How to deal with a day job?

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
You can still play in bands, write music, put together a studio. I write my own music (slowly). It's not as glamorous as showcasing in front of labels, but it's very rewarding on a personal level.
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home recording studio ? I played ( guitar/bass/other) many years in bands, I HATED playing live. I always was just into song writing and doing home recordings with friends. I find it way more fun to share the writing recording process with like minded musicians, rather than playing to a bar full of toothless slobbering chain smoking drunk people..( pardon my bitterness)....oh by the way, I'm 48 years old.
Just sayin'

..........................................
 

Hercules

Senior Member
The day job sux - but the dole queue sux a lot more. Playing drums for a living and not making a good living doing it sux too. Empathy all round DD - I'm sure we're not the only 2 who have this situation ;-).

But, if you're in 3 bands and 2 more bands want you then you're doing something right - that's a great compliment to receive. Dissatisfaction with your own playing is a good thing - it means you're trying to become better.

It sounds like just a juggle of the work/life balance (that phrase sux also) would sort out your dilemna - can you change your job to 3 or 4 days a week and get by?
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
What a great thread, I believe it's message touches a button with each and every one of us. Thankfully I have gone through alot and am in a pretty good spot right now, even so it is human nature to think and want things even better, by a little or alot.
Our band had a gig last Saturday, and now there is nothing on the calender, so there is the hole I need to fill. On the other hand, I have a great job which allows the freedom and flexability to fulfill my passions for the drums, playing them, building them, and learning to play better. I have been totally fulltime drummer for a huge chunk of my life, and the further those days drift away, I still try to remember the financial struggle, the days on the road where I had no outlet other than working out, no shop or real home on the road. I need to remember the let down of fellow bandmates not puttiing in the same commitment making your own work seem futile and not appreciated. I remember teaching and having the same kids week after week not practicing or taking the lessons seriously and having to fill 30 minutes of teaching knowing it was being wasted time and energy.
Bo Eder, you nailed it in your post, Mad about drums, Bermuda, Drum Eat Drum, you too, it shows you have been there.
I also really relate to the OP in the way he laments on looking back at his life and accomplishments. I have always had a fear of looking back and seeing that I was a great drummer, but nothing else. I have the type of outlook that I want to have become many things, learn multiple skills, and now I at 48, I have achieved my goal.
I am a reasonably decent drummer, and it remains my number one focus to this day.
But I also build drums, I build furniture, I can repair all my vehicles all the way to rebuilding the engines if that is what is needed. I can read and estimate blueprints, and can do basically every step required to build a house, I can paint vehicles with good results, I can weld, I can navigate a sportbike around a track, and keep a plane in the air if I am ever in that position. The list goes on and on, so looking back, I am in a happy place, but there is always the desire for more, it is who we are. I think this is the longest post I have ever typed lol.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
I just turned the big 5-0, and still dream of going on tour at some point. I'mm 99.9% sure that will never happen, but I'm okay with that. I have a really good and well-paying job in the engineering field. So I am very fortunate that I don't have to worry about paying the bills, especially since I have two kids in or about to be in college. This makes my playing drums a very low-stress hobby, and for me, that makes it more enjoyable.

But if someone called and said they needed me for a 3-month tour, I'd probably take a sabbatical from work and go for it. I'm not sure I'd be ready to go full time into the musical industry, nor do I think I'm talented enough to make it in the industry. I'll leave that to you guys. ;)
 

marko138

Silver Member
Best of luck. I'd love to play for a living but I've never wanted any part of touring. I don't mind working a day job. I play live as often as I want to. Don't make any money but I have fun.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Ok, here's a bit of my story that relates to the OP's frustrations. Back in the day, I scraped a meagre existence from drumming for nearly 6 years. I'm quite proud of the fact that I managed at least that, but here's the truth behind the headline. I was hired, not because of my talent or great playing ability, because, quite frankly, it didn't exist. I was hired because I was reliable, easy to work with, generally low maintenance, able to keep time, play to a click, sight read, & I was cheap! The only reason I was able to stick at it financially, was because I was single, & therefore was only responsible for keeping myself. I was immature too, so any fruitful opportunities passed me by because I was more into having a good time than planning any form of structured career. Eventually, I totally lost the joy of playing. I hadn't progressed, (zero practice, etc) mainly because I was lazy, & the work I was doing was almost always lowest tier crap. By the early 80's, the game was changing too. Studios no longer needed me, drum machines were cheaper & more interesting, & the remaining acoustic drum work was snapped up by those much better than me.

