I've been fired. Twice.
One of those jobs was working on a dream project, and the producers lied to the rest of the team saying that I broke my contract.
My dad got me my first real job, which was in a court clerk's office.
I've never used my undergraduate degree.
I was invited back to speak at my alma mater, anyway.
I only got one callback at the first cattle call style audition I went it.
That callback turned into my first job as an actor out of college.
That job is how I met my husband at the opening night gala for a show I was performing in, standing next to an astronaut helmet full of sangria.
Leaving my acting career was one of the hardest and best things I've ever done.
I've worked in every state on the Eastern seaboard.
One year, I had W-2s from 5 different states.
For about a week, I thought I was going to sell Cutco knives.
For about a week, I thought I was going to make cold calls for The Hollywood Bowl.
For about a week, I thought I was going to sell accounts for Authorize.net.
For about a month, I thought I was going to be a voice and speech professor.
For about 3 months, I thought I was going to be a web designer.
I quit a temp job after the first day when I was told never to walk in the parking garage alone because there had been several attacks there.
One summer I worked as a clown for corporate picnics. My name was "Buttons."
One summer I worked at an outdoor clothing market. In Florida. It was hot.
On set for an industrial gig where I would have to use a teleprompter, the client said, "Has she ever done this before?" right in front of me like I wasn't even there. I was so efficient that we finished an hour early.
I'm the first in four generations on my dad's side of the family not to go into law.
In high school, I wanted to be a biologist, but I was bad at math so I shelved that one.
My dream job is to foster otters. None of this stuff where you have to wear a face shield so they don't get attached. I want them ATTACHED.
All of these things are true about me, but none of them define who I am.
I was never just an actor, a court clerk, or a salesperson (though I might be content to be just and otter foster mom). During all of these different jobs and stages of my career, I made friends, fell in love, got hurt, made art, struggled with identity, and continued to learn.
What I want to say to you is this:
You will have many jobs. Maybe even many careers. Some of them you will able to look back and laugh at. Some will be painful to remember. But your life is never just about your work--unless you let it be.
Your work can be powerful, but don't let it have more power over you than it deserves.
Your turn: I showed you mine; in the comments, tell me one thing I never would have guessed about your career.