We're not Defined by Our 9-5s

4 years ago

The other night, my friend Emma and I were chatting with a bartender who asked us about our work. We obligingly gave vague descriptions of our respective administrative positions. When he left, we started chatting about how boring that was, and how we really should just tell people about our blogging and photography instead.

Emma was way ahead of me. She and her roommate have both being trying to make a conscious effort to tell people who ask about what they do or what their jobs are that they are artists and only if asked how they fund their art, would they mention their day jobs.

I loved this idea of actively trying to change your own perspective through the words you use to describe yourself and taking ownership of the things you love to do.

While I do know a few people who are lucky/brave/hardworking/determined enough to be able to pursue their passion full-time, the reality is, that most people I know have to pursue their passions outside of their necessary 9-5.

I feel extremely grateful to hold the steady position I do (it was a SUCH a relief to stumble into it after months of unemployment when I left the small-town paper and moved to the city), and while I am lucky enough to work with really wonderful people, my job doesn’t have much use for any of the skills or creativity I actually enjoy using, and it has very little to do with who I am or how I view myself beyond the self-esteem boost that comes with being steadily, gainfully employed.

It doesn’t light me up, and set my brain a’ ticking the way writing does. The stories I share here, the things I create say so much more about me than my “official “, paying gig does.

I get so much out of it and I put so much into it and just because I’m not paid to do it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have worth, doesn’t invalidate it, doesn’t lower it’s legitimacy as an answer to the question “So what do you do?”

So, I’m going to try to start acknowledging it out loud.

And I think, if you don’t already, you should too.

Start calling yourself the thing you are in your heart, the thing your mind bends towards when you dream, the thing your fingers itch to do.

Start describing yourself in terms of the things you do from 5-9. Because we’re not defined by our 9-5s.

In an effort to remind people of this, I’ve decided to start a series here on Metamorphocity featuring interviews with and work of people who pursue their passions outside of their 9-5. If you or someone you know fits the bill, shoot me a message at metamorphocity@gmail.com. I’d love to hear about what you do in your 5-9!

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