In the last few months of my playing for a living, I met the dream girl who went on to be my wife. She soon got sick of coming to gigs & sessions, & I got sick of the job. At the same time, I got badly crapped on by a couple of guys I trusted. That was enough, I baled, & didn't think of drums for another 20 years. I went on to build a relatively successful career outside of music.

5 years ago, I suffered some dramatic health events. As a result of surviving those, I changed my life focus completely. I took up playing drums again (mainly because the prognosis strongly suggested I only had a short time of playing drums left in me), & I haven't looked back since. I've scaled back my "day job" to give me more time to devote to working with Guru Drumworks & playing with my band, & I've taken quite a financial hit in the process, but I've never been happier.

My early brush with pro drumming placed the dream into perspective, my health challenges placed my life into perspective, & now I just take each day as a gift.

I hope you can take a couple of snippets of value from this.

Andy.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
He also divorced several times.
Negative...he divorced only once,from the gold digging second wife.His first wife of 29 years, died of cancer,and he was completely devoted to her.He is currently married to his third wife.

Steve B
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
But I also build drums, I build furniture, I can repair all my vehicles all the way to rebuilding the engines if that is what is needed. I can read and estimate blueprints, and can do basically every step required to build a house, I can paint vehicles with good results, I can weld, I can navigate a sportbike around a track, and keep a plane in the air if I am ever in that position. The list goes on and on,...
This brings up another aspect of life... being able to do more than one thing. People who have a career - music or otherwise - should have something else they like to do or can do in life. It doesn't mean juggling two careers, it simply means being able to do the things you like to the degree you are able.

For aspiring/casual musicians with a non-music-related day job or career, it's important to keep the music as a pleasurable activity to feed the soul. It really doesn't matter to what level is achieved, it just needs to be there. If calling it a hobby makes it seem somehow insignificant, then call it an avocation. And the same goes for the majority of musicians who are able to make a living with their music. They need something else in their life, or they can become nuerotic. In fact, many musicians already do something that isn't performing or creating - they teach. They may not regard it as doing something other than playing, but they are supplementing their life - and income - with something besides actually playing.

My story includes 14 years at a large company while I was also recording and touring with Al. I was lucky enough to have a company that allowed me to take off for months at a time, and I was smart enough to balance that with my music, and treat both with equal importance and effort. I learned a lot and can take that experience to another corporation if I want or need to. I admit that it was a fortunate situation that probably wouldn't repeat itself in today's bsuiness and economic climate, but I was happy having both careers, and never felt ashamed about my 'day job'.

Bermuda
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Hey man, cheer up! You're in 3 bands now ... and two more want you. You may indeed not have the chops of Terry Bozzio (how many do?) ... but I'm sure you don't "suck", either. Whatever you do, there are usually gonna be people "better" than you ... and people "worse" ... that's just life.​
As far as the day job ... I quit my "money" gig, after 11 years of sheer hell, and found a gig, for half the pay ... but I was a whole lot happier. Never missed a meal, always had a roof over my head. My needs are pretty simple.​
I lost "almost everything I owned", back around 1990. And it was good. I found out I could bet by quite well, with next to nothing. I found out I was responsible for my own happiness. Me, and me alone. I found I could get up in the morning, and say "it's a beautiful day" ... or I could say ... "today sucks" ... the day remained the same ... my perception of it ... was in my court.​
 

GRG

Junior Member
I'm 46, two music performance degrees from excellent schools of music, and I have a successful career in public service totally unrelated to music. But on weekends WE ROCK! It's actually a great balance to have a day job. Don't view the day gig a enslavement; view it as freeing so you can do the other things you want to do. Most importantly, it's been very healthy for my daughter to see her father going to work every day, but also having an outlet that he loves.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
Hey guys,

I appreciate all the encouraging comments. I more or less came to terms with the fact that I will never play for a living a while ago. I think that part that gets to me is the fact that I hate my job. And most people hate me for my job. I work at the DMV. Yes I know I suck. I get told this by customers using colorful adjectives everyday. :) I wish my job was more flexible so that I could play more. I have had the opportunity to play with casino level bands, but I need to be able to take off work for a few day at a time, and that's just not an option. Monday thru Friday, 8 -5. Period. The DMV has part time positions, but they all work 34, 36 hours a week. The state just calls them part time to save money on benefits. And you don't have a fixed schedule. You must be available 8-5, Monday thru Friday. With the unemployment rate so high, it's kind of scary to quit a stable job with benefits and retirement and look for some kind of part time work. We could live on what my wife makes, it would be tight, but we could do it. I am just leary of giving up my retirement and medical benefits. I just hate the fact that I have to spend most of my waking hours in a job I don't like, being told how much people don't like me for it, and my passion has to be relagated to a hobby on the weekends. I know I'm just whining, but I thought you guys might be more understanding than my wife. :)
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
When we turn 40,it seems there is something in our genes that makes us question,is this all there is.What is the meaning of life?

