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BWW Blog: Side Gigs Really Suck Sometimes

It’s a balance, people. And one day all the weight will tip to the right side.

BWW Blog: Side Gigs Really Suck Sometimes
Backstage at...the sushi restaurant!

And yes, I'm writing this from the bar of the restaurant I work at. I almost broke down and cried after a busy sweep during my eight hour shift today, and it wasn't just because the work was hard. As actors, we all have to have side gigs, and they have to be flexible enough to fit around our classes, auditions, homework, etc. But let's face it - no one wants to get stuck in the cycle of life-draining shifts and feel their passion come second to their job. How can you make sure that fire in you still stays after a week of grueling work?

Have an end goal. Holding onto "the light at the end of the tunnel," if you will, really helps. You won't be a server, work a cash register, or stock shelves forever. It's not who you are, it's not your dream, and it's not your life. Sometimes I get a flash of fear thinking, what if this is it? But, it's not. Picture yourself where you want to be while you're plugging through that long shift, and trust that this is just a stepping stool along the way. You are perfectly where you need to be. You are right on track.

I've been getting into the habit of spending time with people I love after I get off of work instead of heading straight to bed. We sing, watch movies that inspire us, practice our dance combos for the next week. It helps me come back to Earth and push away that anxiety that hides in me during a hard day. Just one extra phone call to my parents or episode with my roommates and I feel a million times better. Don't let the weight of your day ruin your tomorrow. Find things that rejuvenate you and do them before you go to sleep.

Don't put up with a job that is unhealthy for you. Side gigs do suck - point blank. But if it's sending you into a spiral, then get out quick. You can apply anywhere. Don't stay somewhere just for the sake of staying somewhere. I recently quit a job after a little over a week. I was humiliated to feel like a quitter, but proud of myself for recognizing a toxic environment fast enough to escape it without long-term damage. Sure enough, three months later, I'm fighting with HR for never receiving my paycheck of a few hundred dollars. Trust your gut!

It's frustrating that by choosing to be an actor, I am also doomed to other jobs that I do not enjoy. It's a sacrifice I dread the idea of making. But, I have to survive right? So...I'm writing. And maybe that will lead me onto a different path than spilling hibachi sauce all over a walk-in freezer. I'm visualizing a detour, and will lay down the asphalt for that road myself if I have to. We do that as actors, and we can do that as human beings, too. Nothing can bring you down if you don't let it. So, as I order another pack of black t-shirts to wear at work, I'm also ordering another book about the magic of acting. It's a balance, people. And one day all the weight will tip to the right side.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Caitlin Carter