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How do those of you with day jobs manage to keep yourself sane with small amounts of sleep?


My day job is becoming increasingly demanding of the time I used to use to recharge my batteries. Due to economic demands upon my department, I've suddenly found myself stuck on a 6:30am shift working until 4, 5 and sometimes 10:00 in the evening (I used to work a very musician-friendly 11-7 shift). Factor in rehearsals and gigs, and I'm in trouble.


Outside of the obvious "quit your job" response, any seasoned day-jobbers have any advice? I've been running or napping when I can between work and whatever musical thing I have going on that evening to recharge my batteries and relieve stress, but I'm concerned about possible risks to my health if I drag this torture out too long.

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Originally posted by BenLoy:

Here's a topic for youz:


How do those of you with day jobs manage to keep yourself sane with small amounts of sleep?


My day job is becoming increasingly demanding of the time I used to use to recharge my batteries. Due to economic demands upon my department, I've suddenly found myself stuck on a 6:30am shift working until 4, 5 and sometimes 10:00 in the evening (I used to work a very musician-friendly 11-7 shift). Factor in rehearsals and gigs, and I'm in trouble.


Outside of the obvious "quit your job" response, any seasoned day-jobbers have any advice? I've been running or napping when I can between work and whatever musical thing I have going on that evening to recharge my batteries and relieve stress, but I'm concerned about possible risks to my health if I drag this torture out too long.

I don't gig as much as I used to, or would like to, but that might be due to other factors. :)


However, my day gig usually requires 50-80 hour work weeks, travel, and a relatively high level of stress. I attempt to get between 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night. The best thing I ever did was start a workout regime a couple of years ago. Waking up at 5:30 AM and jogging along the Hudson River with a view of the NYC skyline has changed my life. Seriously, I have more energy now that I ever did before. Anything will help, even just waking up early to go for a walk. It changes your outlook on life when you start waking up before most people.


I will warn you, the "break-in" period is BRUTAL. I believe I cried like a baby on day three. :)


Maury Spadoto

Hoboken, NJ

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how far out does your band book? how far out do you expect to be working?


these two questions determine your future planning. perhaps you can ask your supervisor how long this current overtime trend will last. try to pin him down. if he says indefinitely, that is a sign you may need to ask your band to slow down bookings.


the other thought is that if you don't book two months ahead of time, you can slow down booking for the next few weeks and see how it's doing. perhaps rehearsing once a week instead of twice and gigging once a week instead of twice.


you could also entertain the option of working on saturday and/or sunday for short shifts to make up the time. think noon to 4 or 5 instead of waking up at 5:30 to get to work by 6:30 M-F.


i got fired from a band because my new job was not as conducive to playing in the band as being unemployed was. they didn't like that i no longer had every saturday free (retail, ya know...) and that they had to consult me for every schedule decision except really big shows.


hopefully one of the first two options will work out for you. i'd hate to have you quit your job these days. unless you already have something lined up, that could be very bad.



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Two words for ya: RED BULL.


Just kidding.


Basically, I just try to maintain a sense of humor about things. For example, I was in a meeting yesterday (I got about 6 total hours of sleep this past weekend and drove all day on Sunday. I got in around 11:30pm Sunday night), and I remember saying things and having people agree with me, but I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what I was talking about. I don't even really remember what I agreed to do. All I could do as I stumbled back to my desk was laugh.


There's a point where you just have to take a break. Listen to your body... at some point it will tell you to chill out. If you ignore it too long, you'll definitely get sick.


Pace yourself, try to eat well (lotsa veggies and water!!) and keep your cardiovascular system strong. I can get by on about 4 hours of sleep per night... but that's only because I make sure to get about an hour's worth of gym time into my schedule every day. Keeping the machine working properly definitely helps it take the abuse I give it.



"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Well, no job is worth your health or sanity. When I worked "regular" day jobs I was constantly being asked to stretch myself beyond the limits of what was reasonable. Corporations are just like that. If there was some emergency, I'd go the extra mile for a SHORT TERM situation, but I would always be sure to set boundaries for my employers as to what they could ask of me, and if they overstepped those boundaries I gave them a very firm "no, I can't do that. I have other commitments outside of my job."


