How to deal with a day job?

choki

Senior Member
As a drummer approaching 40 with a day job, there are a few things in the original post that jumped out at me.

First, you need to find a new job. Even if it's not related to music, you need to find something that puts you in a positive mindset, and perhaps frees up a few hours of your day, perhaps with a shorter commute (I know that can be hard in LA). If you're depressed from the job, it only intensifies the fact that you'd rather be doing something else, and makes any doubts about your worth as a musician snowball and become even greater.

Second, you keep talking about how you are not good enough. I don't know if you just have low self esteem and play just fine, or you really need a lot of work to do. Either way, even with a day job, you can always make time to practice. I spend my morning before work at the practice pad. I can't play the full kit at 5am without waking up my wife, but I get some work in. When I go out on gigs, my hands feel good, and I'm not struggling to "get back into it", especially if it's a couple weeks between shows. You can work on a pad during lunch, go out to a park or something and sit outside and practice. If you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to make it work. I know everybody's situation is different, but it's something worth thinking about.

Lastly, if you're really serious about music for a living, you may think about moving. Living somewhere with a lower cost of living might make it easier to work part time and get by with the income from gigs. There are plenty of places that have a lot of work for musicians outside of LA, NY, or other big cities.

I've been close several times to making a living and situations never seem to go the way I've hoped. I've been on the big tour buses and played with new artists signed on major labels, and it never quite gets to the level it needs to that would allow me to quit the day job. Luckily, my bosses think it's great that I play music, and even come out to my gigs. They are also very flexible with my schedule, and never deny me a day off if I have some out of town gigs. This helps me balance everything, and not give up. I have a lot of friends I went to college with that are playing for big names and making a good living. This doesn't make me feel like I'm left behind, it just lets me know that if they can do it, so can I. The trick is making the day job work for you, and getting what you need to pursue your playing.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Life is one big disappointment until you achieve the sweet release of death.
That wouldn't be so bad, I always thought it would be a series of disappointments!

I guess I'm doing something wrong though, life's been great for me on all levels. My only regrets are minor... passing up a good deal on a kit, not buying Apple stock at $75, etc.

Bermuda
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I believe your sentiment is not rare DD.

Making money in the music industry I see does not seem desirable...but neither does not playing music with the majority of my time and effort...which you cant do and hope to ever retire(at least, most wont be able to).

A step further...I dont see this as unique to the music industry.

Unfortunatly, i dont see a pattern that could replace how things are done. For its faults, capitalisim in its regulated form appears to have greatly reduced pain and suffering for mankind....and i dont see anything replacing it soon...or deserving to, given mans selfishness.

I believe our biggest mistake is to buy into an idea that everyone can be sucessful in a rarified resource environment without the emotion of fear being mitigated in some way. Once we stop thinking the carrot of "success" is so golden, then we can stop accepting the stick of needing a jobs security to deal with failure.

Drop the idea of sucess and failure and you are left with what matters...the joy of living your day.

Would be great if i could practice(er...implement...should remeber whom Im speaking to) that bit of preaching.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I believe our biggest mistake is to buy into an idea that everyone can be sucessful in a rarified resource environment without the emotion of fear being mitigated in some way. Once we stop thinking the carrot of "success" is so golden, then we can stop accepting the stick of needing a jobs security to deal with failure.

Drop the idea of sucess and failure and you are left with what matters...the joy of living your day.

Would be great if i could practice(er...implement...should remeber whom Im speaking to) that bit of preaching.
Well said, Otto. I have that line "anyone can achieve their dreams if they try hard enough!". It's a false dream because there's only so much room at the top, and it's a dream that's embittered many people once they find out too late that they were sold a pup.

Life is a pyramid, with a tiny number of people at the top standing on the shoulders of those below.

If anyone could do it, they would. Simple fact is that luck plays a major part once the basics of learning, effort, networking and talent have been ticked off.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Well said, Otto. I have that line "anyone can achieve their dreams if they try hard enough!". It's a false dream because there's only so much room at the top, and it's a dream that's embittered many people once they find out too late that they were sold a pup.

