"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."
Someone sent me that saying in an email. I liked it so much I put it up on the bulletin board by my desk. People who find ways to view their circumstances positively tend to be happier than those who complain about the way things are. We are human, of course, and it is natural to dislike when we have to do things that are unpleasant. We all must work to earn an income, however, and we all have the power to choose how we view whatever we have to do in our lives.
How you live your life is a choice. When you look for a job, make sure the work is something you enjoy. You don't have to love every aspect of a job, but certainly you can find some things to like about practically anything. After all, this is your life, and if you are totally miserable, well, what is the point of that?
Let's look at the job of a waiter as an example. Some of the obvious drawbacks of this kind of job are that you get covered with food; customers can sometimes be rude or otherwise unpleasant; and sometimes those rude customers don't leave a tip. All those things may be true, but there are also things to enjoy from this same job. The flexibility of a waiter's job means you are free to pursue your acting, you can make good money in tips if you are good at the job, and you can meet so many people, which may appeal to those of you who excel at hospitality skills. Waiters who like what they do end up making more tips than those who whine and complain and just do the bare minimum.
Beware of the "I don't care about this job because I'm really an actor" syndrome. I was guilty of this when I was just starting out. I thought my waiter job was so unimportant, and I barely could contain my contempt for it. As I continued to complain about every little thing I had to do, I started to notice that the waiters who came to work smiling at everyone and enthusiastically going about their duties were the people whom everyone – fellow workers and customers alike – enjoyed being around, and they seemed happier in general, and made better tips than I was making while I was waiting for my "real life" to begin. I figured out quickly that this WAS my real life, and I made a point to become one of those happier people I admired.
As Stephen Sondheim so aptly wrote in a lyric from "Sunday in the Park with George," "It's not 'Do as You Like' as it is that you ‘Like What You Do.’" Try to like what you do. It really is your choice!
Robert Curtiss, a former psychotherapist, works at Essay Management with personal manager John Essay, whom he helped to create TheActorsGuideToEverything.com.