Are you one of those actors who hate your day job?
Are you one of those actors who hate your day job and wish you could not have to do it?
I’ve talked with so many actors who complain about their day jobs, and long for the day when they can leave it for good and act full time. That’s when they will feel successful, they say. A lot of energy, frustration, feelings of failure, and incompleteness is in that conversation, as well as the energy and consciousness that the actor then walks around with.
So, let’s have a reality check. Most artists have an A and B job. It is just the way it is in our culture. Back in the day of the huge communist countries, the government supported artists, provided for them so they could be artists. In America, it’s different, we are a capitalistic country and you have to support yourself. Trust me, as romantic as it may sound that Russian artists had it made, they had their challenges as well.
So let’s deal and talk about that. Most artists have an A and B job. That’s just the way it is. Accept it. I’d like to encourage you to embrace it if that’s the situation you’re in.
Most other professionals only have A jobs. A school teacher will go to college, get a degree in teaching, and then find a job in an educational institution and work their job. It is what they do. They don’t necessarily get a B job (unless they have other reasons). That is their life. An accountant the same, gets and education, finds a job in accounting, and that is their A job. Engineers, nurses, lawyers, doctors, etc, these people may change their A job from time to time, move up, get promoted, but that is their A job and their life. A B job would only be for additional income, and what usually happens is instead of a B job they get what I call a B hobby. Yes, they pick up a hobby and it becomes their B job. Most professional occupations live this way of life.
As actors, part of the lifestyle is that you have both an A job and B job. The A job is of course your acting career, you are in business and that is your life’s work. You have a B job to support your A job until your A job makes it to a level where it can sustain you.
It’s science, it is gravity, learn to accept it, and if you can, embrace it. You B job servs your A job. Even those who get a lot of work as actors, sometimes they need to go back to their B job in lean times, or when things are slow. Get over it and get it. Don’t let it discourage you.
The challenge is to keep your A job a priority and create the B job to serve the A job.
What I often see is this:
The B job becomes very lucrative and the actor increases his lifestyle and now needs the B job to sustain the lifestyle. The A job gets compromised. Yes, the money is tempting, but the lifestyle can kill the A job. Sometimes security shows up in the B job and then there is a tough decision to make.
If you can get a handle of this perspective and psychology, you won’t get broken when either business slows down, or you have to get up to do that B job. Your work is to find the balance, come to peace with it, and appreciate it. You might even enjoy the life of being an actor in LA. That is my wish for you, that you have a healthy, positive energy on it. Embrace the lifestyle - it is respectful, honest, and enviable by many who only have A jobs.
Post originally published on May 23 on the NoHo Arts District Blog: