Story time (cross posted from my LinkedIn):
A little more than a decade ago, something unexpected happened that shaped my trajectory significantly.
I was doing interviews for my first admin job out of school, and I got asked a question in an interview that I had no idea how to handle. I’ve told several people about it since, and they have all been shocked that an interviewer asked me that. (No, it wasn’t something illegal like what is my religion or my sexual orientation).
I must have put on my application that one of my hobbies was playing guitar. I know they ask in interviews about your hobbies to get a bit more of a sense of your personality.
But the interviewer saw this, and he asked me point blank: “How do I know you won’t just quit one day to go on tour?”
I was dumbfounded. Suddenly this thing that was a fun hobby was being vilified. Apparently I wasn’t allowed to have creative hobbies and be trusted for an office job. (Now I can look back and realize that company was clearly NOT a good fit, but I didn’t have that wisdom at the time).
But that moment had a significant impact on my career trajectory. It taught me that as an office worker I wasn’t supposed to have creative hobbies and that led me to start living essentially a double life.
I diligently worked away in my day jobs, being the reliable backbone in many admin/accounting teams (which I’m very good at). And then on my own time, I was a creative freelancer/project manager of sorts.
I’ve done a lot of projects on my own. I ran a recording studio in my mom’s basement (recorded demos for two local artists, and my own music as well). I later produced a podcast and wrote a blog for a couple of years. Eventually I began creating ebooks (one of which helped me land a freelance gig), then did my first video project. Oh, and I was studying foreign languages too.
During the first two years of the pandemic I wrote a book, launched an online merch store of original graphic design work, live streamed on twitch, and produced a video interview podcast. All independently. While continuing to maintain the duties and responsibilities of my day job. Talk about time management!
But I eventually reached a point where I realized I was shooting myself in the foot by living two lives. It’s a lot of extra work. I was developing and demonstrating all these valuable skills independently, and I wanted to start getting paid for more of the things I was good at, not just one thing.
So after a decade I’ve begun to look for opportunities to coalesce. I know I can do more than just admin work, but I don’t intend to abandon it either. I’m good at it, and it keeps me grounded. I need the balance of organizational work and creative outlet.
Now that I’m not hiding half of myself, I wonder what exciting opportunities to be my whole self will I find?
Have you ever had a similar interview experience or had to live a double life professionally? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment or feel free to DM me!
Lacey Artemis is a creative chameleon and a business swiss army knife. She is an author, artist, musician, podcaster, and more. You can find all of her work online at www.artemiscreates.com and connect with her on LinkedIn.