10 Struggles Only People Who Work In A Creative Field Will Understand

Person drawing with a colored pencil
Unsplash / Neven Krcmarek

1. People don’t get that your job is real work

You’d be amazed how many times I tell people about my job and they respond, “Oh, that’s cool, but what’s your real job?” Or, “Wait, you get paid for that?” Yes, Sharon, like I told you a million times: this is my job.

2. They also assume you have 10-hour work weeks

This goes hand-in-hand with people thinking you don’t actually have a job. I’ve had people tell me they always just assumed I worked 2-3 hours a day and then spent the rest of the week just skipping through sunflower fields or something. Little do they know that I, much like them, work 40+ hour work weeks.

3. You probably have at least one family member who thinks you’re wasting your potential

I get it, Grandma, I would’ve made more money if I went to law school. Can we talk about someone else’s personal failings instead?

4. You constantly have to explain why the arts matter

Just because you aren’t a doctor or a diplomat doesn’t mean you aren’t making a difference in the world. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get it. Defending your career may as well be your full-time job at this point.

5. Creative blocks are the bane of your existence

It’s one thing to have some sort of creative block when you’re doing something in your own time, like painting or writing for fun. But when your paycheck depends on it? Be prepared to spend hours torturing yourself while trying to finish one simple task. I’m convinced it’s the undiscovered tenth circle of hell.

6. Nobody understands that your job can actually be stressful

It’s not like people in creative fields just get to do whatever they want, whenever they want. You still have assigned projects, technical aspects of your job that are a lot less fun than they sound, and deadlines to meet. Not to mention that at the end of the day, even dream jobs are jobs.

7. It’s harder to separate your personal life from your professional life

A lot of Americans are workaholics at heart, but when you work in a creative field, it’s pretty hard to separate your work from what you do in your free time. Even when I’m off the clock I’m constantly thinking of new things to write (or, you know, working anyway). While you may have set work hours, you probably won’t be able to turn your professional brain off while at home.

8. And because of it, professional failures hit harder

Depending on the creative field, the work you do might feel more personal to you — after all, art often reflects the artist. If you feel like you’re failing on a professional level, it’s probably going to make you feel pretty insecure about your abilities — and yourself — as a whole.

9. At least once, you’ve probably considered switching career fields

Maybe it was pressure from family and friends. Maybe it was because you worried you’d never really “make it.” Or maybe it was just because, as I mentioned before, professional failures hit hard — it’s easy to want to quit when you’re full of self-doubt.

10. Despite all the shit you get, you’re grateful for your job

Sure, you could have been a lawyer or a doctor or an accountant. But at the end of the day, you’re doing what you love, and that means the most of all. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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