Don’t Quit Your Day Job
If you haven’t been paying attention, you might think that I am an actual rock star. This is not the case. An examination of my tax returns would indicate that I am in fact a “software engineer.” For the past 8 or so years I’ve worked at a small firm in NYC writing software. The music and the robot building and the podcasting have all been non-profit (or extremely small-profit) enterprises done in my spare time. Those days are over. I quit my job. This is my last week.
I’ve been psyching myself up for this for a long time, but saying those words still makes me pee my pants a little. Really, I haven’t even posted this entry yet, but just writing it makes me feel dizzy. I don’t have any specific plans, I just know that I need to reconfigure my life to have a more flexible schedule, more room for creative endeavors. I need to be more of an artist, or at least pretend to be an artist for a while and see if it ends up being true. But I don’t know how I’m going to make money, and I’m not even sure what I will do with the hours in my day. I’m just hoping that this leap of faith will open up possibilities – ask the universe and it will provide, blah blah blah. As you can see, I’m back and forth on this. Part of me is sure this is exactly the right thing to do, while the rest of me is screaming that this is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Time will tell. Right now all I can do is try not to panic.
There: now it’s real because it’s on the internet.
Well, this is somewhat of a shock. Good luck, I hope that screaming bit of your brain isn't right.
Yay! Three cheers for not having a day job! (It also helps to have a spouse who will cheerily support your efforts, by the way...) There is one other thing, and I hate to say this to you, that you need to do....
It becomes this huge time sucker and at three ten in the afternoon you are wondering why, dear god, why, are you sitting browsing blogs when you should be ........????
Sometimes, inspiration comes from making connections with other artists... but most of the time one just sits and looks at dumbass pictures on Fark.
Oh, and your sleeping schedule gets really fucked.
But that's beautiful.
I recently did the same thing. Quit my job as a sound programmer to find more time for creative things.
I know for sure that it was the right thing to do.
Glenn Peters says
We will now wait for the unanimous decision of the senate.
... [voting, sheep bleating]
He's a god now.
(By the way, now that you're a god, could you leave the Internet on? I still need it. Thank you.)
I quit my job as a lawyer a while ago. Fumbled around a lot but my writing got better. Still writing and found a great way to make ends meet and get health insurance and stay happy. You'll find yours, I'm sure.
See you at Pop!Tech, brave guy.
Normally, I tell my "creative" friends, Don't Quit You Day Job (I do say it in all capitals. It helps get the point across.). But in you case I say go for it. I love your music. I can't get enough of it. I will spread it across the country wherever I can.
Good luck to you, and I'll put some money in your tip jar to help you along.
Good Luck! You rule so much that you most certainly deserve it. :)
I look forward to alot more new output from you
Thanks all for your kind words of support. This blog thing is a nice cheap form of therapy isn't it? I fear that I have become addicted to positive responses from the ether - without the steady infusion of thumbs-ups from everyone who's emailed and commented over the last few months, I might well have decided to stay forever inside the soft velvet cage of gainful employment. It's because of you guys that I will soon be penniless and alone.
Hey, wait a minute...
Congrats! I was just listening to "Skullcrusher Mountain", and I thought if there's anyone in the world who should not be stuck behind a keyboard jockeying code for a living, it's this guy who can make half-monkey, half-pony monsters. Make the most of it!
Lee Wilkins says
So whats next for you? Looking for a cool and interestng project to work on?
Drop me a line
Back in the dorms three of us would synchro-play First of May from each of our rooms so no matter where one walked on our floor, one could hear your melodious voce.
mike dunn says
congrat's and good luck jonathan - if you're looking for other nyc area folks interested in indie music and podcasting, checkout the group rob organized over at http://www.nycpodsquad.com which meets casually about once a month and is constantly adding some of the top nyc area podcasters to the mix :)
I was running the other day, finally having a good listen to the new songs, and I heard this gem during "I Feel Fantastic":
And I never felt as good as how I do right now
Except for maybe when I think of how I felt that day
When I felt the way that I do right now...
