What Would You Sacrifice For Your Career?

I have thought about this a lot lately. After all, LA is home to many broken dreams and failed entertainment careers. I’m on Year 3 of a freelancing career, and it hasn’t been without sacrifices. I’ve met many people out here in CA who have given up a lot to pursue their dream careers, including one woman who became a nurse so she could take the swing shifts, the shifts no one else wanted to save up a lot of money so she could pursue acting auditions. Her life switches back and forth between taking care of people and acting. I’m not sure that I can change gears like that all of the time with good results. And giving up certain things takes a toll. For example:

Life style: Delayed gratification is hard. Really hard. You have to be able to prioritize between what you want and what you need. I’ve seen Hollywood people living in tiny cell-like places way beyond their 20 something years. I know I do not want to rent forever, that’s for sure. And it sucks to have to forego decent food and fun LA activities to pay the bills. Yes, I know we all have to do some of that, but it certainly gets old after awhile. I also never thought I would be pulling all-nighters to make deadlines going into my 50s. That gets old, too.

Finances: I’ve learned not to sneer at a regular paycheck. Computer glitches can result in no paycheck or a delayed paycheck, and how many of us actually plan ahead for this? Budgetary havoc should not become a way of life, but it often does, unfortunately.

Relationships: Friendships and partnerships can often go down the drain because of career and financial pressures. I like not having co-workers because it makes it easier to stick to a diabetic diet without co-workers tempting me with “treats.” However, freelancing can and does sometimes get in the way of maintaining friendships and relationships, causing anger, jealousy and exasperation over frequent schedule changes.

Health: This is a tough one. Many of us pursuing creative careers have little or no health insurance. We often pursue our career goals at the expense of our health, not going to the doctor, skipping needed meds, and generally living an unhealthy lifestyle.

So, when do you throw in the towel? As a good producer friend said to me today, “Sacrifice for your career is all well and good, as long as you do not let it go on for years.” She’s right. But I’m not ready to go back to 9 to 5 just yet. Give me another year, and I’ll see. It is starting to get a little easier…

3 Responses

  1. […] once again to pay rent in expensive LA and this time, it may be game over. My previous post, What Would You Sacrifice For Your Career explored how much you give up as a writer, and I am finding that I am woefully unprepared to couch […]

    • Hello! I’m responding to this post and the post titled What Would You Sacrifice For Your Career? I’ve been writing for twenty-five years and was a nurse. If I could do it all again I never would have entered the healthcare field.
      Please do hang in there. I was even homeless and continued to write. Never give up on anything you’re passionate about. Your situation will get better.

  2. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I’m finding even as distressing as this is, at least I can still write. 🙂

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