What Is a ‘Real Job’ Anyway

I was grabbing my daily, over priced beverage, from the corporate coffee shop that I wish I didn’t love, but do, and I overheard this woman on the phone. Let’s call her Carol. Carol, was venting her frustration about how her college age child just wants to do theater and that was not going to get him a real job. Now, I am a music + theater nerd. Came out of the womb singing, spent childhood in choirs and operas, BFA in music theater + MFA, have a wealth of musical theater knowledge floating around in my head that my theater nerd child occasionally finds helpful, and – I have a Real Job. This whole ‘real job’ vs the perceived ‘fake job’ thing bugs the snot out of me.

What is a real job anyway? Earning an income is necessary to support the lives we wish to build. That job can serve as a pay check, or can be your passion, you get to decide, all choices are valid. There is no right way to construct our lives or careers. There is no real or fake, just what you choose to do.

My theater training taught me many of the essentials skills necessary to be an entrepreneur; team building, creative problem solving, how to navigate passionate constituents and build consensus, active listening, how to build something out of nothing, and so much more. Entrepreneurship requires you to understand business, in addition to thinking out side of the box and question the status quo, any arts training is a great pathway to build some of those essential entrepreneurial skills.

“Due to the complex relationships between college and careers, some college graduates who major in less lucrative fields of study earn more than those in typically high-paying majors. ”

— THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF COLLEGE MAJORS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

There is data to suggest that the major you choose has a correlation to the income you make. But even the report acknowledges that this isn’t an exact science (see quote to the left that suggests we should chill out about it, and not assume our major is the answer)

All this being said, it’s possible that Carol’s frustration might be based in a fear that many parents feel about their kids future. “How are they going to support themselves, so they aren’t living in our basements forever! There is no way to know whether Carol’s son will take his theater knowledge and turn it into an entrepreneurial career, be an amazing teacher, launch the next best product, or start a whole new path that has nothing to do with the arts. But with 76% of Generation Z describing themselves as responsible for driving their own career, I have a feeling that he will take a proactive approach, and make the most out of all the skills he has.

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“It’s your story to tell”