Employers will cajole, threaten, dangle carrots, wield big sticks, pretty much do anything to try to squeeze more out of employees than they can legitimately give. But the simple fact is you don't have to take it, and in the end you will win more respect on the job for standing up for yourself, although some co-workers with less backbone may resent you for it. There is no reason why they can't do the same thing you did, but most people won't - they're willing to let things snowball until they're past the breaking point. The result: high levels of burnout, depression, autoimmune diseases, hyperanxiety, and all the other unnecessary and perfectly preventible ills that are rampant in 21st century America. Would your employer rather have you be productive for 40 hours a week or have you be on disability?


Sorry, this is a major pet peeve of mine. Yes these are tough economic times, but a lot of companies are doing badly simply because they've been managed poorly. Treating workers shoddily and working with a stretched-thin staff (and the resulting high turnover) is a good way to send your company down the tubes fast.

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I have not been in your situation, and can't really help you with a serious reply. But if it gives you a smile, I have a couple of phrases for you that might give you some hope until one of your gigs breaks through and makes it big:


"A dollar and a dream."

"You've gotta be in it to win it!"




I feel for you, brother, and your situation reminds me a little of how crazy my sleep and general life schedules were when each of my kids was an infant... :bor:


The exercise suggestion by Maury is a pretty good one. I feel better when I'm running regularly -- I also sleep better. You may even want to try something like yoga or tai chi, which should help you relax and improve your physical health.





Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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If your job is just a job, then after you get no clear answers on an 'end in sight' for the extra work, then look elsewhere. It's only a job and not worth the burnout and possible health issues. As compared to...


A career. If what you're doing is a passion and a career for you, then you may want to re-think the playing.


I don't know if you're married, committed, etc, but you will end up not doing too well for your significant others if you keep livin' on the edge and do a crash and burn.


As much as I like playing, when my wife deserted me and our kids (they were 13 and 14 at the time), I dropped the playing to almost 0. In my opinion, family is numero uno on priority list.


Probably not what you wanted to hear, but I really do hope something changes for you.

Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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Yer just gettin old. Time to eat right, drink plenty of fluids, exercise and ya know what? Yer just gonna get even older (hopefully.)


I don't play out nearly as much as I used to. If I did, I'd die. Those Friday gigs are getting to be a real hurdle. Go to work, rush home, sleep for 20 minutes, eat something and then out to boogie.


OTOH, playing is probably what IS keeping you sane. I've even tried no playing at all for a year or two here and there. I found that my sanity actually decreased and I still never got around to all of those pesky chores I should be doing.


I suggest you complain about it heavily and then play as much as you can/want to untill the day you can no longer pick up your bass cabinets

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Lee said that "no job is worth your health or sanity" and she's right. I've overextended myself and had to find a way to cut back. This is almost impossible to do, and didn't usually happen until I changed jobs (I'm in IT, so job changes are not unusual).


Lee and I respect each other, though we're on opposite sides of the coin in one respect. While I agree that no job is worth it, no band is worth it for me. My life is my family, and when music becomes more than a hobby it's an issue (of course you get times where you are going crazy, but it doesn't last). I'm pretty sure Ben would lean toward Lee's side than mine due to his own situation.


Along with the health-related suggestions above, think about alcohol as well. The nights out are "harder" after 5-6 beers.


How did I handle it when overwrought? My experience was (like Willie's) caused by the care of my colic son. Simple. I fell apart. Couldn't concentrate at work and screwed up. Barely said a civil word to my wife beyond whatever it took to care for the kids. It wasn't pretty, but it couldn't be helped. The screwups at work were two-sided - they didn't know how to manage at all, and I was suffering. In the end I changed jobs, my son started sleeping at night, and life improved.


Tough decisions ahead. Do your best to think about them, and you'll do what's really best for you.




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I don't think depriving yourself of sleep is a good idea.

Besides feeling like crap, I think you're doing yourself physical/psychological harm in the long run.

It might be wise to make some changes/compromises IMO.

Just do a Google search on "sleep deprivation". There are

some recent studies on the subject.

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Well when I'm really beat down I go to bed really early on my first night off during the week. That means that I have to suffer through Monday usually. For me though the band and the music is expendable before anything else. I have set a list of priorities in my life and they go like this.





So far Ive been able to keep these top 3 things going with no problems. Mainly because my wife is a saint!!


