Work’s tough, isn’t it?
Whether you’re at college, grinding a 9-5 or making ends meet through self-employment, there are always those moments where we experience self-doubt.
“Is this job right for me?” “Why am I not happy?” and “Why am I doing this to myself?” are all questions I’ve asked whilst I’ve been lucky enough to have somebody else’s dream job.
I’ve paid my dues working in restaurants as a waiter, but I’ve also had the opportunity to work in an independent comic book store, I’ve sold games, movies and technology and I even spent some time “working” as a street musician (the best paying job I ever had).
I remember my dad once telling me that age-old saying: “If you can get paid doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I lived for that phrase.
I still do.
Every time I started a new job, I would consider this my mantra and when I did, work never really felt like work.
It became less about the money and more about doing a fucking good job.
The thing is, out of all the jobs I ever had, being a busker was, by far, the best.
You might think I’m saying this because I made up to £33 an hour, but there were days where I made just enough for bus fare home, so it certainly wasn’t that.
You might think it was because I was doing something I loved, but I loved comics, I loved games and movies and I loved my workmates.
No, street performance was the best job I ever had because I was able to connect with people on my terms. I was my own boss and the city was my employer.
There were days where crowds would form and there was a buzz in the air.
There were also days where I was invisible and, to some extent, I liked that.
I’d sometimes play alone or other times I’d bring a friend along for the ride and split the profits.
The thing is, this freedom was what made performing so lucrative for me.
I got out whatever I put in and in this environment, I thrived.
It’s quite funny actually. I wasn’t even very good at playing music, but I am very good with people and it’s the connections I made that led to some amazing individuals handing over their hard-earned cash.
I particularly enjoyed those people that would literally wait until I finished so they could put the money in my hand.
You can’t buy that.
It really is a wonderful feeling. A real sense of accomplishment. I even met one of my ex-girlfriends, after she threw her number in my guitar case.
That was a crazy few months, to say the least.
What I’m getting at is that I never felt this working for anybody else.
Sure, I enjoyed the subject matter, but aside from 5-star reviews that would come in from happy customers I’d served, there was very little in the way of organic connection like those I would get from busking.
It’s almost as if I had this middle-man that would literally take these moments from me by claiming whatever I’d earned in tips (this actually happened) or the other kind, who would squash any sense of self-gratification by making me feel as though I wasn’t doing a good enough job elsewhere.
The fact of the matter is that if you’re doing something you love, money is just a side effect.