For those of you who don't know, my current job is at a local bar, where I barback and work the door. I work five nights a week (Fri - Tue) and the shifts last from 8 PM till around 5 AM. Five days a week in an industry like this is different than five days a week in a normal industry with a normal schedule. The reason I say "normal" industry is because the bar industry is, for the most part, a lifestyle and not just a job. People who work in bars get hung up on how much money they can make and then often begin to lose sight of other goals that they had in life. This isn't always the case, but often you find bartenders, barbacks, servers who work in bars, hang out in bars and only have friends who work and hang out in bars. It transcends work and becomes how you live your life. This is an easy trap to fall into, as the bar industry is one of the few places that people like myself (intelligent and hard working but otherwise under-educated workers) can find work that offers a decent amount of money.
Despite the amount of money I make (it's good), I'm burning out pretty badly at work. The three shifts a week where I barback don't cause too much stress, but my two shifts working the door (Friday and Saturday) are so stressful that I spend all week dreading them. Adding to this stress is the fact that I feel I have to cram all my creative work, my friend time and my time with my wife into the two days off (Wednesday and Thursday) that I currently have. There just doesn't seem to be enough time.
You might be asking yourself, "Why not just get up and do a lot of creative work before going into your job for the night?" Well, I just don't sleep. Sleeping during the day, being wired at the end of work, etc, etc. There are plenty of factors that lead to insomnia, so I'm constantly trying to catch sleep where I can. And, when I am awake, I don't feel I have a great deal of energy or creative fire.
You're probably thinking to yourselves that I should just find a new job, and I'm trying, but the job market in Nashville is still pretty terrible so opportunities are few and far between. I'm hoping to scale back the amount of days I work at the bar and that would certainly help, but the level of stress right now is flirting dangerously with breakdown levels.
So my question to you friends and readers is this; how do you do it? I know that many of you have wives, full time jobs, kids, and other obligations which no doubt cut into your creative time. How do you balance it? How do you find time to do your jobs, work on projects and still maintain the obligations to family and fellowship that you feel are important? Do you exercise, meditate, drink heavily, do copious amounts of recreational drugs? Inquiring minds want to know.