Double Posting since March 2002

Random Post Generator #26797

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I've worked the same job for 20 years. Up at 5:00am,home at 7:00-8:00 PM,80 mile round trip commute,high stress,high pay(thank goodness). There was a time when I played in four bands at once and gigged regularly with two of them. Gigged,rehearsed,or recorded every Friday,Saturday,and sometimes Sunday. Occasional weeknight rehearsals or recording sessions as well. They say that if you multi-task you never fully focus on anything. I regret not having been in one band for a long time. Much of my playing was a last minute call to sub for someone, which always frustrated me because,except for one CD with one band, I never had a chance to focus on one band and really develop something. Now I'm 44,overweight,and just found out I have obstructive sleep apnea which explains why I'm so tired all the time. My advice? Stay fit,eat well,get plenty of sleep,meditate. The universe is full of energy that is at your disposal. I find that playing music actually makes me feel better,it's tangible. Not playing music=depressed/playing music=energized and happy.
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Best thing to do is listen to what your body is telling you. I am guilty of burning the candle at both ends for extended periods of time too... and then sometimes I light it in the middle as well. Eventually you will either work out of some of the time commitments and/or you will burn out. Hopefully things will work out before you reach burn out stage. Burn out stage is not fun.


I recently went through a similar situation. The thing that helped me was to sit down and figure out what the most important stuff was that I was doing. Keep the most important stuff, and maybe cut some of the excess off; or put it on the list of "things that are first to go when burn out is eminent."

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How do those of you with day jobs manage to keep yourself sane with small amounts of sleep?


Easy! Have a kid or two first!


If you can put up with the demands a baby puts on you, day and night, while juggling the day job, then playing songs till 2 or 3 am a few nights per week is really a piece of cake!




As far as the job goes, let me share some hard learned lessons here. Maybe someone can profit from what I'm gonna give for free here.


I used to do that heavy demand job stuff some years ago. And as I faced deteriorating health and mental burn out, at the age of 26, from 5 years of pulling on-call, emergency work, traveling all over the province day and night, holidays, etc...I finally had to ask myself whether I'm enjoying this, whether THIS is what I dreamed about as I grew up.


I'll sooner quit a good paying yet stupidly organized job, take up even some crappy menial job for near minimum wage with regular hours, and keep my time (my freedom) where it's important. I've done it before to save my health, and I'll do it again if need be.


This was my thought process, more or less. I've been through all of this, and then some, and I'm at the other side, debt free, living in a small apartment with my small family.


It all starts at the root question - Why?


Everyone was telling me what to do, in the name of the corporation. Who gave them the authority? Why?


And what about ME telling ME what to do? Why?


I read Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said "Money often costs too much."


He's right. You just gotta STOP.




Give yourself time and permission to think about what you REALLY want, not what someone else's idea about what you should want. Apply that understanding to your current situation and ask yourself whether it's worth what you're going through, or can you make do with less and have more free time.


To do this, you gotta somehow pay off and permanently ditch those damned credit cards and the high living that stuff entails. Eat at home, not at restaurants. No more Latte's and fancy stuff. Brown bag your lunch.


If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Period.


Don't get GAS, don't get anything, just learn to start living within your means. Shop the Goodwill stores for casual clothes and kids toys. If you have land, plant a garden and grow some food.


It ain't a sin to be materially poor - some of the world's best folks have been materially poor but personally and spiritually wealthy.


So live simply and don't define or value yourself by the job you're hired for - value yourself because you're the only you in the whole world and nobody can do what you can do, the way you do it.


The consequence of this simple change in thought? No bruised ego when you downshift from an ego gratifying high paying job!


Consider bigger changes. Do you really need that 5000 sq. ft. house and the heating, upkeep and tax bills it entails? Or that big SUV and the insurance/fuel/maintenance it entails?


Your turn. Do you really need (fill in the blank)?


There's a reason why they're called "trappings", eh! You don't own them, they own you!


And who are you trying to impress? And why? You don't need anything to impress anyone - if someone needs impressing, they're awfully insecure and therefore can be completely ignored until they smarten up.


Your personal needs. Will a small apartment do? What about a used car, or even giving up the car altogether if you live in the city?


Face it. You're just a slave. A slave to the debt if you maintain those things, and you'll be miserable in the long run, exhausted by work, worry and the treadmill of debt.


Less = More.




Financial freedom = the ability to live reasonably well on as little money and as much brain power as possible.


Every bit of this happened to me over the last few years. High paying job, credit cards, new car, yadda yadda yadda. Lost my job in 2001, then lost most everything in the bankruptcy.


