I watched a flawed, but nonetheless captivating movie last night called The Company Men. It had Ben Affleck (meh), Kevin Coster (meh), Tommy Lee Jones (yay) and Chris Cooper (yay) star as men navigating the crippling recession of 2008, experiencing everything from job loss to family pressures to renewed optimism, Hollywood style.
10 years ago, I entered theatre school, all doe-eyed. I was planning to be Gregory Peck. I was the drama class rock star in high school, so success was guaranteed, right?
Wrong. While I certainly had some talent, I realized that being a professional thespian wasn’t quite for me. Instead, I shifted my academic focus from onstage to backstage, finishing my four year degree as the top production student in my graduating year. Again, I was a “rock star”. Professors and peers alike would reinforce an unhealthy cocky attitude: “You’ll be fine!”, “You’re going to do great things in theatre!” I believed them.
I naturally once again thought success was guaranteed. But the world doesn’t work that way.
July. November. December. Three dates marked on many a shoppers’ calendar. And why not? There is honestly so much bold and CAPS happening. On mailed flyers. In emails. On websites. In storefronts. It’s like retailers collectively decide to work together to tell you: “GO SHOPPING. PLEASE.”
It was pay day and I had received my meagre $800 paycheck for two weeks of full time work. I had no benefits, no vacation time, no overtime pay – nothing but a small suitcase of stuff and my fellow broke colleagues. I’m pretty sure we ate Kraft Dinner.
This was my reality that I lived in for a year working in the arts. But that $20,000 salary experience was invaluable. It taught me frugality and gave me the ambition and drive to generate a higher income.
*Note: This post focuses on strictly my career after graduation. But if you’d like to know – I worked in retail for about 4 years throughout my Bachelor’s degree renting out DVDs (Gasp!). Yes. I am a dinosaur. I also had a job one summer where I temporarily paused my retail job to dress up as a character at a tourism place and made an insane $29 an hour. That’s another story, though.
I have lived most of my life on financial edge. First it was school, then it was contract jobs. There was never a moment of financial stability until about 2 years ago when I transitioned into full-time employment.
In that time between steady job and what felt like drifting, I was a hoarder. I’d save as much as my pay check as I could and stick it in a savings account, watching it grow a measly 0.5% at the time (this is pre-discovery of Tangerine and EQ Bank). My savings allocations were basically 100% emergency fund, 0% investments.
Things are so darn easy these days – in fact, now more than ever can we humans be ultra productive with our time. Take this bread maker for instance, which my girlfriend and I bought for her mother for Christmas.
Your first reaction might be: “Holy f***! A $400 bread maker?!” Rest assured, there was aggressive couponing involved and a strong sentiment behind the gift. My girlfriend’s mother is now alone since the passing of her husband, loves to make bread, and can now make 10 loaves in the time it would have taken her to make 2 loaves. She gets to pursue her passion with the top of the line device while my girlfriend and I get more bread. Win-win, right?