How often does this happen to you?
You’ll go several months without even a single job offer, then suddenly several offers will come in, all that overlap with each other and you have to choose which job to take?
Actors are faced with this all the time, and the stress it can create is huge. We hate to turn down work, especially when we work so hard to get it. And, collectively as actors we’ve made up the story that if we don’t take something we are offered, and we don’t say “yes” right this minute, that the person offering will be angry and never hire us again. Which is so NOT true when it is handled professionally. There are times you do have to make #toughdecisions in your career and you usually don’t have to answer in a nano-second. Honestly, even if you know you’re going to take a job, think about it first.
The truth is… all the players in this industry know it is a career of decisions. While someone might be disappointed that you couldn’t take the job, often it makes you more coveted because you “weren’t available.”
Whether you like a practical approach or a more touchy-feely approach, here are great questions to ask yourself when you’ve got a career decision to make.
1. Ask yourself if you WANT to do the job. Sometimes actors feel like they have to take everything they’re offered. When the truth is, you don’t. So, at the core of your decision is desire. Make sure you actually want to do the job. And if you don’t, say no thank you.
2. Ask yourself if you NEED to do the job. In the current state of the business, needing the money and health weeks is a completely valid reason to take a job. You have to take care of your life, so money and weeks are a great reason to take a job, but they shouldn’t be the only reason.
3. Ask yourself if you can actually AFFORD to take the job. Some jobs pay so little that it costs you more to be in them than the pay off from saying yes. Always put your financial life in the mix when making decisions. And maybe make it a commitment to yourself this year, that you will no longer take jobs that pay you less than #yourbottomline.
4. Ask yourself if the job FITS into your life. There is more to your life than your acting career. So be sure to examine how the job fits into the whole scheme of your life. A national tour may sound fabulous for the checkbook, but will it take you away from your family or significant other in a way that could be damaging to your life? Placing your career INSIDE your life will always keep you happier than placing your life inside your career.
5. Ask yourself if the job will give you a BIG EXPOSURE opportunity? Doing a starring role in a tiny theater in Wisconsin may be great for your creative expression, but a two-line role in a play in town, or even an understudy position in town can give you exposure and keep you in the thick of things.
6. Finally, TRUST YOUR GUT. Your decisions are your own and sometimes making the right decision for YOU isn’t always the one that will make all the other people happy. But choose your own path. When I am struggling with a decision, before I go to sleep, I close my eyes and simply say “I already know in my gut what my answer is, and I will wake up with the strength to make the decision.” Then do it.
How do you handle big decisions in your life? Share with others below.
Leslie Becker is an award-winning actress, writer and creator of The Organized Actor® who is passionate about inspiring, entertaining and educating others. Sign up below for more tips for workin’ your acting career and your life. www.OrganizedActor.com