- Frankie Regalia
Day jobs are something that the vast majority of us will have to do. The key is: find a day job you don't hate. This is even more important, in my opinion, in finding one that is super flexible. If you hate your day job your mental health is going to take a dive every time you go to work. That being said, finding something that is flexible is incredibly helpful. You will need to do a self-tape last minute, or go to an audition in the middle of the day. You might need to take weeks off at a time to be in a production. Most of the most flexible jobs are 0-hour contracts, but you lose a lot of workplace protections like guaranteed hours and PTO.
Don't spend all your time at your day job. That is obviously easier said than done, especially if you live somewhere like London. The cost of living is so high and you'll inevitably have to take more time off than other people due to your creative work. Nevertheless, if you are working constantly to earn money just to live and getting no free time that isn't taken up by creative work you will burn out. The key is finding enough of a balance.
It might seem tempting to take a managerial role because you earn more, but if you become a manager you will be expected to work more. This happens quite a lot to freelance creatives because, inevitably, to be a freelancer you need to be smart and organized, which day job employers love. So, they will offer you a manager role which pays more, but then you end up working so many hours that your creative work falls to the side. It will happen slowly so that at some point you realize you haven't gone to an audition in months. That is fine if you find a bigger passion in your day job and are moving away from creative work on purpose, but it is more nefarious if this is not the case.
Here's a list of day jobs I've had or people I know have had:
pros: very flexible, works mainly evenings and weekends which frees up the day time, usually easy to swap shifts last minute, every pub ever is always looking for more staff
cons: less time for social events because you work evenings and weekends, dealing with drunk people is exhausting, when the shift is bad its really bad
- tour guide
pros: utilizing some acting skills, get to socialize and meet new people, get a bit of exercise, usually short shifts
cons: probably less regular and only a couple days a week, living for the tips, drains the social battery
- front of house at a theatre
pros: you're working in a theatre, getting to watch productions sometimes, fairly flexible
cons: theatre patrons are the worst people ever, lots of getting yelled at, entirely evenings and weekends
- box office assistant
pros: very regular work and you can usually get part-time/full-time contracts, you get to sit down the entire time, working in a theatre
cons: lots of face-to-face customer service and rude customers, less flexibility with scheduling, you're handling money and personal data which can be stressful if you mess up
- teaching assistant
pros: flexible, daytime hours so more time to socialize, working with children.
cons: working with children, early hours, exhausting, a front row to the failings of the education system
pros: daytime hours, flexible, lots of coffee available, you look cool
cons: early hours, coffee snobs and annoying orders, inevitable coffee addiction
pros: remote and flexible, uses writing skills, regular work
cons: will require perfect grammar and attention to detail, rewrites all the time, often writing the same information 5 different ways about the most boring topics
- waiting tables
pros: flexible, goes by fast, sometimes tips
cons: exhausting, getting yelled at by the customer and the kitchen about the same order, will make you hate that restaurant
As you can see, there is no perfect day job. Think about the skills you have and what you like doing, and go for a day job that checks those boxes.