Working Girl (or The Secrets of Day Jobs)

As much as I wish I could survive on the money I make from acting, right now, that isn’t a reality for me. Hopefully it will be in the future, but for now, I work a bunch of random jobs to pay the bills.

I have my main job which is working membership and ticket sales at a performing arts center on the westside. But that job is seasonal.  But right now, we have no idea when the season will be ending.

It’s put me in a weird spot. It seems like all of my co-workers seemed to have lined up other jobs already. But my other co-workers are not actors, so they don’t have the same issues with jobs that I do.

I need a job that pays enough but at the same time has the option of leaving for auditions or booked acting work when I have them. So many jobs in LA don’t want to hire actors for that reason. But I hate having to tell jobs that I’m going to the dentist/doctor/car repair shop in order to leave for auditions. This job lets me go and I’m not willing to lose that.

I’m lucky at my job now. I’ve also got my substitute teaching credential and the option to go back to the district I used to work for. I also do random side jobs like babysitting and personal organizing.

Why am I saying all of this? Because I find that actors are super secretive about their day jobs. I don’t know if they are embarrassed to say what they are doing or they just want you to believe that they are making their entire living on acting, but for a majority of actors that I know, I have no idea how they pay their bills.

There are some exceptions. I have a friend who works for Nielsen checking advertising before films and working at screenings. I have one friend who owns their own business and is very successful at it. I know of a few people who are waiters or temps. And there is the odd friend of mine who does make their entire living by acting, and they share how tough it can be for them.

When I was looking for a job earlier this year to get out of a bad job, I looked for so long. And I told everyone that I knew I was looking for work. But other actors seemed so guarded when it came to day jobs. Most people just told me that it’s hard to find a day job. No guidance into what types of jobs are best or anything. I don’t know why actors aren’t willing to help each other with this part of life. Maybe they don’t want other actors taking the types of work that they want?

But I believe in being fully honest about my life. I’ve discussed my credit card debit and my eating disorder. And I don’t want anyone to think that right now, I’m lucky enough to be able to not have a day job. I’m struggling with whether or not I need to be looking for a new job. I feel so lucky to have found the one I’m in right now, and I want to come back next year for another season. And I know that unemployment is always an option if necessary when the season does end for this job.

But I feel so lucky and grateful to have found such an actor-friendly day job, I wonder if I could get lucky again. The fear of having another bad day job is paralyzing. So for now, I’m sticking with my current job and trying to not let uncertainty get to me.

3 responses to “Working Girl (or The Secrets of Day Jobs)

  1. What an interesting choice for a career 🙂 What is the best acting job you’ve had so far?

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