Most artists living in LA- ok, anywhere- know the value of a great “survival job.” A survival job is really just a “job,”but we artists have to call it something else to differentiate it from what we believe our “real” job is and protect our fragile egos. Otherwise we get all kinds of deflated.
Survival jobs must have the following characteristics:
- They pay you enough money to not be homeless or starve.
- They don’t completely drain your soul or require total sacrifice of your integrity.
- They are somewhat flexible, in case auditions or career-related gigs pop up.
The BEST survival jobs…
- are EXTREMELY flexible, and have cool, understanding bosses, or..
- have YOU as the boss. You are in charge or work for yourself.
- pay a high rate for a short amount of time.
- allow you to hobnob with cool people who could help you in your actual career.
- require NO sacrifice of integrity, and even possibly feed your soul in a cool way.
Obviously, many people start side businesses or work freelance in their field on the side, but I don’t really count those as “survival jobs” for the purpose of this series, since they are career and passion related. To qualify as a survival job, it must be something done to simply…survive. Something I would basically never do had I been given a trust fund when I turned 18.
God, my parents really dropped the ball on that one….
In my 13 (yikes) years of existence as an adult actor- (wait. Not “adult actor” like porn. Not “adult films”! Like, grown up person living on my own who has to pay her bills but also have a career…) (that’s clear right? I have never done porn.) (Not even as a “survival job”) (Ok…just making sure…) (NO porn.) – in those 13 years, I have had MANY survival jobs as you might imagine. In this blog series, I will explore the cool, crazy, and particularly awful of these jobs, one by one. This way, you can feel my pain, cheer my successes, and any fellow artists trying to navigate the world of survival jobs can take in my experienced advice.
I warn you….it won’t always be pretty. I’ve been dressed as Snow White on a city bus. I’ve gone through clown training. I’ve tried desperately to make a square bubble in front of 30 impatient kids and 30 irritated adults to no avail (and no tip). I’ve been fired (many times), quit in dramatic protests, and sometimes just…ghosted. I’ve spilled whole trays of drinks on some very nice people. I’ve been stiffed, promoted, rejected, lost, and triumphant.
Most importantly, I’ve (almost) never been homeless.
I’ll be sure to categorize all of these posts under “Survival Jobs,” so keep an eye out! Have any crazy survival job experiences you would love to share in a guest post? Feel free to contact me and tell me about it! Inquiring readers need to know! Or comment below with successes and horror stories!
Ah, to be an artist. It’s so glamorous I could just spit.