Updated: Jan 22, 2019
The holiday season is a simply chaotic time of year. No matter the field of work or study you are in, most of us find ourselves a little bit (or a lot a bit) in over our heads. The pressure to create these perfect moments that will linger in our hearts for the rest of our lives and the lives of those around us can bring with it a certain measure of soul crippling stress.
If you happen to work in the service industry, it is likely a multifaceted maze of stress that goes far beyond juggling family and finding gifts.
Working in the service industry during the holidays means you better have a solid plan on how you are going to navigate the holidays and have it ready and laid out the second your employer is ready to take requests. It means that even if you do everything right, your fate is still in the hands of another. If you get scheduled to work when you've already booked a plane ticket home, you risk losing your job for prioritizing your family and mental health. If you prioritize your job, you lose out on some very important personal time and the money your ticket cost. You take your busiest most physically and emotionally draining work season and combine it with your busiest, most physically, emotionally and financially draining home season. In short, IT. HARD.
Now, take all of that, and throw in the pursuit of art.
Why you ask, would this be something difficult to cope with? The answer is DIY.
When you are a creator, it means you create. For me, and a lot of others, this means creating homemade personalized gifts for everyone you know. What better way to save money during the holidays right?
This is often a much more cost effective way to get your holiday shopping done and it's a way to get your art into the minds of others. It's like your very first step in marketing your personal brand. Doing this is an incredibly meaningful and heartfelt gift to the ones you love. It's also A. LOT. OF. WORK.
You are doing for free, very time consuming and skilled work that others make their living on. If you're like me and you are a creator who's day job is in the service industry, you're doing this while also working your busiest time of year in your day job.
It is likely that when you start out you are very excited to plan out your holiday gifts, to create them and see the reactions of your loved ones. As the holiday wave really starts to build, you'll likely find yourself worried about whether it is humanly possible to achieve the task you've laid out for yourself. You may create your first batch of gifts and realize that it is not as grand as what you thought it would be, Then you find yourself resorting to shopping again to supplement your gifts. Falling into that age old creators torture of "Is my work good enough?". Then you feel guilty for not doing your family the gift receiving justice they deserve.
This is where the DIY dilemma is born. Do I jump into this project that will likely murder all free time for the next several months, or do I just let myself fall into the consumerist traps of the holidays, make a list and brave the mall on black Friday when I know I could do better.
I want to be clear, holiday shopping and the holidays in general can be stressful for most of us and by no means do I attempt to diminish what anyone goes through during the season. My goal is to simply share this unique brand of stress that can happen to us unknown creators trying to build up our skill and professionalism on top of working an entirely different full time job.
A lot of creators are highly sensitive people who have a hard time asking for acknowledgement. If you are one of them, know that just like any other profession, the hard work will pay off.
If you have a creator in your life who is still building their brand, take a moment to acknowledge and support them.
If you know someone who works in the service industry, do the same for them. They are making a huge personal sacrifice to be there for the masses and it is so crucial that we show kindness and compassion during this time of year.
With that I bid you adieu.
Thanks everyone! Till next time...