From a pretty young age, I have had my mind made up that whatever I do for a career, I will do something that I love. In a world which is so full of uncertainty, what is the point spending years studying something just ‘because it has good career prospects’ if don’t like doing it? If you love what you do and it has good career prospects then whoopee for you, you’re sorted. But I’m willing to bet that for most people, it’s not that easy. The average Briton will spend around 92,000 hours at work throughout their life. Some will spend many more. Does anyone want to spend 92,000 hours doing something they find boring and monotonous?
In a week’s time I will be leaving my two studenty type jobs (teaching kids to dance and bartending) to finish my final show in training and then move to London. And I feel I’m in a bit of a predicament. Because I have to try and get a full time job, and preferably one which isn’t gonna crush my soul. I realise I probably sound like an absolute brat right now. But the thought of waking up everyday and dreading going to work actually makes me feel anxious inside. Is life not way too short for that!? Did I just train for four years to wait tables!? No offence to anyone who waits tables.
But, of course, life is overwhelming when you have to pay for headshots and haircuts and phone contracts and singing lessons and dance classes and spotlight and equity and rent and bills and clothes and contact lenses and make up and an emergency dermatologist for when your skin breaks out the night before an audition and a puppy for when you’re feeling lonely and a few rooftop cocktails (the last few things may not be strictly essential). And so that job you said you were only gonna do for a couple of months becomes a few more months, and then they ask you to cover a supervisor for a couple of weeks, and before you know it you’re the assistant manager of Pizza Express. WHICH BY THE WAY IS A PERFECTLY WONDERFUL JOB… But personally? It’s not my dream. And I’m scared of getting too comfortable.
Here’s the thing. When you’re a graduate, especially a graduate of something as unpredictable as musical theatre, nothing is going to just fall into your lap. You have to keep honing your skills and being proactive and then MAYBE something might happen. Some people are lucky enough to have work lined up for when they leave, but most are not. And so, in order to pay for all those dance classes and singing classes and audition outfits and the privilege of living in London; yes, you may have to do something that is not your ultimate dream job for a little while. But while you’re working somewhere that may be less than ideal, you have to think of it as enabling yourself to plan the next part of your life. The main thing I hope to do is keep moving.
So, what do I do now? I think the lesson here is that you must do what you love. But that thing that you love doesn’t necessarily have to be the thing that earns you money. At least not straight away. And then you just work really hard to make that the thing that supports you, but you have to accept that it may not happen straight away. And that’s ok. As long as you stay active, stay creative and don’t give up. Even if you find that your dreams are slightly different to what you thought they were. There is always something better round the corner. You just have to go looking for it. In the meantime, you’ll find me at Pizza Express.
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