Terrific. You've got people synchro-playing your music in their dorms (what is it with kids these days and their synchro-playing?) and you write awesomely clever music: you had no choice but to quit your day job. I predict that soon jonathancoulton.com will become so huge that you'll be able to buy all other .coms, including that of your former employer, which I always thought sounded kind of like coulton.com anyway.
Don't listen to that screaming voice in your head: it's screaming because that's the only sound that a self-loathing bully, who's never been right about one thing, can make.
Jesus, I hope those html tags I used above do something, or else I'll look like an effing idiot once I hit "submit comment"....
D'oh! I thought those lyrics would appear in a cool text box...I think I'll stop trying to learn html to seem hip and young and instead devote myself to the finer points of synchro-playing....
I remember synchro-playing! JC rules. Robots rule.
Just don't forget to but the baby new shoes, for god's sake! (Congrats!!)
Friends, well-wishers and synchro-players: a thousand thank yous for your friendship, well-wishing and synchronous playing. Today I will put the robots, RC cars and stirling engines that litter my desk into a box and take them home, much to the dismay of my wife who likes to keep the robots outside the apartment. Tomorrow I will not even pretend to work, and for fun, might release a dozen large lobsters into the elevator. Monday I am free...
Lobsters and elevators do indeed mix well, even if it dosen't seem so. :)
Fair play to ya, man. I just discovered your music recently, thanks to Dave Slusher's podcast. We transhumanist geeks need our rock stars, too, and They Might Be Giants are starting to run out of steam. I'm nominating you as their successor.
Congrats! I left my Web design job in April to give cartooning at least one year of sincere attention. It's great not having all of your creative juices tapped by the time you get home from a day job. And having all of that extra time to devote to your work really makes a difference in quality. I haven't regretted the decision once.
I heard about you through the Wizards of Technology podcast. Great stuff! Can't wait to hear what you come up with next.
Mirror Spock says
congratulations, and good luck.
I hope to hear a lot more from you in the Future.
lately your music and some podcasts are all I listen to so a few extra songs will be much appreciated.
Thankfully I myself don't have to worry about leaving my job to pursue my creative urges, (can't pursue what doesn't exist)
Best wishes from the UK. The Delta Park Project podcast introduced me to your stuff, which I think is great (I'm a huge fan of good ol' Tom Lehrer, too). I hope that you're able to produce more great stuff for us to listen to now - can you feel the weight of expectation crushing you yet ?
Your music is great, and us people here in Liverpool know a bit about music, i can assure you.
Great job , i love all your songs. also have you ever actually gone fucking outside ;) ?
Rohit: that's kind of a personal question isn't it? I can tell you that I HAVE had many delightful conversations with the kind woodland animals who inhabit nyc. But to answer your question, I'm afraid I must invoke the rights guaranteed to me by the 5th ammendment or our constitution.
Hey JC, right on! I did the same thing about 4 years ago. Never looked back. I wrote two books with a friend of mine from grade school -- "Time Off! The Upside to Downtime" is our latest. It's available all over NYC including Coliseum Books (great store!) and it's on Amazon, and on our website: http://www.leisureteam.com. Swap you a book for some tunes? And I hereby offer $5 off to all those brave and daring job-quitters on this thread. Just email me at email@example.com and mention JC's Blog.
Share the leisure!
Kristine: looks like you found a way to turn not working into a profitable enterprise. That's just the kind of transmutation I like to see. I think I will take today off...
Can I have the Tabs the codemonkey, ive looked everywhere but I cant find them anywhere
Did you try the Guitar Tabs button on the code monkey song details page?
I just found out about you today, and you are my new hero. I love everything you do. I wanna quit my day job now. Thanks for the inspiration. You got me without me knowing - I also publish songs every week. But you were first.