• Riddhi Malhotra

What is it like to not work a full time job


One of the many Watercolor Doodles I made in my sketchbook during my break

It’s been more than four months since I left my last job. While it has been a whirlwind of loss, grief, pain and not really the kind of break that I had ever imagined taking, I did get a taste of what it would be like to not wake up in the morning, get dressed and go to a day job. Very soon, I start my new job, and will go back to the grind of spending the whole day in an artificially lit, weather proof, grey-speckled walled confined space, depleting my Vitamin D. 


Since I started working ten years ago, I’ve always given my 100% at my job. “Never slack at your job, but don’t let it become your whole life.” I did the very best I could, but I never spent one extra minute on it. I’ve come across a lot of people who would choose to work on weekends, even when the work didn’t require them to. “What else is there to do?” - That’s something I never could wrap my head around. There is SO much to do! And only two days to do all of it in. This made me (probably wrongly) conclude that I wanted to be doing for my job, what I was choosing to do on the weekends. I got a little preview of what life would be like if I did choose that life.


A few things I noticed: 

  • I LOVE daylight and the sun. Getting to see daylight would probably almost be worth giving up all that money for. 

  • My habit of painting either early in the morning or late at night did not change. I could not get myself to paint during the day even if I had the time. 

  • I noticed a dearth of painting ideas. Turns out staying at home all day doesn’t give you a lot of inspiration. Also, the fact that I could paint any time meant that I didn’t paint at all on most days.

  • I noticed money, for the first time. Because even though I had savings, they weren’t getting any bigger every month. 

I also discovered a few things about myself:

  • If I ever quit my job to pursue art, knowing myself, I would probably find something else (like playing the piano, or singing) that would then become my “passion”, while art was my “job”, and I would be chasing that, and the cycle would continue forever. 

  • If I spent all my time at home, I would get so obsessed with everything being perfect in the house that I wouldn't get any time to paint! I would forever be trying to put things in their place, and trying to reach that elusive and unnecessary perfection.

  • If an introvert like me were to ever work for myself, I know I would make absolutely no effort to interact with people other than my family and close friends. And I know that would make me miserable.

I’m soon going to back to making business decisions, writing briefs, working on excel sheets, but what’s different this time is that I’ve never before gotten a chance to miss it! And turns out, I do miss it. I’m sure it’s temporary, and in no time I’ll go back to day dreaming about being a self employed artist, but isn’t that how life always is? Moreover, I’m socially starved right now, which is perfect  because all the guards I usually have up are now gone and I’m truly excited about meeting new people. If I’m ever meant to be a self employed artist, I’m sure it will happen. But now is not the time for that, and I’m happy about it. :)

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