Friday, August 29, 2008

Good Advice/ Bad Advice

It's hard for me to ask for advice because I'm shy and I find it especially excruciating to talk about myself to people who are more successful than me face to face. Despite my handicap, here are some things that were said to me in recently that I think have been very helpful. We'll call this series Good Advice/Bad Advice.

1. A person that I respect immensely ( and who is very smart, talented and is happy with his/her career) told me that it's crazy to be as poor as I am and try and pay off my student loans at $400/month at my age. Money should be the least of your worries ( which is difficult for me since I don't/never had any and am constantly worrying about it) when you are an artist in your twenties and you can afford the rent. This person said that you should get a job that pays enough that you can support yourself and do not hate- and to use your young age as a platform for training and discovering your passions within your passion- rather than being pressured pay off loans at a high rate and making enough money to start a retirement fund ( unless your passion is something like..finance or something that involves a hedge fund). This person also suggested that I should take the money I was using to pay off my loans and take a writing class. They noted that if I wanted to be super responsible and not defer all of the loans that I had- the most I should worry about paying is around $100 a month ( especially if you are on an extremely low salary). They also mentioned that most of their artist friends ( in their thirties and over) are still/just started paying off debt.

2. A performance artist in his/her forties told me not to consider being a playwright because it's too difficult ( and that I should listen to her because he/she also tried- and failed). This was good advice because it reminded me that you should always choose carefully as to whose advice you listen to- because a lot of it tends to come from a places of bitterness. When I first moved to New York, a friend who was relatively unhappy in the city would act extremely uncomfortable if I would talk to him/her on the subway or jingle around in my purse to look for change at the cash register when paying for something at a store. This person would also act really weird every time I quit a job in the city (and suggested that I would be blacklisted). This person said that in New York, you don't do stuff like that because well..it's New York. Sounds like a bunch of insecure horse poo...

3. Almost everyone who has a job that I'm envious of (these people are successful playwrights/theatre artists with a teaching job at a University) has confirmed that if you are an artist/writer who wants to teach someday- you have to get an M.F.A. ( an M.F.A isn't such a demanding requirement if you don't want to teach- though it must be nice) but it's okay if younger artists are not stressing about going to graduate school when they're in they're in their early- twenties. There are very few twenty-three year old theatre professors.
Side Note: I use to think that since I have no money- I would never get to go to grad school. Maybe this is still the case. Maybe I will magically strike gold within the next couple of years. There is some consolation though.. there are some affordable programs in New York (Brooklyn College, Long Island University, City College). A wise person once wrote that it's best to choose your school to suit your personal needs- and not to fall soley for a brand name.



Well...that's all for today's Good Advice/Bad Advice. More to come soon. Let me know if you have any interesting, good, bad, terrible, shocking advice that anyone has given you!


3 comments:

Menexenus said...

Hmm... The description of this friend seems to be alluding to someone I know. I can´t say I´d exactly call it insecurity, but more of trying to add to the lack of social space in New York...

Leah Winkler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leah Winkler said...

if you say so buddy.