What’s Awesome About Your Day Job?

Take this as an invitation to bring forth your creativity one step at a time.

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Many of you know that I have a day job that requires a lot of attention. While I decline most meetings that don’t have an agenda and turn most of my 1:1s into a walking phone call, I still feel like a professional meeting attendee. 

To cope with the meeting fatigue, I decided to turn this constraint into an opportunity by asking myself: What’s awesome about my day job?

Here’s a shortlist that came to mind: 

  • Financial freedom to pursue any creative project that interests me

  • Platform to share my idea with domain experts on virtually any topic

  • Routine work to spare my energy and nurture my writing sprints

  • Autonomy to work my hours as long as the job is well done 

My day job empowers me to take on creative projects that would otherwise be deemed too risky. If I had to make a living out of writing, I would not write about my vulnerable self 🔒, experiment with new styles, or chase my interest because the fear of disappointing my paying subscribers would be too paralyzing. Since I cannot control how others react to my piece, I make a conscious choice to write for myself and trust that this conviction would attract like-minded people into my life.

At first, I thought I was the only one who secretly loves creating, coaching, and having fun with my day job. Then I found that many of my coaching clients felt the same. They told me that it’s way easier to ease into creative flow when they have a fun day job that covers the basic needs. 

In theory, Maslow even inverted the Hierarchy of Needs because he found self-actualization to drive most creative work. In practice, literary Nobel Prizewinner Naguib Mahfouz worked as a civil servant his entire life. The New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande has not quit his career as a surgeon and professor. Elizabeth Gilbert kept her full-time job for seven years until Eat Pray Love took on a life on its own.

Now that we have talked about all the merits of keeping your day job, let me share a few excuses that have stopped me from creating for four years: 

  1. “I don’t have enough time.” The reality is that you are prioritizing all the time. Working on your day job, playing with your passion projects, and spending time with your family is all one life. Most companies don’t pay you to work from 9 to 5. You are paid to deliver impact. Meetings end early? Get some words down. It is more fulfilling to work on things that bring the most joy to each moment, and that’s the secret behind my daily writing project.

  2. “I don’t know what to create.” Start from your interest. What do you do when you are on vacation? What naturally appeals to you? Once you have a list of ideas to explore, ask yourself: What would you create if you weren’t afraid?  

  3. “I’m afraid of burnout.” Start from establishing a loving boundary with yourself and communicate how much energy and time you are willing to offer 🔒. You can also check out the tips and tricks on managing expectations/burnout in Chapter 2 of Model Breakers.

When I stopped using those excuses and started a daily writing project, my ideas began to flow. I  wrote down my thoughts and clarified my desire along the way. I rewrote my story in a whole new voice, which would empower my strengths and push my limits. I am now working on something I truly care about and the LivingOS Fellowship is just a product of my new way of living. 

Take this as an invitation to bring forth your creativity one step at a time.


Listen to the latest conversations with Jenny Kim and Christina Qi (Spotify | Anchor).

Read my new book Model Breakers (the 99c Kindle offer is ending in two days) or Steph Smith’s awesome playbook on creating high-quality content online.

Support the work I’m doing by buying me a coffee.

Enjoy life. I’m heading to Hawaii next week and will be taking a week or two off.

See you in June!

Charlene

This piece is written over meeting breaks and lazy hours. I hope this helps show that creativity is a choice for you too.

Special thanks to John Lanza, Abe Winter, Michael Jones, Dan Hunt, Steven Ovadia, Joel Christiansen for providing feedback on early drafts.