from Camille and Lucy Arnez
To me "day job" means No Homework. A job that doesn't follow you into the shower, doesn't stay in your head no matter what else you're doing. A job where you clock out at the end of a shift and never give it a moment's thought until you clock in the next day. Your evenings are free for family, friends, hobbies, entertainment. All you have to do to get ready for the next day is pack a lunch and be sure you have clean socks.
I've had only one day job in my adult life, and it was miserable.
I was in a 'tween time, nearly 40, getting a divorce from the Catholic Church (no alimony). My first choice, a teaching position, was hard to come by, so I took a job at a factory that made washers.
Day after day, I sat at a belt, in front of a heavy duty industrial punch, with a woman on my left, who fed me long strips of plastic, and a woman on my right who took my punched-out washers and packaged them. I forget how. (That's how it is with real day jobs; there's no reason to remember details.)
Sometimes I'd forget this was only a day job, and ask questions. Where do these washers end up? How are they used? Is there an endless need for this size washer? Is there a better way to do this job? No one knew. No one cared. Not even the foreman. Certainly not my colleagues on the line.
A top-heavy silver wagon came by at 10 am with breakfast pastry, at noon with sandwiches, and at 3 with afternoon snacks. A whistle blew to start the day, at the beginning and end of breaks, and at the end of the shift. I'd never been so bored and haven't been since.
I'd been hired through a temp service and I was good at it (i.e., so bored that I worked faster than anyone there). The foreman told me he was willing to pay the agency to bring me on as a permanent employee.
I believe that's what frightened me into more aggressive shopping for a job that would keep me busy both day and night. Next stop: a stint as a paralegal. Not a day job. I had homework again. Like physics. Like teaching. Like writing.
I realize things could have been worse at that washer factory. Like this, for example.