How to Work a Full-Time Job While Pursuing Your Passion

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By Kar Logan

You have a clear vision of what you want in life, but you’re probably shaking at the idea of pursuing said vision. “Oh, I don’t have the time” is the answer you give yourself whenever you think about taking that leap of faith and becoming a full-time dream chaser. But is lack of time really as much of an issue as you want to believe? This is a popular discussion amongst a lot of millennials these days. With the mindset of “I want to do what I want and become my own boss,” there has been a surge of new businesses and projects from members of our generation, ranging from clothing lines to catering services.

The idea of a “typical” 9-5 is starting to become abandoned in favor of pursuing your own career in hopes living your dream. But is quitting your job the only way to go about it? How does one go about accomplishing everything that is necessary to even achieve this? Think about the time that you have to devote. You no longer work from 9-5; your hours are non-stop! You don’t get much time off, especially if you’re doing all of the work yourself. And with that, does it automatically become harder to make a substantial amount of money to fund your dream career? It may sound scary, but it is possible to do!

The Life Currency interviewed four different talented women who are becoming masters in their crafts. They’re young, they’re strong, they have sharp minds and it shows in their work ethics. We spoke to Cylla Senii, Lindsey India, Yan Snead and Via Simone, and asked them how they balance working their jobs and running their side projects. Keep reading for what they shared on their experiences in hopes of helping other likeminded individuals.

Q: Assuming you’re a Game of Thrones fan, imagine you’re Daenerys Targaryen. What is your name or the name you go by, and list your titles?

Cylla: I am Cylla Senii of House Black Girl Magic, First of Her Name, the Unstoppable, Queen of Web Series, Khaleesi of Love, Breaker of Barriers, and Mother of Dreams.

Q: What do you do for a living? As in, what is your job that pays your bills?

Cylla: I'm a producer and project manager.

Q: What is your passion that you devote your other hours to?

Cylla: My passion is acting and producing/writing/directing my own original television shows.

Q: Is it difficult balancing your full-time/part-time with your passion job? Why or why not?

Cylla: Sometimes it can be difficult balancing both, but since I do enjoy managing projects, I feel like I'm able to create a schedule that works for me. It's all about making sure you make realistic goals with what you want to accomplish for the day/week/month.

To learn more about what drives someone with a vision or passion, we reached out to Yan Snead aka Yanaerya Targaryen, first of her name, Assist Leader of the Underground, Queen of the Aux Cord, Voice of the Entertainment Industry Underdogs.

Q: What is your passion that you devote your other hours to?

Yan: My passion is music and media, I devote my hours to creating playlists, plugging artists with new fans and platforms, being the Editor of Dinner Land Network, curating events with my team, hosting a podcast and tweeting.

Q: Why is this your passion and what are you gaining from this or hope to achieve? Do you get paid for this?

Yan: For over 10 years, I was an artist. I came up taking piano and voice lessons, was in the marching and jazz bands (percussion/piano) in middle school through college, was in the church choir and school choirs (Kean/Fayetteville State University). Music has always been something I’ve been sure about. I just was never sure if I would be in the spotlight or the background. In 2013, I realized the limelight wasn’t for me and I was a more valuable player behind the scenes helping other artists get recognition. I switched my major from voice to Public Relations and I wouldn’t change anything about my path thus far. Honestly, I gain joy from the excitement/happiness artists express when I plug them with a feature on a platform, or a placement on my playlists or a slot on Dinner Land. It’s not a feeling I can really express with words, but it fills me up and makes me feel accomplished knowing that I helped someone get shine. I get paid for promotional services on network, but I don’t get paid for the aid I provide outside of network unless it’s graphic design or certain song placements.

Lindsey India is a freelance music journalist and currently a writer for XXL and Billboard. A big advocate for mental health awareness, she sheds light on her experiences balancing all her jobs while making sure to take time to mentally take care of yourself.

Q: Is it difficult balancing your full-time/part-time with your passion job? Why or why not?

Lindsey: It's been very difficult balancing finding time to make ends meet and just "me" time to focus on getting my own mental health in a better place, which has become my largest and most substantial priority over my passion and dreams. I need to get motivated to do more than just survive so I can be inspired on how to live.

Q: Why is this your passion and what are you gaining from this or hope to achieve?

Lindsey: I feel like bringing more awareness, education and shedding light on mental illness in a much more truthful, raw manner can help those who suffer, as well as those seeking to support those they know suffering.

Q: Do you like your job? Do you NEED your job?

Lindsey: I love my jobs and feel that I learn something new everyday, whether it’s something technical with journalism, improving my writing, or what's within the culture itself. I would say I need my job, but not so much financially as what I feel I'm connected to with it. I meet so many amazing people and get to connect within hip-hop culture, which I've dreamed of doing since I was 12.

Q: I’m sure it has come up where you’ve had to decide “go to work today and miss this opportunity for something I really want to do or miss it to be responsible.” If so, do you have any regrets about your decisions?

Lindsey: One time I called out of my job the morning of, that I didn't care much for, to go do a Fetty Wap interview in Paterson, NJ when he was just blowing up. It earned over 2 million views on YouTube and even aired on TV. I was laid off of that job I called out of not too long after that. I have a new job I love now which that interview helped me earn. That video is still a big piece of my resume while that job seems like a blip in my life. Sometimes you have to sacrifice, and sometimes you have to be realistic. Make sure you have logic with your passion, and passion with your logic.

Simone Arrington aka Via Simone also shares thoughts on the subject. By day, Simone works as a receptionist for an advertising agency; by night, she’s digital content marketer, experiences curator and avid tweeter.

Q: Do you like your job? Do you NEED your job?

Simone: For the most part, yes…absolutely.

Q: What is your passion that you devote your other hours to?

Simone: I'm also a self-proclaimed dot connector. I am delighted to be able to intertwine my digital networks and connect individuals on an interpersonal level by giving people a platform to speak on my podcast (Bonnets & Durags: A Pillow Talk Podcast) and organizing events (like the #WeMetOnTwitterDayParty). I'm also passionate about helping mini influencers and small business owners build their brands. Often times they're the ones who are overlooked and neglected in their respective markets and they may need the most help building their foundation. That's where I come in. I'm committed to helping them reinvent and refine their digital presence.

Q: Knowing what you know now and experiencing what you’ve experienced, would you advise someone to do both?

Simone: Yes. The harsh reality is that full time, salary paying jobs are the only surefire way for me to sustain my living, especially in a big city. Without this, I wouldn't be able to afford the cost of living or even have an opportunity to live in NYC. Realistically speaking, I would advise that people put their time in by working with their corporate jobs for X amount of years, use their earnings to invest in their brand, and then make the decision to pursue entrepreneurship when they feel as if they have the financial freedom to do so.

Q: What is the difference between a job and a career? Some would argue a job is temporary and a career is something you’re passionate about. Do you believe this is true?

Simone: The key difference between a job and a career is the element of passion. Make a career out of something you love and you'll never work a day in your life. I believe we should treat jobs as personal investments until we're ready to jumpstart our careers.

Lindsey: I think there's a bad stigma behind the phrase "9-5" as people associate it with restriction. It doesn't have to equate to limitation or restriction if YOU work to make it the opposite.

What advice would give to someone trying to juggle work and their pursuit of happiness?  

Cylla: Divvy up your work throughout your week/month so it's reasonable for your schedule.

Yan: Sometimes you have to choose your passion over your 9-5.

Simone: Automate as much as you can! Use email marketing and social media management tools to schedule out messages and posts so you don't have to spend extra time throughout your day doing so.

Lindsey: Always listen to your gut, but don't just depend on it. Logic is also important.