It’s great that you have all your tools in your pocket – a fabulous headshot, a smokin’ reel and at least two or three really hot (and contrasting) monologues (and hopefully you found at least one on MonologuesToGo!). You’re ready to hit the pavement and rock out those auditions! The problem is…rent doesn’t wait for you to become famous or at least semi-famous….and even fame doesn’t always pay the bills. There are many, many stories of famous actors who, for various reasons, have not been able to make ends meet. But that’s not going to be your story if you are smart about taking care of business – and that includes stabilizing your income. Too many people make the mistake of getting themselves deep into debt in hopes that their lucky “break” will come and wipe out all that debt. This is a dangerous strategy. As the bills pile up, so does your desperation and you bring that energy into the room when you audition. Like everyone, casting directors and agents are drawn to confidence and strength. It’s hard to have either when you are desperate to book a job. The challenge of juggling life with your passion for pursuing your acting career is very real, but not insurmountable. The famous and wise Lee Strasberg, who co-created the acclaimed Group Theatre along with Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, used to tell his students to look at their survival jobs as something that allowed them to pursue their art. Very good advice, indeed. If you look at your survival job as something that takes care of your well-being and is, therefore, a necessary piece of the puzzle, it no longer feels like a burden you have to bear. It doesn’t have to be your dream job and you don’t have to identify with it as though it defines who you are. It does not. You are an actor; not a server or a busboy or an office assistant. You are an actor. That being said, a survival job is a means to an end and that is extremely important. Yes, you need flexibility, but thousands of actors before you have managed to juggle the dreaded day (or night) job and still find ways to book acting jobs. You can do it, too. You don’t have to starve to be an artist and there is no shame in taking a survival job. It is a necessary steppingstone on your road to success. You just need talent, focus, ambition and the ability to balance life and career.