I don't mean to wax philisophic here,but it sure does seem a lot of us face this crisis during our lifetime.The important part is...how do we deal with it?

It was the same for me.I questioned what I was doing,and if I wanted to stay in my present career.All my life prior to that.I wanted to be a cop,or a drummer.

In the 70's,I was in a great band,that was moderately successful,and there was a shot at a recording contract.Long story made short...it didn't happen.Marrage,a child,and life happened,and my second career choice kicked in.

I was very good at doing what I did,and loved going to work,but there was still something missing.I was in a second failing marrage,and then,right before my 40 th birthday ..the death of a stepson,really hit hard.I was devestated,and really rexamined my life.

I was a few steps away from resigning,and being in a band again with a life long friend,who was a very talented singer/songwriter.The funny thing was is he was in the same exact situation I was.

Although I thing we had the goods on all fronts,reason prevailed,and we both decided to remain in our respective careers,and retire with our pensions,and benefits intact.We were also both first responders on 9/11,me being NYPD,and my friend being a FDNY lieutenant

I guess the point is,you have to look at the things in life that really make sense,like your job,health benefits,pension,ect..because they allow you to take advantage of the things in life that really give you happiness.You also have a responsibility to your spouse,and family.and putting them in financial jeopardy,is not responsible.

The Universe has a plan for all of us,which is why,my buddy and I stayed the course,and remained in our careers,and were able to put our kids through college.His son is now a teacher,and my daughter is a lawyer.There is a bigger picture here...you just have to take the time to see it.Be grateful for what you have,and be thankful that even the crappy job you have,lets you still play drums,and be a hero to your family.

Steve B
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Play the lottery. Every day you will have something to look forward to that may deliver you from the hell that must be working for the DMV. Meanwhile, you have 2 full days out of 7 days a week where you can get your groove on, and you can rest assured that you can live comfortably. Plus you have Friday nights too. OK so you're not making a living from music. What's more important, making a living from the drums or getting enjoyment from the drums?
The only thing preventing the of enjoyment of things is your attitude.

You don't have it as bad as you think, things can always get worse.
If an underprivileged person who had nothing....heard you lamenting, they would love to trade places. Perspective is a wonderful thing. Perhaps you need a gratitude list to make you realize that you are not doing so bad after all, George Bailey.

Pretend you cheated death, lost everything, but by some miracle you get to have your old life back. You'd live it with newly found verve. You would look at things very differently. Your biggest issue is your mental state. Other than that, you're not doing so bad. A simple thing like an attitude adjustment can be the difference between enjoying what you have.....and cursing what you have.

That's a good thing.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'm fighting similar issues, too. After building a career in IT right out of high-school, I now feel as you say "empty" at the end of the day. I think I would have been okay, but after putting so much of myself into that and realizing that it's not only not understood, but really not appreciated by the people I was helping... Then, I got laid off after nearly 10 years of putting more of myself than I should have into the job, and this was my second lay off. With my skill set, it wasn't hard to get another job, but I feel like I lost all that work and that part of my life was really not for much.

On the other hand, my band is really getting noticed more and more now, people are asking us to play more frequently and steadily and I think there's a chance we might be able to hit the road. I don't think we'd make much money, if not lose money, but at the end of a song, when I hear people clap and holler with genuine appreciation, that feeling sure beats anything I get out of "workin for the man". Like you, I don't think I can really enjoy doing my day job any more. I can do it, but it's not really getting me anything but stress and money to live so I can go back to work the next day. I won't get rich, and I'm not willing to dedicate myself to a company again only to be dropped when the numbers on a balance sheet in accounting say the cash flow would look better this way.

