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Jack graduated in Chinese and International Relations in 2011, which has lead him quite naturally into a career as an aspiring stand up comedian. Hmmm. He’d blog for GoThinkBig about life as a struggling creative type and overcoming the temptation to get “a real job”.
The predictable horrors of a creative job
Shirking the nine to five and trying to live the dream may seem very romantic, but you will soon discover that certain aspects of it are a nightmare. I have learned these things, so that you don’t have to.
- People will always ask you to do what you do for free
If you’re a graphic designer, people will ask you to design their wedding invitations for them, “because that’ll only take you about 5 minutes.” As a comedian it’s, “Just stand up and say a few words to thank everyone for coming. Just make it funny.” Make it funny is the one of the worst things anyone can say to a comedian, as it shows a complete lack of understanding of the fact that it takes hours, months even years to make something funny. “Funny” is a dismayingly difficult thing to make something. It is second only to the far more frustrating, “tell us a joke,” which essentially likens comedians to walking, free vending machines.
- You will have to do lots of crap jobs to make ends meet
Rod Stewart was a gravedigger, Johnny Depp apparently worked in a call centre selling ballpoint pens (if you bought a lot you got a free clock!). You’ll soon realise that “making it” will not be as quick and easy as the good people at the X Factor will have you believe. You will gradually have to parcel off little pieces of your soul to various different employers as you play the delightful game of “What do I need more? My pride or food?”
- Your parents will think you’re mad
In my first year after graduation I pretty much spent my time evenly between writing, performing, earning money and trying to convince my parents that all of my education up until now hadn’t been a waste of time and I wasn’t going to die a sad and bitter, overqualified street cleaner. It will take up about a quarter of your time, unless they happen to work in the same industry, in which case they’ll probably be very supportive and you’ll be able to sponge off their contacts and vastly accelerate your career, and I hate you.
- Everyone lies about how well they’re doing
When I first started out I felt like it always took me forever to make any kind of progress. I seemed to be sending out thousands of unanswered emails, trying to get interest from agents or trying to get gigs, whereas everyone else was making great progress. Then I realised that it was because they were all talking through a hole much further south than their mouth. Don’t get freaked out by how well everyone else sounds like they’re doing, either they’ve made it sound much better than it is, or you need to add about three years to how long they say it’s taken them to get there.
Now that you know these things, I’m afraid to tell you that there is no cure. But I hope that knowing about them in advance can at least alleviate the shock in some small way. Good luck out there.