145: How to Draw Creative Inspiration from Your Day Job: Interview with John Weiss

It’s hard for some people to believe, but you don’t have to choose between your day job and your dream job. The two can complement each other in ways you never imagined possible.

145: How to Draw Creative Inspiration from Your Day Job: Interview with John Weiss

When you think of a cartoonist, you probably don’t think of somebody with a Masters degree in criminal justice administration. A creative life of making satirical art doesn’t jive with running a police department. On the surface, these two occupations seem at odds with one another.

But that’s just what this week’s guest on The Portfolio Life did for over 25 years. John Weiss is a former police chief who pursued his passions of cartooning, painting and writing while working in law enforcement.

Now that John is retired, he is a full-time artist painting landscapes, drawing cartoons, and writing a weekly art column.

Listen in as John and I talk about how he navigated the tension between creative expression and police work by letting his day job and dream job inspire each other.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, John and I discuss:

  • Drawing political cartoons in college
  • If he regrets getting a “real” job
  • How a day job compliments artistry
  • Confronting stereotypes of artists and law enforcement officers
  • How a creative background made him better at police work
  • A funny story about getting pulled over
  • Pivoting to different art forms to accommodate career growth
  • When he stopped apologizing for being an artist


  • A day job compliments your artistry.
  • Creativity and artfulness are necessary skills.
  • Life gives you inspiration for writing.
  • Going viral isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Stand out by creating great work.

Jeff Goins

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Click here to download a free PDF of the complete interview transcript.

How can your creative passion inform your day job? Have you ever considered your day job as a source of inspiration? Share in the comments.

5 thoughts on “145: How to Draw Creative Inspiration from Your Day Job: Interview with John Weiss

  1. Very interesting podcast @jeffgoins:disqus, there are many people who struggle with having two different lives. One making their living and the other making their lives worth while. It’s a struggle because sometimes, we love our jobs and the people are great. They show us who we are, how to find who we are, and doing so without even trying to.

    It really brings things into perspective when you hear it from someone else. With that, Thanks, Jeff and thanks John.

    1. Chris- I like what you wrote about our jobs and coworkers: “They show us who we are…” So true. My Dad used to say that work helps us grow. Thanks for listening and best wishes with your creative pursuits!

  2. I really really loved this podcast and it came at a time when I really needed it.

    I chose to get a job that is somewhat related to writing, even though it is not exactly creative writing, because I thought that was the closest, ‘stable’ job that I could get to it but I am really not enjoying it and I think in some ways it is hindering my creativity. So now I am considering taking a step back and maybe pursuing another career that is not really related to writing but could actually end up helping me with my creative writing in my own time .

    Thanks so much for showing us that your day job and artistry can be different and yet inspire and complement each other.


    1. Emily- A belated thanks for your comments and for listening to the Podcast. You are absolutely right, your day job just might help you become a better writer by expanding your experiences and perspectives. Best of luck with your writing!

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