Day Job: A Love Story

Sep 25, 2009 by     No Comments    Posted under: Thousands of Stories

Once upon a time there was a young lad named Joe. Joe was a fresh-faced college graduate ready to tackle the theatre world the moment he arrived in Chicago, but Chicago had other plans. Soon, Joe realized just how hard life in the city could be. Unlike his hometown in Colorado, Chicago was very expensive. His desire to find a paying job in the theatre industry quickly crumbled, and he realized that he’d have to find any job he could just to survive! So Joe looked and looked, but nobody was hiring! Eventually, he was taken in by a family-owned Italian restaurant, where they gave him an apron and a chance to earn a living.

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At first, Joe felt terrible. “This isn’t why I’m here,” Joe thought. He had always abhorred the cliche anecdote of the struggling actor who waited tables, but here he was living that cliche! And with every day that passed, he grew more and more unhappy with his life. As a result, his artistic output came to a screeching halt. Friends and family were continuously asking how his auditions were going, but he wasn’t auditioning. He wasn’t get headshots taken. He wasn’t writing much music. His tanking confidence, combined with a long Chicago winter, left him sitting alone in his suffocating studio apartment night after night desperately fighting the urge to give up and move back home.

He made the difficult decision to stick to his guns.

Time passed. Joe got more comfortable with his new city. Soon, he started to see some silver linings. His restaurant job, which he had once viewed as a hindrance, actually afforded him moderate financial stability. Plus, the hours he worked left him plenty of time during evenings and weekends to pursue the arts. Joe recognized that the circumstances he had once hated were actually pushing him towards what he wanted to be doing: acting.

It was all the nudge he needed.

Actors: A little wiggle room is a valuable asset, especially if you’ve just moved to a new city. If we incessantly hold ourselves to our own ultra-high standards at gunpoint, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of strong-willed determination. But just because we live for the dramatic doesn’t mean we can’t be sensible about it. If you’ve gotta take a non-theatrical day job to make ends meet, take it and don’t look back. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

So thank you, day job. You rock.

That said, I can’t wait to break up with you someday.

~JVB