I have a love-hate relationship with my day job. In all honesty, I’m pretty lucky. I’m a writer who gets to write all day for work. Now, the kind of writing I prefer to do isn’t exactly talking about HVAC manufacturers and oil rigs, so it’s not perfect. But it could be much worse.
But even my last job, an administrative position, was a gift. I saw that one, and sometimes this one, as an adversary to my dream job. But that really isn’t true.
No matter how unrelated your day job might seem to your dream job, it also fuels what you love. You should appreciate your day job, even if you don’t like it.
Here are 5 ways your day job is actually fueling your dream job.
1. It helps you meet and be around real people, not superheroes.
I fantasize about chilling backstage with other well-known speakers and authors before it’s my turn to go on stage and wow the audience. Maybe someday that will happen. That’d be amazing. But until it does, my day job gives me a fantastic opportunity.
Every day, I get to interact with real people. Not famous authors, well-known musicians, or incredible artists. Just real people. The kind of people I write for. I have no intention of writing a book to help successful people become more successful. I want to help people like me chase their dreams. So it would probably help if I interact with people like me on a daily basis. My day job allows me to do that.
Even if you have different dreams than me, you need to interact with regular down to earth people because they are most likely the kind of people you want as your customers or fans. And if you don’t know your customers, you won’t be able to serve them.
2. It gives you the freedom to reject bad opportunities.
Maybe you want to be a freelance writer or own your own business in some capacity. When you fly solo without the safety net of a consistent paycheck, you become a slave to the next opportunity. It doesn’t matter if the opportunity is good or terrible. You have to take it because you have to put food on the table.
Your day job gives you the freedom to say no to bad deals. Because your next meal doesn’t depend on it, you can be picky with the clients and customers you say yes to.
3. It lets you buy the tools you need to do what you love.
When you’re on your own, you have to fund your own dreams. Your day job, though, is like a patron that’s invested in your goals. When you have a new idea, you have a steady paycheck that can help you buy the equipment, tools, or courses you need to make it happen.
4. It enables you to do what you love for free… yes, that’s a benefit.
Many people who start getting paid to do what they love begin to love it less. It’s no longer just art for them. Now it requires a certain level of excellence.
They don’t get to experiment and see what does and doesn’t work. They don’t get to change directions just because they feel like it. They don’t get to take a break when life gets crazy. They no longer do what they do because they love it. Now they do it because it puts food on the table. It’s not always as much that way.
5. It’s a constant reminder of what the rest of your life could be if you don’t hustle.
We should be thankful for our day jobs (I really wrote this piece for myself… I’m simply inviting you into the message too, if it’s something you need to hear). But just because I’m thankful for it doesn’t mean it’s where I want to be for the rest of my life.
Every day, my job is a constant reminder of what the rest of my life could look like if I don’t keep hustling. If I don’t get up every morning at 5:30am and write for an hour, I will have to keep writing for homebuilders and lawyers for the rest of my life.
I’m thankful for my day job because it’s funding my dreams. But it’s also fueling my ambition to hopefully leave one day and do what I love. Every day I clock in is another day I am reminded of what I don’t want the next 40 years of my life to look like.