When I first got to Chicago, I wanted a job. Any job. I had moved to pursue acting, but I couldn’t be an actor without money.
When I first got to Chicago, I wanted a job. Any job. I had moved to pursue acting, but I couldn’t be an actor without money. So I applied anywhere and everywhere.
My first gig was at a toy store. I made $8.50 an hour. The staff and customers were kind, but the job didn’t excite me. Between the pay and my desire to do a bit more exciting work, I needed a change.
I got an office job. I was a receptionist. (I know. Not very exciting.) I made $9.00 an hour and worked 40 hours a week. With a few exceptions, both the staff and the clients here were not too kind and caring….I very much needed a change.
I worked as a tour guide…and needed more consistent hours.
I got a full-time office job with benefits….and needed more flexible hours.
I worked as a waiter….and needed to find my sanity after every shift.
I was making progress. But there always was something more.
While this journey looks a bit frustrating, there was actually an interesting theme going on: With each new job came a new need. The new need helped me get me closer towards discovering a job that would make it easier to act. But I didn’t know the new need existed until after starting the new job. While painful at times, I was stretching and growing. I was discovering more about myself.
After stretching a bit more (while experiencing a plethora of discomfort), I found there were three needs that were non negotiable for me:
1. I needed a job that paid me enough. If I couldn’t pay my bills, I couldn’t act.
2. I needed a job that gave me a flexible schedule. If I didn’t have the time - I really couldn’t act.
3. I needed a job that kept me sane. If I wasn’t happy - I really, really couldn’t act.
When I first arrived to Chicago, I didn’t realize I needed all three things. In fact, I’ve encountered other actors who can get by with just one or two of these. And some of them have other needs they want filled based on their situation. (For example: Some of them just need money and security because they have a family to provide for.) These needs were unique to me. While I still don’t like to admit it, I needed to go through the discomfort in order to better discover them.
Discovering your own unique needs is a rewarding experience. It also allows you to see each opportunity as a necessary step. This is a much better outlook than considering yourself a failure because it didn’t give you what you ultimately wanted in the moment. Start becoming aware of your own needs and find ways to enjoy the journey….I promise, it’s a lot more fun this way.
Let’s go get ‘em, friends.