How to Juggle Your J.O.B.

This week’s Business Bite is for all the nine-to-fivers out there wondering how on Earth you can balance an acting career while working 40 hours a week. Well, I’m here to tell you that it IS possible + the key is not how much time you have to spend.

Watch this week’s Acting Business Bite to learn my easy trick to stay effective even with a limited amount of time + why you should start viewing your J.O.B. as something that actually supports your acting endeavors.

So what other ways can your J.O.B. actually make you a better actor? Brainstorm one reason why working can enhance your acting endeavors + post it in the comment box below.


26 Responses to “How to Juggle Your J.O.B.”

  1. - At a J.O.B. (depending on what type of job it is, of course), we might interact with people who may be sources of inspiration for future characters we play.
    – Connections we make at the J.O.B. may lead to acting work, especially in LA and NY, where people often have ties to the entertainment industry.
    – Our J.O.B. provides financial stability, which can create more serenity and less stress when focusing on creative goals.
    – Demonstrating and practicing professional responsibility and professionalism in a J.O.B. will only pay off for us as actors, as we must bring these same qualities to our professional acting careers.
    – Some J.O.B.s keep us in tune with trends and areas of life we might not be exposed to otherwise. All of this exposure is good material for us as actors an creatives.

  2. Karen says:

    I feel my “JOB” helps me in my acting career because it gives me some structure. Most importantly, it consistently reminds me of how fortunate I am to be able to have the choice to act and to not have to have a regular job like everyone else:)

  3. Chirag Patel says:

    I have a full time job (4ohrs a week). I work in the energy industry. I sit down with my boss (who is an awesome leader) and we always talk about marketing strategies for the company and the new steps we need to take to do that. I listen and take in the strategies from an actor’s viewpoint. I always ask, “how can I use this strategy for my acting career?”. Sometimes, I follow each step verbatim. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

  4. Chris says:

    Like lots and lots of us in NYC, I cater-waiter for my J.O.B. It’s great because it’s flexible, because I can constantly interact with other artists and find out what they’re doing to further their careers, I’m almost always working at a *party*, and a lot of times there are awesome shows at those parties – just last week, even though I was working, I had a front row seat to a Tony Bennett concert. I also get to see some of NYC’s coolest venues. Plus the job as a whole is always very social and very active, which keeps me from getting into a slump.

  5. BHuzzie says:

    I wholly agree with all of the aforementioned comments. Having a 9-5 provides STABILITY, which is essential…so I’ve learned. Structure this stability with efficient work & FAITH & your dreams will begin to align with your reality…so I believe! Godspeed to each of you!

  6. Amanda says:

    I’ve found several benefits from my 9-5 J.O.B. First, it’s in television so I always feel connected to the industry and my bosses are supportive of my acting career. Then there are the actual benefits – insurance to keep me healthy and paid vacation days that I can use when I need a day off to shoot something. Plus, with the financial stability of my J.O.B., I was able to produce my first short film!

  7. My J.O.B. is in the evening, so I have my days to dedicate to auditioning, marketing and building my craft. I also have a ton of down time at my J.O.B., so I find I have time to do submissions, marketing and other acting related activities there as well.

    I work in law, so I definitely have lots of personalities to study for character work!

    Stability is underrated!! I have a steady income, the ability to live in a safe and comfortable apartment, have health insurance (which came in handy this past year where I had 3 – count ‘em – 3 outpatient surgeries covered 100%!) and money to not only pay off debt but invest in my acting career.

    I know that it can seem daunting being “stuck” in a J.O.B. and feeling frustrated that maybe you can’t audition as much or maybe you can’t take the class you want, but it will pay off, Andrew! Invest in yourself, get out of debt and when you make room for more abundance in your life, you’ll be amazed at how much more abundance flows in. Best of luck!!

