical risks though.

If it's your dream and you can afford it go for it. I would maybe start teaching lessons on the side first, or find something you can do in your downtime like website design, or something that you can supplement your income. THEN make the leap.

I don't know your expenses, goals, living situation, or fame of your band though so the decision is yours.

Ask your family as they are close to you and would know best.

Think a year down the road, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. It is a tough industry and you better be prepared to work dang hard to make it as a drummer.
I have heard from several pro drummers that you need to be very recording yourself, editing, mixing, so you can do session work, teach lessons, pick up gigs in EVERY genera as if you don't, it is tough to make a buck.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:57 PM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

I would say the only realistic way for an established person to alter that much in their income stream would be to insure themselves.

Save up at least a years worth of salary and I think more would be best. Easier said than done obviously. And if you're more of a risk taker, the amount is up to you.

Then, quit. Immediately make your goal to be not spending the money you've saved and attempt to make your actual living-money through music.

At least that way the months that you fail, you won't have to get the power shut off or pay lenders huge fees or any of that horrible flat broke cycle stuff.
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  #20  
Old 01-23-2018, 02:17 AM
Peedy Peedy is offline
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Default Re: How do you know it's time to quit your 9-5?

Sans a record contract, I’m siding with the cautious group. Moving into an apartment with four other bros is for 22 year olds. That’s not where you’re at.

Pete

Last edited by Peedy; 01-23-2018 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Correct a mistake.
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