Finding Your Purpose in Life/Learning something and moving on


Hello, Nancy, I've read your numerous helpful past answers and decided to ask you for help.

Nancy, I'm a 25-year old male professional living in New York City. Back when I was 22 in college, I studied business and was interviewed by many top companies like Google, IBM and Amazon since I had a great college record but consequently, I was rejected from final rounds of those interviews and ended up working for a much smaller unknown company.

About 1.5 years into the work force, I quit my office job to pursue acting in New York City while supporting myself on odd jobs. I found moderate success and good mentors who encouraged me but I went broke without a stable day-job and now am stuck in a cold-calling sales job that makes my stomach turn. I have to put acting on the back-burner at the moment because there's barely time enough to pay rent and sleep. I am stuck in this sales job until July of 2014 due to my contract.

Nancy, how do you suggest that I move forward? My dream in acting is very real, and I can see myself being successful in it if I can devote time and energy for the next 3-4 years. I just can't figure out the day-job puzzle. But what does seem clear to me is that unless I get a stable day-job to pay for the bills, it will be impossible for me to pursue acting and achieve my ultimate dreams. So I think Step 1 is job and then Step 2 is acting.  

I'm guessing I need a plan of attack NOW so that I can figure out what to do after I quit this sales job in about 5 months. At the moment, I'm just praying to God that a "nice and easy day job" will come along but I think that's just wishful thinking and reactive mindset. I want to be proactive and perhaps get certified in programming or web design through few months of intensive studying or going back to grad school.

I am highly intelligent and definitely feel that I should be spending my time somewhere else than being stuck in a call-center making phone calls as a job. I think I made a terrible mistake by taking this sales job and deserve more from my life.

Thank you so much. I know this is a lot of information. I'd just like your two cents.

Dear Shakir,
As a writer, I sympathize with your desire to make money from a career that feeds your soul. Unfortunately, we both know that it takes a long time to achieve that so, yes, you are right in thinking you need to have a job that feeds you so you can pursue acting.
And forget about a "nice and easy day job." That's not realistic. But you don't have to take a job that kills your soul either.

1) Getting an education in a field like you planned is a great idea. I am assuming that you would enjoy that type of work--yes?
2) Continue pursuing acting as much as you can--taking classes, trying out, whatever keeps you active in that field. (Just a thought--if you know enough about acting, can you teach a non-credit course to adults or kids or in some other way use your knowledge?)
3) Learn from your mistake re the job and make sure the next one is a better fit for your personality and skill set.

As for the next 5 months of the dead-end job (and I have been there too!)--here's what I would do: Pretend that you are a character in a play instead of yourself. As much as possible and while still fulfilling your commitment to your employer, use the experience to learn about people's reactions, understanding different characters, even discerning clues from the phone conversations.

Take this as an opportunity to develop your communication skills and also pick up on clues from the dialogue with those you call and the interactions with your co-workers.

NOTHING IS EVER WASTED! The last short-time job I took (not writing related) ultimately gave me background for one of the novels I am working on, and also several of my short stories.
Good luck

Finding Your Purpose in Life

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Nancy Christie


I offer advice and recommendations on making changes in your life, developing goals and getting out of your rut. This applies to both personal and professional situations. Please note: I do not provide specific career advice. I would suggest you consult a career counselor for those types of issues.


Developer of "Rut-Busting" series of workshops Creator of the Community of Change web site ( Former host of Take Charge of Your Life on VoiceAmerica Radio Author of THE GIFTS OF CHANGE, published by Beyond Words/Atria, with three foreign language editions.

American Society of Journalists and Authors

Cancer Fighters Thrive, Daily Health News, Healthy Woman, Woman's Day, Stress-Free Living, Tai Chi Magazine, Experience Life, HomeBusiness Journal (columnist), Succeed

Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH

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