Moved out west, things didn't work out so well, and we came back to a new, albeit low paying job, only with what we could bring in the car. Everything else we abandoned because there was no way to haul it back.


Most every stick of furniture I have now was gathered from other people who wanted to either toss them out because they bought new furniture, or they were moving out.


My TV is used. My VCR is used. I don't have cable, just rabbit ears, and I don't miss cable at all. No cell phone, just a land line.


None of my basses are new. My amp? It's a Warwick CCL. I bought it for $495, broken. And I fixed it.


My computer is a 1997 Macintosh, bought used, from a used computer dealer, and the monitor is something someone tossed out, so I figured out what was wrong with it and have been using it ever since.


Even my car was bought from the junkyard for $900, and with the help of a mechanic relative we got it road worthy and it runs even today two years later (if you don't have a relative I hope you have a friend whose a mechanic, or you're good at it yourself even).


I haven't got a cent. I don't trust a cent and I don't want a cent.


But rest assured, I CAN give you a lift during a storm in a nice comfortable and warm car, feed you when you're hungry, clothe you when you're cold and play music for you when you're sad.


I hope someone can profit from my experience and begin to enjoy life.

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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Thanks for that post, GeorgeR. I'm sick of American culture telling me what I need in order to be happy. I mean, what do I *really* need? Food, shelter, companionship. Check. A hobby that brings me joy. Definitely got that. And maybe some wheels. Yep, I'm set.


So why is it that I feel like less of a man whenever someone asks me what my job is and I have to tell them that I deliver pizza? It's definitely not a fantastic job that I want to stick with forever, but it's low-stress, it pays the bills, it doesn't define who I am, and it allows me to pursue my real passion (music) more passionately than I'd be able to if I had more of a "career." Shouldn't I be happy to be in the situation I'm in? I should be. I really should. It's *society* that's telling me I can't possibly be happy. If I lived on the streets of some war-torn African country, my unattainable dream might be to be an American musician who also gets to deliver pizza.


Yeah, I'd say I've got it pretty good.


P.S. GeorgeR, I haven't heard you play and I don't know what kind of music you're into, but I'd say your lifestyle and way of thinking is definetly "funky." :thu:

All your bass are belong to us!
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ben- Are you single? If so its just a mattter of changing some time habits. Power Napping works. take 30-45 minutes in the early afternoon. Get some good shoes and walk 30-45 minutes a day. Do this for two weeks and you will be surprised at the extra energy. Drink green tea instead of coffee.
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George R, we are some of the very few who subscribe to the philosophy you laid out in this thread. That was good to read, and I hope for the people that are trapped in the "American Dream" finally get a clue that raising 2.5 kids, getting the degrees, and always striving for the most money doesn't make the heart happy. They have subscribed to an endless tail-chasing endevour that will one day make them say, "Damn, I wish I'd spent more time with my family, than at the office"


I could write so much more, but suffice to say, I gave up the rat race and have never looked back. And I've never, ever been so content with life.


GrooveMouse, you're right about not believing the hype. Only you know what can make you happy. The rest, the 'average' American, may never realize these things until it's too late.


For those teachers, stars, sports figures, etc, who whine about not having enough money, I got news for ya. My girlfriend and I make less than the figures for a school teacher quoted earlier, and yet we still put money away in the bank. I would submit to teachers, stars, etc, that you be started out slightly above minimum wage. THEN we'll see just who the dedicated are to their respective sport, entertainment, or career path, and weed out who is in it for the money. The material crap, and biggest and baddest, don't mean squat, folks. I've tried it....it doesn't work. Back then, I believed the hype, tried following what is supposed to be the path to happiness, and I was totally immersed in it. Best thing I ever did was look at what the 'average' person was doing, and do the opposite.


Life is what happens while you're busy making plans.

Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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high protein diet like a Peanut butter sandwhich (thats is right only peanut butter) eggs in the morning and try to get some exercise like go running or swiming for an hour if it can be done
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fig - the saddest thing I ever had tried to partake in was a few years ago.


I went to meet a guy who was looking for someone to hook up with, for playing songs. Ok, sounds interesting enough. Get his directions on paper, but they're wrong (he thought I was coming from the east instead of the north) so it took me about 20 minutes longer to find his place.