Life is a pyramid, with a tiny number of people at the top standing on the shoulders of those below.

If anyone could do it, they would. Simple fact is that luck plays a major part once the basics of learning, effort, networking and talent have been ticked off.
I agree with all of this. I was glad to have come to this realization fairly early. I only spent about 5 years really chasing the rock star dream. Toward the end of those 5 years, I was playing in a band that had some notoriety and did some touring with other bands that were bigger, and in that time, I saw "the biz" side to this whole rock thing and I really didn't care for it (of course, if records were flying off the shelves and I had an island in the Bahamas, I might feel different).

The reality is that I'm happy to work a day job that frees me up to play whatever I want and with whoever I want (or whoever will have me!). I don't need to worry about growing bitter about opportunities lost, power struggles, or money issues. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to approach drumming with the youthful enthusiasm I had as a youth until I'm not youthful enough to breathe anymore.

Gotta like that!
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I don't mind going to work full-time. It's just all that horrible traffic I have to drive in to get to that job that I can't stand. The less driving I have to do, the happier I am. I wish I could afford to live closer to work, but then I'll lose that job somehow and live far away from the next job probably. It's a vicious cycle. At least I chose a profession that isn't completely mindless and intolerable, but of course I'd prefer drumming for a living. Twenty years ago I bought into this whole American Dream BS that they shoved down our throats as we were growing up. I can honestly say that I have nothing to show for all that hard work. Not a damn thing, really. I complained a lot more before I got married and then divorced 6 years later. It takes too much energy now to be all bitter and depressed about crap I have no control over, like other people. I still enjoy life regardless, but one has to make the effort. It's too easy to just let life pass you by.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
....The reality is that I'm happy to work a day job that frees me up to play whatever I want and with whoever I want (or whoever will have me!). I don't need to worry about growing bitter about opportunities lost, power struggles, or money issues. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to approach drumming with the youthful enthusiasm I had as a youth until I'm not youthful enough to breathe anymore.Gotta like that!
+1. I actually played and taught for for a living for 6 years then I realized I'd be happier not doing it for a living. 20+ years later - still delighted I made the switch and wouldn't wish to go back.
 

drummerman42

Senior Member
Seems, as if we all go through this, because at times I feel the same way too. How I cope with this situation is, to tell when asked, what my job is, I simply tell them that, I'm a musician! I forget about my day job. To me that means nothing except as a way to pay the bills! I don't let that job define me! I'm defined by music and my family! Once I leave my job, I surround myself with stuff that makes me, me! Playing makes me feel better even after a rough day at 'work'! But I never let that day job define ME!!!
Good luck, and always remember, it always turns out the way you want it to be, as long as you don't give up!
 

drumer12b

Member
I can definitely relate to your feelings DD. I'm currently going thru something similiar myself only, my job doesn't bother me as much as yours does. Actually, I got very lucky and thank God everyday that I have it, especially nowadays. I found myself starting as a clerk in the engineering field. I was taught CAD and got into computer drafting, which over the years, then lead into being a CAD designer. My salary has continued to expand as my experience has. I've always had great benefits as well. Now, I make GREAT money and I hope I can keep it going. (side note, my wife has always had good healthcare with her job too, so it has always worked out well for my wife and I, and now our kids) My job has always helped me with affording my home to practice in and affording anything I may have needed with my gear or studio time or whatever the case was......

Instead, my feelings are more of a mental issue that are probably related to MY "mid-life-crisis" and lack of self confidence. Funny thing though, how it seems recently here, I've been reading threads similiar to the one I originally posted about a month ago. Maybe it's just something in the water that all of us are drinking?? I guess just don't turn 40 anyone!! haha.... Anyways, that was an earlier thread, so I won't repeat myself!!