  8. Dawn Davis says:

    Great points Dallas – re-framing to the positive only helps us. My J.O.B. gives me income, public interaction and many of the things mentioned by the others on this thread but… I’ve also been lucky enough to find an employer who provides great moral support and believes in me and what I am doing by attending performances and always being genuinely interested in my progress. Sometimes, I feel like he believes in me more than I believe in myself – you can’t put a price on that. Break a leg everyone!

  9. In addition to any other jobs in my life I’ve been a mom to two girls. (Anyone who doesn’t recognize that as a full-time job – try it!) All of my jobs have helped me experience every kind of joy, sadness, frustration, anger, pride, authority, responsibility, support, cruelty, and love in its infinite variety of shades and degrees. They have given me the most precious thing I have as an actor, life experience. Every job and every moment of life if lived with awareness has amazing gifts for the actor.

  10. Joe says:

    Wow…This brings back memories. I was that guy. My last job was on weekends, Fri.-Mon. 10 hours a night on the Graveyard shift. The good news was for 11 1/2 years it allowed me (while having a steady paycheck) the “FLEXIBILITY”(notice the emphasis) to focus on Acting during the week, which I think was key.
    Some people don’t prefer to work graveyard, but for ME…I know I would not have accomplished anything in my acting endeavors without working those hours. In the end…it’s all about flexibility and focus. If you J.O.B. allows that, you should be fine.
    Just my take.

  11. Jelena says:

    Hi Dallas and Andrew :)

    I love this question because I just contemplated the answer last night before you even asked it!

    I found out in thinking about my career and the plenty of “other jobs” as I call them, that they as dreaded as they are, actually made me a better actress. One reason is I learned to show up no matter what so now I’m currently applying that to my acting career.
    More important than that when I was in all these obscure jobs I often had no clue what I was doing, so I had to ask questions and be (check this out) DIRECTABLE!!! This is the most crucial thing for an actor I think, besides focus. So while I was organizing someone’s home or watching somebody’s kid I had no clue that I was actually working on my craft. I now find myself to be hundreds of times more directable than I used to be and I’m a much bigger asset to have on set because if you hire me, you will get what you need. In the past that wouldn’t of been the case at all times.
    The last thing I think is humility. I don’t think that even winning an Oscar or becoming the “second Meril Streep” could take away the humility from me that all these J-O-Bs have given me. And for an actor (and pretty much anyone) that is priceless.
    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my brand new insight :)

  12. Without my day job I couldn’t live in Manhattan, have my company or live a thriving life.

  13. Lisa Peart says:

    I work at a restaurant at a top NYC private hotel/club. It gives me flexibility with my schedule around auditions, health insurance and I’ve also met a lot of people in the Industry and made a lot of connections through people I’ve either worked with or met there. A manager that used to work there had a daughter who worked in commercial casting, who not only cast me in my first 2 commercial spots but also introduced me to an agent I’m still working with. I’ve also met people there who have referred me to film directors that I’ve ended up working with! I usually work in the evening or weekends, so my weekdays are usually free to work on my career or go on auditions. And I get to people watch while I’m working. :)

  14. Kristen says:

    Thanks Dallas! I have been a contract employee for 15 years now, recently leaving my full time work 3 years ago to pursue hosting and producing (my own work) full time. I’ve spent so much energy on hating my job because it took me away from my career (I’m building an entertainment business so the hours are insane), only to recently discover just how much freedom it gave me in the past. I’m used to structure, but what I wasn’t used to was not being able to pay my bills and the worthless feeling you get in that situation. Even though I have complete faith my show will be huge, that takes time to build and the worry was killing my energy and creativity to move forward on that. So I’d say a job, any job, gives us a sense that something in our lives is a success. Even if it means bagging groceries, we did it well enough that we were worth paying. It’s been interesting, psychologically, to have gone through this process… But at the end of the day, fear and worry about not paying bills far outweighed any dislike of a job I knew wasn’t my passion. So this was a perfect message for me today!!!