So I show up in my old beater, bringing my one 5 string bass in a gig bag, and my little bity 15 watt practice bass amp. Holy crap, what a house! One of five, the whole cluster on it's own little cul de sac! Mega house, interlocking stones for the front entrance. New car in the drive way, and himself out back watering the plants. Given housing prices here, I'm guessing that place set him back about $5-600,000.


Anyway, I apologize for being late and not wanting to make him feel bad about giving me lousy directions I make some little white excuse. He gets all huffy and stuff, like it's some big business meeting I'm late for, or something about being inefficient. He cops a bad attitude and becomes argumentative, etc...(Turns out later on, he's some high power exec for AT&T Canada or some huge telecom place like that, and a bit of a control freak to say the least.)


I say nothing, having heard it all before. He's mad - no sense in me being mad too. He leaves me waiting and after he's done watering his flowers, he shows me into his practice room. We chat a bit first and he's single, doesn't want anybody in his life, so (in his own words) "he doesn't have to share his stuff". I tell him I'm married, have a young son, show the picture of my son, etc...


He looks at the picture of my son, with little emotion on his face.


In his house (more like mansion) he's got separate rooms for everything, expensive leather furniture in each room, statues, art on the walls, and in this practice room, he's got racks around the whole room full of effects and amps, and racks of gear, about 25 guitars on each. Man, it looks like a bloody music store! Some people have way too much money on their hands!


So after we finish chatting, we get down to music. I've never seen anyone downshift from "know it all" to "D-Uh" so fast, not ever! He may have set a new land speed record for this!


He only knows about 5 chords on his Strat, and he plays the same pattern over and over. Never varying it, never daring to make a change, never improvising or anything. I'm thinking to myself "Oh God, this is gonna be a baby sitting session, I just feel it."


So based on this he wants to tackle his favorite songs on the CDs he likes (the kind of stuff that gets played on the jazz radio stations, I forget the titles since it's been a few years). Picture: he puts some of this much more complicated stuff on the CD and starts wanking away on those same old chords trying to make it fit. :freak:


Well, he asks what I thought, and not wanting to be rude to my host, I just ask him to put it back on and turn it down so I can hear me (my bitty amp can't match his system). So I hear the song for the second time in my life, and just pick up and start playing, improvising along to whatever parts catch my fancy, be it trumpet, guitar, piano, etc...just making it "fit", you know.


Hell, I don't know the song. I don't remember it to this day. But you just hear something and you make a go of it.


Buddy sits there, picking up his jaw from the floor. He didn't think a bass could do those sounds, follow the parts of other instruments. I said "Of course it can! Why not!?!" Then I let him in on some of my secret weapon - I put some of my Vic Wooten CDs on and just sit back, and listen to the master himself. Man, his jaw was like something out of a Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon!


Long story short - after I left, he never called me back. He didn't feel comfortable being "shown up" by "someone who drove a jalopy like mine" (his words). He was such a pitiful, lonely man, with all the toys and all the money to buy them with. He was embarrassed when I parked my old car in his driveway, that's for sure. Hey, it's a good car, it runs well and it doesn't leak or anything! It's just old and has rust on it here and there!


But his money can't buy him companionship or the confidence to try to expand his talents. Sometimes I wonder if he's still trying to figure it out. Then I remember his own words about sharing and figure he's better off making the big bucks, so I don't worry about him.


I've seen it all before. Hell, I'm even old friends with the daughter and son in law of the guy who founded a well known international furniture company (no names please). Those two fly all over the place every few months. They love going to Australia and often boast of the climate there, and complain about coming back to Canada. We got to spend some time at his "cottage" (picture a log castle in the middle of nowhere with all of the gadgets and comforts).


It may not sound very nice to say this, and I really don't mean any disrespect because without these things I would still be his and her friend. But never before have I seen such BORING and unimaginative people living so unappreciatively in such extravagant surroundings! Nobody has any fun. Look but don't touch!




Goes to show, money really doesn't buy happiness!

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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Do you see any light at the end of the tunnel? Is any of this useful?


Any way to build some flexibility into your schedule like robb. suggested -- like a little less work on weekdays in exchange for a few hours of work on the weekends? How's your diet and your water intake -- also suggestions from above?


From your original post it sounds like you're getting in some napping and some exercise, so that's good, but you've gotta be able to find "the balance" somewhere, and it should include a decent night's sleep as often as possible.






Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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