I'm 44 and have been playing for 30 years. As much as I have always wanted to make it famous in a band since I first started to play, deep in the back of my mind I also kinda knew that the smart thing to do is to have a back up plan. Although, maybe THAT was my downfall as to "why" I never made it, but in the end, I still think it was probably the right move. Read a lot of these posts and you'll see that having a steady income is much better then living day to day. We ALL want to be a great player and maybe even famous, but most of that comes with LUCK. Being at the right place at the right time. Obviuosly, hard work and practicing is the core, but again, read other posts and watch YouTube. Sometimes that STILL doesn't help. Watch tv. I think I stink but sometimes, there are people that do get some where that literally, aren't even that good. But they knew someone and/or were at the right place at the right time, ya know? It's either meant to be, or it isn't and all of us just have to deal with the outcome. I try to look back at all of my accomplishments and usually, that's what gets me back into having a positive approach again. Just right now for myself, it's been VERY tuff....

Last, you mentioned you're in three bands and have two more interested in yourself. That's an awesome situation dude. That means you are a lot better of a player than you give yourself credit for, period. That should give you all of the confidence in the world, man.... I bet you'd be, yet ANOTHER drummer whose video I'd watch, and think to myself "WTF am I doing wrong? Where did I lose direction? Arrrggggh!!".... As I've said in other recent threads, I'm SO glad I found this place and these people. They've all been nothing less then supportive and helpful!! So I hope that you really think about what is being said by a lot of these talented and experienced players..... I wish you luck....
 

drummingman

Gold Member
My advice is to not give up on your dream no matter how old you are (and no matter how old you get). Your not to old to tour and sleep in a van (you are never to old to do this).

Do all that you can to get past the feeling that your not good enough. I would dare say that most musicians feel this way no matter how good they are.

Ignore the naysayers that tell you to "grow up" and to live a "normal" life. People that are saying that to you truly don't understand where you are coming from.

With God's help you can reach any goals that you set for yourself (don't believe those who tell you you can't for any reason). JUST NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

Most of us here have dreamed of being a full time musician. Some of us want to be rock stars, and some of us would be happy giving lessons and gigging on the weekends, as long as we were able to pay the bills. I'm about to turn 40 in a little over a month and I have come to the conclusion that my dream is dead. I don't have any asperations to become a rock star, but I always wanted to play for a living. I've just never been good enough. 30 years of practicing and I still suck. I'm probably good enough now that I could play with a small touring band, I'm just too old to sleep in a van with a buch of kids. I just don't know how to resign myself to the fact that I'm going to have to come into this soul sucking day job for the rest of my life. I know I should be grateful that I have a job. I know I should be grateful that I get to play as much as I do, being as bad as I am. To me, coming to work is a black cloud that hangs over my whole life. I find myself unable to enjoy myself when I am off work because the though of going back to my job almost makes me ill. It's not that bad of a job. I shove papers around my desk for the government. I could be digging ditches or flipping burgers. The "Occupy" people around the world are protesting because they don't have what I have. I talked to my pastor about it, and he said it's because I'm an artist. Punching a time clock and doing useless busy work just leaves me feeling empy. I get angry when I think about how much time I spend at work. Between the commute, and lunch, it's 11 hours a day. That's 11 hours a day that have nothing to do with my life and I will never get back. I'm in three bands right now and a fourth and fifth want me to join. I just don't have time and it makes me sick that I have to give up what I love just to pay the bills. I need to quit one of the bands I'm already in so I can see my wife occasionally. But, I don't want to be lying on my death bed and think about how I gave up what drumming oportunities I had in this short life. I feel like a loser because I can't "grow up" and be content going to work and living a "normal" life. I've thought about quiting my job and trying to teach and play for a living, but I just don't think I'm good enough. On top of my playing deficiencies, I'm pretty introverted. The whole social, networking part of it would be hard for me. It just feels to irresponsible. I just don't know how to cope with the fact that I don't have any hopes or dreams anymore. What do I do now?
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
I feel for you. Midlife crisis siturations suck. You're a vibrant tween or twentysomething, full of life, the world's out there for the taking, for your enjoyment. Time flies. All of a sudden you wake up and you're middle aged, gray hair, not as skinny as you once were, society places demands on "having a job and being a productive member of society", got bills to pay, maybe a wife, coupla kids, maybe a mortgage....

