Here in Santa Fe, you have to have a second (or third) job that supports your art and does good in the world. My daughter calls these "Superhero Jobs." Sometimes the name fits because your first job is working at a newspaper, like Peter Parker and Clark Kent.
At my last web-design job, the programmer toured England playing the mandolin, the office manager had a thriving craniosacral practice, the production designer was the bass player in a post-punk band, I wrote and directed short films, and a content provider sang blues professionally. If we hadn't had to actually create a website for our boss, we could have contracted a manager and played Vegas.
In our town, this is normal. In fact, it's so normal, we get complacent; we don't expect to get paid for our after-business-hours "meaningful work." I crewed up a short film with 17 of the best hard-working grips and gaffers and only paid the price of insurance. But that's also because even though Santa Fe has the lowest unemployment rate, we also have the lowest rate of pay, period. Half your salary is the sky. And you bet we take the tme to cash in those sky dollars. No matter how long you've lived here—and I've been here almost 30 years—you still pull off to the side of the road and whip out your point-and-shoot for a double rainbow.
I'm determined to make my next job my Superhero job. It may be social networking for a new studio startup, or digging up worm bedding to sell at the farmers' market, or writing a libretto from my favorite science fiction novel. It's time the universe started paying us back in more than scattered lightwaves and dust particles.