I am a Musician.
It’s weird to identify so strongly with a profession that the majority of society views as “illegitimate”. Especially since those same people also glorify the celebrity of others who identify the same way. It makes no sense. Here’s a short conversation I’ve had 1000 times.
Not Me (inquisitive): “What do you do?…”
Me (excited): “I’m a musician! How bout you?”
Not Me (patronizing): “…What do you actually do? For money?”.
Every time this conversation played out, I couldn’t help feeling challenged to prove my worth and show them that I’m not just some sad amateur with Peter Pan Syndrome playing ‘Creep’ by Radiohead at an open mic during wing night (no shade, gotta start somewhere, also i ❤️ Radiohead (and wings!)). Also, there is no good response to that question without a) making them feel like an asshole or b) looking like an asshole myself. As a result, I always choose c): validate this behaviour by just honestly answering their intrusive follow-up question…
Me (grateful, albeit a little pointed): “I actually make decent money playing music. I feel really lucky that people pay me to do what I love most. 🙂”
If there is one good thing about the pandemic shutting down the world of live music, it’s that the above conversation doesn’t ever happen anymore. Since last March, any semblance of pride I felt about playing music for a living turned into fear that I’d never do it again. (I could go on and on about the deep inner struggle with my sense of self as a musician during Covid, that’s not the important part here!). With no gigs, and no end in sight, I began looking into career options I could see myself enjoying. Ones that don’t share the same precarity as music work. On the advice of some friends who had made the leap from music into programming, I jumped head first. As soon as I began learning, it immediately quelled my fears and put my focus on a new future ahead. After months of online learning and now in a Bootcamp for the next 8 weeks I can now say…
I am a Web Developer.
At least, I will be… No no, I am. The Career Services team at Juno said that is the mindset we should take. We ARE developers. We know how to develop websites, so why SHOULDN’T we call ourselves developers?…
I love all of these new skills I’m learning here and I’m really excited about pursuing a new career as a developer, but I am also struggling to clearly see a future where I can balance that with my identity as a musician. I ask myself, ‘when live music comes back, will I be too busy to play gigs?’ This thought keeps me up at night sometimes. In my heart, I know that this new path is only serving to expand my identity and not replace it. There is a clear way for these two parts of my life to co-exist, I’ll just need to be creative about how.
So interesting that after spending so much time feeling compelled to defend my career choice to other people, I’ve wound up in this position trying to defend this new one to myself. 🤔 🤯
ALL THIS TO SAY, coding is wayyyy FUN and it feels really good to be challenged, excited, driven and passionate about something new! If all goes to plan, here’s me in 2 months:
Not Me (inquisitive): “What do you do?”
Me (proud): “I’m a web developer and musician. How bout you?..”
www.zachbines.com (jk, there’s nothing in there yet..but soooooooon)