But you're a DRUMMER, man!!! Of all the instruments to choose from, you chose the coolest, most difficult instrument there is! By far the Coolest!!!

Cheer up, brother! God put you on this planet for a reason.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
I've had similar thoughts.
A famous athlete once told me that he decided to do sports because he knew no matter what he chose to do in life, it would be difficult. So he figured he might as well chase his dream. And he went through some terrible trials, including getting paralyzed doing the sport he loves. He went on to set the world record in the Ironman triathlon (in the disabled class).
I think about this a lot. My "secure" day job is probably just as insecure and perilous and uncertain as a music career would have been. And I am broke anyhow, since I am forced to live in a high cost of living area.
So if I am going to be exhausted, broke, and unsure about my financial future I might as well do what I love. But I persist with this "walking dead" corporate zombie life just so I can do fun stuff a few hours a week.
Joseph Campbell said "follow your bliss"-- but I always got so much family pressure to go out and be a productive corporate worker. I will be 45 this year and not feeling very fulfilled at all.
My parents never, ever gave me the option of living at home and pursuing music. That was about equivalent to saying I wanted to sit around and drink beer (to them).
 

drummingman

Gold Member
If a person is a follower of Jesus God does make sure all the bills get paid and the believers family is taken care of in every way. I can attest to this in my own life. Does that mean that if a person follows God that their not going to have any problems? Of course not. What it means is that God will get you through any problem you have and that the problem will not last forever. "Everything works for the good of those who love the Lord".

Sure. When he starts paying the bills, the mortgage and feeding and clothing the kids, perhaps. Until then, he's not much help at all is he?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
If a person is a follower of Jesus God does make sure all the bills get paid and the believers family is taken care of in every way. I can attest to this in my own life. Does that mean that if a person follows God that their not going to have any problems? Of course not. What it means is that God will get you through any problem you have and that the problem will not last forever. "Everything works for the good of those who love the Lord".
I get that mate, but how do you actually achieve that whilst scrounging it in the back of the van, refusing to work because it'll impede on you following your dream?

Are you telling me god's gonna fork out the coin? Or is it just possible you may have to forsake something in order to be accountable to your family and/or financial obligations?

It's a nice theory and I don't disagree point blank, but it sure leaves a lot of questions unanswered, a lot of lose ends.....and sure relies on god going above and beyond the call of duty don't you think? But hey, if you figure out a way of getting god to come to the party and cough up the cash whilst I lay about in my van choosing not to work because I'm waiting to "break the big time", be sure to let me know........I'm all ears.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
Where there is a will there is a way brother.

I get that mate, but how do you actually achieve that whilst scrounging it in the back of the van, refusing to work because it'll impede on you following your dream?

Are you telling me god's gonna fork out the coin? Or is it just possible you may have to forsake something in order to be accountable to your family and/or financial obligations?

It's a nice theory and I don't disagree point blank, but it sure leaves a lot of questions unanswered, a lot of lose ends.....and sure relies on god going above and beyond the call of duty don't you think? But hey, if you figure out a way of getting god to come to the party and cough up the cash whilst I lay about in my van choosing not to work because I'm waiting to "break the big time", be sure to let me know........I'm all ears.
 

Zickos

Gold Member
A wise man once said "If you do a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life". Having said that, unless you are a professional musician, your day job is you key to being able to play drums or even owning drums. If you hate your job, find one you like or at least don't hate as much (I know, easier said than done). As my late mother-in-law used to say, "First we work, then we play".

Good luck and keep on drumming.
 

Ami

Senior Member
This doesn't make me feel like I'm left behind, it just lets me know that if they can do it, so can I.
Dude, I think I saw you playing with Mingo Fishtrap a few times in Denton... in '96 -99'. You were already great back then, you can definitely do it - very well! (and it's great to see you here)
:)
 
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