I work with plenty of people on both sides of the creative industries and many of them are not having fun. There is a general flatness or lack of joy and its pretty widespread* From the creators to the people that help the creators, the excitement that lured us in in the first instance has long diminished. Obviously, everything new gets old, so unless you’re in a work situation that allows for personal and creative growth and change opportunities you can find yourself on the hamster wheel doing the same shit for different clients / artists etc. week in week out. But these are coveted jobs in creative professions. It’s meant to be fun, right? Otherwise we could be working anywhere.
Based on my own experience and those of my clients, the usual reasons cited for this lack of fun are:
-I’m seriously overworked and overwhelmed. I have no time in my life for me, friends and family. Not to mention basic self-care.
-I can’t seem to switch off. My work comes home with me and I’m always ‘on’. Even at the weekends.
-I struggle with setting boundaries. I fall victim to 'Scope Creep'**
-There is conflict in my workplace with colleagues. Too much drama.
-I’m trapped in a grind. I do the same thing week in week out. I’m fricken bored.
-I work my butt off but my pay is not commensurate with effort and energy.
-I want ‘MORE’ from my working life.
Creative professions, certainly those in the music industry (unless you’re really lucky), are not typically a 9 – 5 proposition for most of us. And that is not for everyone. Lots of the work done by creative industry workers is project-based and deadline-driven. Timeframes are usually tight and as a result, working hours can be ridiculously longer than your average 8 hour-day office job, especially as your project deadline looms. You may also find yourself working anti-social hours, such as evenings, late at night and on weekends. If you’re someone who wants to work regular hours and have your weekends free to do what you enjoy away from work, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
So be prepared to work your butt off and get ready for SCOPE CREEP**. For those unfamiliar with this expression, ‘scope creep’ is an insidious phenomenon (not limited to the creative industries but widely experienced) where you have committed your time and energy to a project only to discover your responsibilities have magically grown beyond the original brief. “Hang on, this isn’t what I signed up for,” you think to yourself. It’s often a great source of stress for those who haven’t been able to set clear and firm boundaries.
Even so, it's not always easy to say ‘no’ to your boss or client when they expect you to work late, especially if you’re a freelancer, worried you won’t be hired the next time around. Many people manage their lives very happily in this uncertain world of projects and short-term contracts. However, others find it challenging, stressful or even demoralising. And not much fun. So, consider your own case - how important do you think it will be to you to have a more stable job, with a regular pay check, 'normal' working hours and super paid to you? Such roles do exist in the Creative Industries, but they’re not the norm.
Sound like fun? By making some adjustments, it can be!
Over the next few weeks I’ll be focusing on the things stopping us from enjoying our work. Tools, tips and resources to hopefully help you get your mojo back or at least to help you make changes that will bring back some of that joy. Check here for updates: https://www.facebook.com/nextactcoaching/
*If you are experiencing ongoing sadness and feelings of despair, please contact your GP or reach out to:
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 (24hrs a day)
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636