Anyway, I'm not sure what I want either. So I feel your frustration. In my case it would be a huge gamble that I don't think I can really make. I'll never give up music, and I'd love if it worked out, but that's pretty tough. I'm thinking a bit these days about trying to change my "day job" to some other creative outlet that I can get paid for and not hate doing all day... Even this feels daunting, though. I could just do my job and go home to my drums but then if we ever got the chance to do something bigger with music, I'd be dropping my "career"!

*Sigh*
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Life has to be a balance. You can't expect to be happy and not have to work hard to earn it. Those people clapping and smiling means SO much more to me because all week I overcame frustration, physical discomfort, pain, and just plain hard work to afford myself the opportunity to own a modest house. If I played for a living...I don't think I want that anymore. Too much of a good thing...is not a good thing for me.

I love chocolate. Do I want to eat it everyday? No. When I do eat it, I do enjoy it. I'd like to keep it that way.
Good times are that much better when they are deserved.
In fact, I think to play really great music...you can't be too satisfied inside.

"Great art is born from great pain"

One of my favorite quotes.

By no less than...Gomez Addams from the Addams Family TV show lol.
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Although I thing we had the goods on all fronts,reason prevailed,and we both decided to remain in our respective careers,and retire with our pensions,and benefits intact.We were also both first responders on 9/11,me being NYPD,and my friend being a FDNY lieutenant

I guess the point is,you have to look at the things in life that really make sense,like your job,health benefits,pension,ect..because they allow you to take advantage of the things in life that really give you happiness.You also have a responsibility to your spouse,and family.and putting them in financial jeopardy,is not responsible.

The Universe has a plan for all of us,which is why,my buddy and I stayed the course,and remained in our careers,and were able to put our kids through college.His son is now a teacher,and my daughter is a lawyer.There is a bigger picture here...you just have to take the time to see it.Be grateful for what you have,and be thankful that even the crappy job you have,lets you still play drums,and be a hero to your family.

Steve B
Nice way of putting things Steve. I can't imagine responding to the 9/11 tragedy like you did (thanks from many of us...). Live and drum each day like it's your last. On a lighter note, 9/11 did produce one of McCarntey's weakest tunes "Freedom". I can't explain that one. Lol
 

Hercules

Senior Member
I know I'm just whining, but I thought you guys might be more understanding than my wife. :)
Man, don't whine to your Mrs - that's selfish - treat her special like she deserves.

So here's the hard reality:
- if the job gives you enough benefits that you don't want to lose then grin and bear it
- if the job benefits aren't good enough then stick the job and put up with the consequences

Lots of us hate our jobs. The glass isn't half full - the top half is full of air and you need that too. Now where's that cranky face icon when you need it......
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Day jobs and age are things I discuss in my clinic.

First, 40 is not old. 50 is not old. 60 really isn't old. Take a look at the most revered drummers around - they're not in their 20s or 30s or 40s. I'm talking guys like Vinnie, Bozzio, Gadd, Keltner, etc. the youngest of which is 55 or 56 (Vinnie.) I understand that you're concerned about getting to 40 and not making a professional splash yet, but it's certainly not 'over' for you.

Second, a career or day job should make playing more joyous. Drumming and making music should be a release from the 9-to-5 thing, and you should look forward to that, whether it's once a week or once a month. Be glad that you have a steady income that allows you to have the equipment you want and not worry too much about head and stick expenses.

Third, networking with other players isn't really a special skill. It's often very passive, sometimes your name & email scribbled on a napkin at the local jam. I've done a ton of gigs as a result of hanging out at the Thursday night blues jam. Even if your local jam seems goofy, remember that there are often working players there who might be impressed with your playing.

Fourth, treat jams and gigs like auditions. Be on your best behavior and play appropriately as if people are watching. Because, they are. Other players assess what you do and file it away in their minds for future reference. Even other drummers need to know you can play, in case they need to find a sub now and then. So don't treat a jam as a place to show-off or cut loose. Show others that you have workable, real-world approach to playing (assuming you do!)

Fifth, you may indeed be going through a mid-life crisis, but try not to let it get the best of you. A more objective perspective on what you do have will do wonders for your outlook.

Bermuda
This is great. Thanks, Bermuda!
 

mxo721

Senior Member
also, notice how..maybe 25 years ago, the thought of bands touring at any age past 28-30 was unheard of, now it seems perfectly normal. most of the bands at this years Johnny Cash festival are in their 40's-50's X was the headliner. I've seen Blue Oyster Cult, Elvis Costello, and quite a few more bands in the last few years., and oh yeah, Rolling Stones, I think keith is 83 this year.
 
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