While no musician wants to look for a day job, sometimes it is necessary to pay the bills. I have worked a day job for over a year now, and I believe there are some day jobs for musicians that are better than others.
Whether you find a job in music education or a field unrelated to music, there are some qualities that you want to look for in a day job. In this post, I am going to share what I looked for when finding a day job. I’m also going to include some specific examples of day jobs for musicians.
Let’s start with what to look for with a day job.
By easy, I mean you go to work, do what your job entails, and then you go home. You don’t bring work home with you. As a musician, you need your free time. You need to practice, find gigs and students, and (hopefully) maintain a social life. Sleep is also important.
I currently work as a bank teller, which is perfect for me. My job is hourly, so I work my forty hours, and then I leave the bank and don’t have to think about work. My time off is mine, and I can spend it however I please.
Your perfect work schedule will depend on what your goals are as a musician. I wanted to be able to play in community music groups, and they tend to rehearse in the evenings and on weekends. Those groups never play later than 1o pm.
While I do work Saturdays (with Wednesdays off), Saturdays are a half day, so I don’t miss out on much of the weekend. I’m off by 6 pm during the week, and I’m off at 1 pm on Saturdays.
If you want to start private teaching, you may prefer a day job where you work Sundays. Since most private students take lessons in the afternoon and on Saturday mornings, a private teacher should avoid scheduling a day job during those times.
For those of you wanting to do late night shows, you will want to avoid working early in the morning. You need to catch up on your sleep, and so you might want a job where you work from 11-7, instead of 9-5.
Another important factor for any day job is flexibility. If a last minute gig pops up, you want to be able to take it and switch your work shifts. Need more time to practice for an audition? A flexible day job will allow you to take off when you need to.
As a teller, my first three months did not come with much flexibility. I could switch my day off, but I did not have the paid time off that comes with a full time job. That benefit only came after 90 days. Sadly, that meant that I missed out on a couple of cool performance opportunities.
Full time vs. Part time
You also want to consider whether you want to work full time or part time. There are benefits to both, and it’s worth looking at each situation before deciding. As a full time employee, I get paid days off plus vacation time. As a bank employee, I also get paid holidays off for all US federal holidays.
I also earn more than I would if I was part time.
However, if you have a lot of projects going on, working part time might be a better option for you. Full time employees have to work between 35-40 hours each week, but part time employees work less than 30 hours per week.
If music is already keeping you busy, but you need some extra income, a part time job is the better choice. For those of you starting without much music work, full time will allow you to save more money to fund your music projects.
Day Jobs for Musicians
There are many day jobs out there, but these are some of the best ones for musicians.
These jobs come with flexible hours, and many companies allow you to switch shifts with other employees. Retail and food service jobs are also relatively easy to get, so they are perfect for anyone who needs work fast.
If you want the standard hours of working in a school but not the excess work of teachers, consider applying for a job as a paraprofessional. Paraprofessionals work with teachers and special needs students. You do not need a teaching degree, and you can also leave your work at the door.
Well, of course I had to mention my own day job. Banks have pretty standard hours, with half day Saturdays. Except with some grocery store branches, you also get Sundays and federal holidays off. Bank tellers also get to leave their work at work.
If you don’t mind bringing work home with you, being a music teacher can be a great way to earn money. You still get to do music every day, but you also have the security that comes with any day job. Keep in mind that public schools require you to have a teaching degree.
Work from Home Options
The growth of the internet has brought with it many work from home jobs. Most of them come with a flexible schedule, and there is a job out there no matter your interests or skills. A quick search of “work from home jobs” will give you tons of ideas.
Do you have a day job? What is it? And for those of you full time musicians, what are your tips for getting out of a day job? Let’s talk in the comments!