I have a friend who always wanted to be an actor ever since our high school days. She filed newspaper clippings of interviews with famous actors and learned all there was to learn about the movie and TV industry in Kenya.
After high school, she auditioned dozens of times but only seemed to land infinitesimal roles. This did not discourage her though and towards the end of last year, she finally landed a role that, in her own words, was ‘one to die for.’ It was the classic story of a dream come true.
Suddenly she became scarce. We could go for weeks without chatting or speaking over the phone. Whilst previously we used to hook up for coffee or ice-cream on many an afternoon, I started seeing her more on TV. I could feel that our friendship was drifting away, and I made a point of accusing her of being economical with her time when we next met.
“Jowal,” she started, “Life has become helluva hectic for me these days. I’m even surprised I haven’t yet lost my mind.”
She went on to provide a list of innumerable lamentations about her job. For starters, she had to work seven days a week, as they were filming five episodes per week. The hours were long and not very pleasant, as the director was a constant pain in the thumb. Repeating a single scene seven or more times really irked her. “I am always exhausted and I rarely get any time to myself,” she concluded her litany. Clearly, the job was running a chariot and horses straight through her sanity.
“So, why don’t you just quit?” I quizzed.
She glared at me as though I’d lost my marbles and blurted, “Quit? What do you mean? I finally found the job of my dreams! I’m loving it on the set!” At that moment I had a revelation.
I have always wanted to be a writer, and I should have known that one’s dream job isn’t always a dream. I personally burn the midnight oil on many occasions just so I can beat deadlines. During the day I have to dig up new ideas, and this involves meeting people for interviews and working on improving my craft. I don’t particularly like the writing process, but I enjoy having written.
You see, the best things in life are often hard and nothing is pleasurable and uplifting all the time. When picking on any career, you’ve got to be prepared to deal with a fair amount of discomfort. Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost.
When deciding on which career path to follow, you need to ask yourself: ‘What struggle or sacrifice am I willing to tolerate?’
Say you want to be a lawyer, can you deal with the 80 hours of work per week that a junior associate has to clock? If your passion is in IT, are you willing to stay up all night writing codes? If Sauti Sol are your role models, do you have the willpower to practice for four hours every day like they do? And if you are a writer, do you have a thick skin to handle the hundreds of rejections that are coming your way?
And in that ability to withstand discomfort is where passion sets in. You gotta work it, just make sure you work it doing something you love.