“How is it that at 27 I haven’t settled into a career?” I scream as I obsessively update LinkedIn. “Look here Blah Blah is already a junior exec at (insert high-powered company here).” I sheepishly press connect . Who’s the know it all that said being a college graduate was easy? Doctors, teachers, and lawyers that’s who. And everyone whose path is an “a + b= instant career clarity”. Dear Life: It would appear that I have hit a wall.
I studied film acting my first love second only to theatre. Like many young ingenues I dreamed one day I would achieve stardom. Naturally I moved to “LA Baby” with a very narrow minded vision of what it meant to be a working actor. After I moved I suddenly realized I was in over my head. I questioned if I had what it took to make it. No…I questioned if I had the will to suffer financially for the sake of my art. Not to mention everyone around me tried to convince me I was making a mistake. My talent, dreams, and ambitions was never discussed. I was however repeatedly reminded that the success rate for an actor was extremely low. Essentially I became a deer in headlights. I didn’t invest in headshots, acting classes, or push myself to find an agent. I simply did background work and after three months of The Secret Life of the American Teenager I fell into production.
I’ll skip the details of my career (or lack thereof), it’s on LinkedIn. Lets just say I felt as though I was betraying myself by sitting behind a desk. And yet five years later I’m still sitting behind a desk exhausted at the fact that I haven’t pursued anything, hence the ongoing frustration with LinkedIn.
I used to believe I had no talents and that I was only good at acting. I’m not sure where this came from (that’s a lie but to get it out of me, you’ll have to buy me some coffee), it’s been a complex. Once I realized this thinking was self-destructive it freed me to look access my life with more clarity. I began obsessively journaling and asking myself: what were the things I enjoyed in previous jobs? When was I happiest and more importantly what other things do I like to do? I needed to know. I needed to breakdown the pieces of my life and realize it’s okay for me to say acting is just a hobby and no I’m not looking to make it a career. No! I am not a failure because I didn’t end up with an Oscar or on a television show. I needed to tell myself it was okay to change my story because this was my story and I was secretly ashamed that I wasn’t pursuing my craft and that I hadn’t “made it”.
This has been the hardest introspection I’ve ever faced. I am looking at myself almost daily so when I make my next move it’s clear where I’m going. Stay tuned, I’ve got more career game coming at you in my next post “Rejection…the Breakfast of Champions!”