Also: Don’t quit your day job.
The idiom ‘Don’t give up your day job’ is used in a humorous way to tell someone you do not think they are very good at something.
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Examples of Use
Although this expression is supposed to be funny, when you say it to a person, don’t expect them to laugh.
“I’ve only been playing guitar for a few days! What do you think? asked Larry. “Don’t give up your day job,” replied Russell.
“Check out this vase I made in pottery class!” said Alice. “That’s swell,” said Dean, but if I were you I wouldn’t give up my day job.”
To understand the origin of “don’t give up your day job” we have to understand the term day job. Of course, most of us have jobs that are carried out during the day, so why the term day job?
Day job refers to a job that someone does to make money so they can do something else that they love to do but which they do not make much money doing. For example, many aspiring actors have ‘day jobs.’ Now, we can understand the origin of the idiom, as when someone is doing something, such as singing, acting, writing, or anything they love doing but are not being paid for, and they are not very good at it. This phrase is not usually used when someone actually wishes to become a professional at something other than their day job, as the idiom is meant to be humorous and to dash someone’s dreams is not considered very funny.
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