My Daughter dreams of becoming a lawyer. One of her friends wants to be a research chemist. Another wants to be a computer engineer. These are not easy dreams, but with planning and work they are fairly accessible. No one thinks they will be easy jobs, but they have an interest and plan of pursuing them. But when someone says “dream job” these are not the sort of job that you hear about: if someone says dream job, they are probably talking about a glamour job.
What is a glamour job? Acting, news reporter, influencer….American Idol caused a stir because it allowed everyday people to pursue their dream of becoming a recording artist. Get up every week, sing a song, capture the attention of the nation, become a working musician. Be a star.
I understand why people like these types of jobs. They look fun. Who doesn’t want to spend days acting on an exotic set, with a food truck right there with you, to get you anything you want to eat. But let’s talk reality: becoming an actor is a very difficult road. I live in a city where being waitstaff is not a career: it’s a placeholder till you get a job on Broadway. When you actually become an actor, it’s still hard work. You’re battling for parts, auditioning, studying lines, studying dialect. You have to pray that you don’t piss off a casting agent, because if you do, you’ll never work in this town again. You need to constantly work on your physical appearance, because no matter what anyone says…looks matter. You could get laid off at any moment: there is less than no job security.
If you do make it, the pressure is really on, because you must keep up with people who are taller, smarter, funnier, younger… And you’re always on. I know it seems glamourous to have people recognize you, but how about if that happens all the time? My daughter used to take gymnastics with the daughter of an award winning actress: how would you like to be leaving the gym to be photographed? At 10am, in your sweats, because along with being an award winning actress, you are also a Mom? Most famous actors in NYC walk around with sunglasses and baseball caps because sometimes they just need to pick up a quart of milk or walk their dog, and they don’t want to take a million selfies or talk to crowds.
My cousin plays guitar for a famous musician. While he loves when they are actually playing, the hours spent in the studio recording are brutal. Then touring nine months a year. It sounds nice, and it is wonderful, until it isn’t. Living out of a suitcase gets tiring after awhile. You miss your girlfriends birthday, or your best friends wedding….there are drawbacks to everything.
These occupations are glamourous, but they are also a lot of work. They can be boring. Ask an actor who appears in a scripted TV show how many actors learn to knit, because it’s an easy hobby to have when you are sitting waiting to tape for hours at a time…
One of my friends is a director of TV commercials. In many ways it is his dream job, and mostly he loves it. Except dealing with the crew, and the client, and the budget. Having to play teacher, doctor, friend and therapist to a whole lot of people. He loves it…he doesn’t want to do anything else…but that doesn’t mean it’s not work.
And what about the whole “Star” thing?
Do you want to act, sing, model, or do you want to be a star?
We have an acquaintance who is an actor, and has been steadily working for about thirty years, yet, no one has ever heard of him. He does commercials, occasionally has a line on NYC based TV shows, and understudies many roles on Broadway. He has never shot a pilot, nor been the original cast member of a play, yet he loves his job. He loves getting the chance to act, no matter what capacity it’s in. He doesn’t care about being a star. (it also helps that his wife is financially successful)
Contrast this to my friend who was a minor rocker. His band did a few albums, opened for some bands, traveled some. But what he realized when he hung up his guitar after being a musician for thirteen years was that he really wanted to be a ROCK STAR, with all the trappings that are associated with it. The music didn’t matter as much as seeing his name at the top of the billboard…True, he supported himself playing music, but he still didn’t realize his dream.
Nothing in life is easy.
There are pros and cons to everything.
Just try to make it your best life.