Most of us creative types have to hold down a day job (or two) to support ourselves while we wait for our careers to be able to support us. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, everyone pretty much has to do it.
But even though it’s something that most people do, finding a day job can seem like an impossible task. I’ve held dozens of day jobs over the years. Some have worked out and some I’ve left almost right after I started. So I thought I’d share with you some of my ideas for day jobs in case any of you are out of work right now (like I was last month).
First of all, I know a ton of people who work in the restaurant industry as waiters, hosts, or bartenders. I know that these can be really great and flexible day jobs. I don’t know much about it because I’ve never worked in the restaurant industry (and it seems like if you want to, you have to come in to it already having experience). So if any of you have experience in these types of jobs and would like to share the pros and cons, please do so in the comments!
Night jobs can be really great for actors who mainly focus on film and tv work. You have your days free for auditions and you work a graveyard shift. I know people who work graveyard shift jobs in various security type positions (gate people at gated communities, night security at a store or bank). The only down side is many networking events are in the evenings and you will be working then. Also, your sleep schedule can get a little crazy.
My last day job was working telesales for a theater company. This is really a great day job. They expect creative types to be working these jobs so if you need time off for an audition or meeting they are usually pretty flexible. Also, my last job has commission as well, so there is a chance to make some really good money. And I got complimentary tickets to almost any show I wanted! The only reason I’m not there anymore is because the theater company I worked for decided to get rid of all the telesales department. I’m going to start back there part time in the box office, but that isn’t a commission job. But it’s still flexible for auditions.
Working from home is another great option for creatives. I know several people who work doing transcription from home. All you need is a computer and usually a transcription pedal (you can buy one online pretty cheaply). I tried doing this, but I don’t type fast enough while transcribing to make enough money. But if you are a fast typist, I highly recommend checking out transcription work. You can also work at home as a virtual assistant. There are tons of companies that hire virtual assistants so you don’t have to always be looking for your own work. Most of these jobs require you to have a PC (and I personally have a Mac), but it’s another great option for those who need to sometimes work unusual hours.
When I’m looking for a new day job, I tend to look on craigslist and entertainmentcareers.net the most. They always have job listings added every day. But just be careful. There are a ton of jobs out there that are scams. Most of them ask for you to pay them to get the job, so they are pretty recognizable as scams. But just be smart. And I know that many people will disagree with me saying this, but I think you should be upfront about being a creative type in the interview. I used to lie about being an actor so I’d get the job, but then I realized I would have to lie a lot more when I got auditions. Be honest from the beginning, and if they don’t want to hire you because of that, it was not the right day job for you.
Hopefully everyone reading this is either supporting themselves on their dream careers or is happy at their day jobs. But if you aren’t, I hope I gave you some ideas of what and where to look!