No More Net

Well, I essentially quit The Day Job today.

In the past, it’s been expected that I’d come back to work “full time” at the end of each project. So, I might take 6 weeks off at a time to finish a commission, but when the piece was done, I’d go back to working full-time. I might continue working full-time for a few weeks to a few months, and then I’d take time off again.

As time has gone on, the breaks from The Day Job have lasted longer and longer. I worked most of September, as I recall, but not much since then. It was expected that I’d be back “full time” again in early January — but I planned that in November. Since then, though, I’ve lined up 3 new projects that will keep me busy for the next year.

So I went in to The Day Job today to do that data entry that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry. As I was wrapping that up, my boss — who, as I said, is the best boss I’ve ever had — asked me how my schedule looked for next week. I kind of paused and — unable to look her in the eye — told her that I, uh, needed to talk to her about that…

We talked about it, and we agreed that instead of returning to normal hours at the end of projects, I’d just come in one day a month, essentially to do the same simple data entry that I was doing today. This is good for her, as she can call me if she really needs me to come in for a specific project or something (as I’ll remain on payroll), and it’s good for me, too, because I can still have access to the office. (You never know when you’ll need to scooby some staples.) I also really like my coworkers (RN and JC are great guys), and it’s nice to know that we’ll be having lunch at least once a month.

So, I’ll work one day a month, and it can be any day that I wish. It’s pretty amazing. It seems that I’m now officially making a living as a composer.

She won’t read it — and that’s probably best — but I have to send out a sincere thank you to my boss at The Day Job. For the past 6 years, she has given me complete flexibility to take off whenever I needed for any reason. I remember being at work one day a few years ago and getting a musical idea around 11:30 in the morning. I told her that I had a really cool idea, and I needed to run home to work on it for an hour or so. She encouraged me to take the rest of the day off to write. The idea I had — that she insisted I work on right away — was the tango in Redline Tango.

And there are lots of stories like that. How many bosses would understand and so willingly accept that the job you were doing during the day was hopefully just a temporary thing while you tried to establish another career? I’m sure that realistically, a lot of bosses know that about their employees. But do they encourage their employee to do whatever they need to do to make that very day job no longer necessary?

Whether she was sending me home early, or giving me months off at a time to write, or just looking the other way while I sent out personal music-related e-mails while I was at the office — she’s been incredibly supportive, infinitely more so than I deserved.

It’s been an incredible gift to have her as my boss for the past 6 years. Were it not for her, I don’t think I’d be in the position to now just be A Composer.

Thank you, JJ.


Anonymous says

i think this is the best thing could happen for you, John. I think that the scary push over the cliff, the lack of a fall-back will give you the drive to be completely self-sufficient with composing. No more crutches, right? I'm trying to get there, myself...


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