I learned a very important lesson a lot of years ago. A job, no matter how beloved and how consistent, is nothing more than a gig.
What can a gig do?
- Pay you
- House you
- Provide artistic fulfillment
- Allow you to excel in your field
- Maybe—if you’re super lucky and found a unicorn job—give you health insurance
Those are all pretty great things. I mean, food and housing are vital to life. Assuming you’re working in a field of your choice, getting a chance to work is great, and delving deeper into your profession is excellent.
But here are the things a gig can’t do:
- Take care of you when you’re sick
- Make sure you’re not alone on holidays
- Create a long term life plan that is centered around anything other than the gig
- Hold you when you’re sad
- Appreciate you as a complete human
- Prioritize who you are over what you can contribute to the gig
- Make sure you don’t die alone
Even the best gigs are still just gigs.
If it comes down to the choice between building a life and clinging to a gig, really think about what you’re holding onto. Having a great gig might give you an awesome conversation starter at a Christmas party, but the gig won’t hold you during the post holiday blues.
The need to eat will never go away, but don’t forget the importance of actually living a full life.