Side jobs suck. There's no way to dice it. They can drain your time and can make you feel like a sack of shit because you're tray passing tuna tartar to the girl who you tested against last season for the role in that hot new TV show. Now her dreams are all laid out in front of her and you're getting her another glass of the Chardonnay - "Make sure your tie is straight! We can't have our waitstaff looking sloppy." *insert eye roll here* It's the worst. Now, don't get me wrong: I am incredibly thankful for the money. It allows me to live in LA, take classes, go out with my friends (sometimes) and now, pay for a wedding. It just sucks when you are literally watching people who have exactly what you want and you are on the outside looking in thinking "why not me?" So how do you keep your motivation in those situations?
1. Remember why you're doing it
This is a big one for me. I am currently working a band ambassador (BA) job for a big corporate company and it's great pay but the hours are long, the job is located in high tourist areas and the people, frankly, suck. Yesterday - during a 13.5 hour shift, yep, 13.5 hrs - I lost it and started crying. Luckily I was working with a fellow actress who totally got it and she was so sweet. She herself was on the verge of tears and we asked ourselves multiple times "Why the hell are we doing this to ourselves?" and then remembered May and June are super slow for auditions. Pilot season is over and everyone is gearing up to go on vacation before episodic season starts. So why no stockpile some money why we have the time? I have a wedding to pay for and I want to get back into class (I've taken a two month hiatus). So working this job is fueling my dream. It is worth it. Even if it doesn't feel right.
2. Make sure you're spending your off-time working on your art, not slacking
It is so tempting to when you get home from a long shift or when you have a day off to nap, watch TV, or spend all day scrolling the different social media platforms. You feel that you've earned this because you don't have an audition today and you worked three doubles back to back, right? I'm not going to say "wrong" because you do need some down time, but if you spend it all just chillin' you won't get anything done with your art/career and when you have to go back to your shitty side job you'll feel even more drained and mad at yourself that this is becoming your life. So make sure to spend time working on the thing you want to be doing. For example: I am writing this post before I go work a 10 hour shift for this big corporate brand ambassador job. I'm going to feel better about dedicating my whole Sunday to corporate America's greed because I spent 20 minutes this morning working on my art. Creating. Doing what I NEED to do. It makes the side job just a touch more bearable.
3. Your side job is your JOB not your LIFE
When you're hustling everyday just to make enough money to live in a city like Los Angeles or New York, it's easy to get stuck in a rut. You get up, get ready, go to work, deal with dumb shit that is not what you want to be doing, head home, shower, make dinner, play with your cat for five minutes and then hit the hay because you are so tired. When did you have time for your art? You didn't and it feels like shit. When you feel like that it's important to remind yourself that this is you JOB not your LIFE. You are doing this job to fuel your life. Get up 20 minutes earlier and write a page or two (even if they suck, just get it out), draw for a second or look up casting news on Deadline - do something to remind yourself that you are working towards your dream and your job is just that: a job.
4. It's temporary.
"Everything comes to an end." - Apparently some ancient proverb. What you are doing right now will end. What you're feeling right now will end. This is something to keep in mind when you're working a soul-crushing side job (and there are ohhhhh so many of them in LA). But! Remember, it is temporary. This is a means to an end. This is not THE end.
5. At the end of the day, it fuels what you love.
Do you have those friends who live in wherever-you-came-from-small-town-USA who you know are working that job they HATE but have to do it because that's all that's available to them? Yeah? Well guess what - that's not you! You got out. You are living your dream. Your are pursuing what sets your soul on fire. You are doing it. So what if you have to bust your ass a little bit to make that dream happen? Everyone has to work hard in life (well, most everyone). So would you rather be doing it in Small Town, USA working in a desk job you hate but keep because it's comfortable? Or! Would you rather work nights and weekends so you get to pursue your dream? Thank goodness you have one! That is a gift! And you need to treat it that way. Because this side of the dream- while not glamorous and super hard - is temporary and you're doing great!
Oh hey there
Thank you for stopping by. My name is Ansley and I am a creative being. With not much to show for it. Feel the same?! Welcome! For all of you artists out there who are just hanging in there - this is for you!