An open letter from a very hard year of my life to anyone currently at a job that doesn't fit their gifting + 5 tips to stay creative while working at an uncreative job
My first full-time job was a job in which I didn't have any opportunities to write. I was exploring a different sort of career path that I thought might be for me.
The whole year I spent at that job, I felt like I was operating completely out of my gifting. I don’t doubt that God used every second of it. I don't doubt that He wanted me to see what that felt like. I don’t doubt that He worked through it and lives were impacted because of it, if only my own.
But writing. Writing is the gift I feel like I was given to express the love of God. There are many gifts that do this, but this one is mine. The whole year, my words — writing what I really think, writing words that convey my true emotions — dried up. All hope seemed lost. Using a gift that once felt like breathing started to feel like fighting.
Sometime after the year I spent at that job, the dam holding back my words finally broke. The words now flow with a weathered richness that is a result of all I experienced.
The hardships of the job were like a flood that eroded the canyon of all I used to be into something that is now partially the same and yet completely different all at once. As I settle into a job that makes use of my gifting once again, I am exploring the new facets of the rock. Some days are filled with strange unfamiliarity and other days with exhilarating discoveries. The good thing is, this means there is plenty to write about these days.
THOUGHTS TO PONDER
So I leave you with two things to think about:
1. What is the gift you have been given to express the love of God? Is it writing or painting or talking or making coffee or gardening? If you don’t know what it is, live your life and don’t worry about finding it because the thing like this always seems to have to come and find you.
2. What kind of year are you in? Is the expression all dammed up, locked in your heart like a prison? If so, remember that it will not last forever and your soul will sing once again. There is time to figure this out. If you’re in a year where using the gift flows freely like the ocean, I hope you are running with it with all the energy you have.
5 TIPS TO STAY CREATIVE WHEN YOU'RE STUCK AT A JOB THAT ISN'T CREATIVE
If you already know what your gift is and are still clocking in at that uncreative job with no signs of getting out anytime soon, here are some ways to stay creative in the meantime:
1. LET GO OF ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING
So, you don't have hours upon hours each day to dedicate to your craft, but you do have a few minutes here and there. Don't let this time go to waste! Coordinating your creative work with your normal work schedule takes some tact, but you can do it. It's okay if you aren't able to go about it perfectly.
2. USE YOUR LUNCH HOUR
Work on your story or bring some watercolors along each day. Not only will you get some creative work done, but you'll be refreshed when you get back to work. Don't discount this time even if it's not a long break! Every minute counts.
3. USE YOUR EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS
Additionally, don't waste this precious time watching Netflix. Even if you have plenty more to do once you get home from work, make it a priority to spend at least 30 minutes (or whatever time frame works for you!) doing something creative.
4. TAKE ON SOME FREELANCE PROJECTS AS A SIDE HUSTLE
You can work toward getting your name out there and make some spare change at the same time by taking on freelance projects here and there. This will take some extra time, but work that you're passionate about tends to fuel you rather than drain you, so the time will be well-spent.
5. GET PLENTY OF REST
Nothing dulls creative work like being emotionally or physically drained from your job. I encourage you to make time to be creative even when you feel this way. However, it's helpful if you make it a priority to rest your mind and body by getting enough sleep, spending time in nature, or taking some time to vent with friends in between. Also, exercising is a great way to spark ideas! Balance breaks with work to hit the sweet spot.