  15. When I’m not on a contract, I work as a substitute teacher. It requires a huge amount of energy, confidence, a strong voice, great improv skills, and most of all patience and compassion, which are all qualities that actors need. There is also no surer test of how well you understand something than trying to explain it to a six year old. It’s hard work, but so fulfilling and educational.

  16. Vernee says:

    Everyone is interested in actors at day jobs! You will have a lot of people that suddenly want to know about you just because you’re an actor. Some just want to know if they have seen you in anything big, but you will find other artsy types who are working on projects and are looking for people. In my last day job, my supervisor was in the process of opening a recording studio. He knows that I used to teach musical theater to kids, so he offered me studio time in exchange for doing some coachings and workshops for teens! There’s now way that I could afford studio time otherwise. We plan on pulling things together next year. You just never know who you’ll meet on a day job.

  17. This has been touched upon, but a job outside of acting allows us to interact with real people, not just actors (not that actors aren’t real! but we are not the same as lawyers, teachers, etc). 99% of the characters we play are not actors and it allows us to really understand the day-to-day minutiae of these people, which only enriches our acting through greater detail.
    Also, I think it forces us to evaluate acting jobs to really decide if they are ‘right’ for us. Not all acting jobs we get offered are really right for us, and when you need the money you say yes to everything. But if you have the stability of another job, it allows you to say yes only to the jobs that are right for you. I’ve learned after 20 years that a resume with 3 or 4 really good roles is infinitely better received than a resume filled with rubbish, so another job allows us to wait out the good roles/opportunities. Quality over quantity.

  18. Mary Suzanne Ordonio says:

    Thank you Dallas!

  19. Alena says:

    I teach English as a Foreign Language and I’ve found that many of the skills required for teaching–being prepared, IMPROVISING, being creative, engaging and authentic, sucking it up when you’re not feeling great physically or emotionally–are skills that are needed as an actor as well.

  20. Jessica says:

    My day job is mom to two little girls, ages 4 and 1. More than any other time in my life, I find I have to sacrifice a lot of my own endeavors. So, I try to work on things while I’m spending time with my girls. For example, when I read them stories, I work on my dialect and/or funny voices and characters. When my oldest wants to play house, I work on my improv skills. I try to just be silly throughout the day—dance, sing made up songs, etc. just to work on getting out of my head and using my body and imagination. When something they say or do affects me emotionally, I make a mental note of that moment and how I got to that emotion, so I can learn to recall a similar feeling when a script calls for it. I have to do these things to not feel frustrated at my lack of time to work on my career.

  21. I’ve always heard that having other endeavors (even if it’s a J.O.B.) makes you a well rounded performer; character study, seeing things from a different perspective, etc. But, beyond that sometimes castings will genuinely want someone with “real” (and they mean real) experience in __________. My J.O.B. is a Personal Organizer and sometimes I have been to auditions because they were looking for actors with interior design experience. My other J.O.B. is a transcriptionist for reality T.V. it’s flexible but sometimes overwhelming with deadlines. Being an actor has helped me in that job and nothing like being behind the scenes in post production. Those are just examples. Making the best from your J.O.B. and seeing it as a way to fund your acting career helps us stay sane! I’m trying to do it as well! Good luck to all.

  22. Susan says:

    My JOB sometimes involves visiting courtrooms and judge’s chambers (tho’ I don’t work in law). But it’s great for me, as judges and lawyers are good roles for me to play. I really take in the atmosphere when I’m there.

  23. kelly says:

    My JOB is not to stable. As a caregiver to an Alzheimer’s woman, I learn not to take things personally. It’s a constant struggle but I am getting better at it. I learn how to speak honestly even when it’s really hard because I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I learn about empathy and understanding.

  24. Kammy says:

    Great advice coming from Dallas and the rest of you. My J.O.B. is a mobile notary public. I get to meet different types of people which also enables me to network by striking up conversations about my “acting and voiceover” career. I’ve met producers, writers and directors, and I keep in contact.

  25. My J.O.B supports my acting career by allowing me to take acting classes/programs, attend shows & afford new acting material.

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