Starting your career is always a difficult and terrifying task.
Due to circumstances, many don’t realize career success for years down the road. While the light at the end of the tunnel may seem dim during periods in your career, it’s still there.
Luckily, we’re here to help with some career inspiration straight from Hollywood. These top-grossing TV actors faced some of the same dilemmas plaguing American employees. Some started their career later in life, while others faced detrimental environmental factors. They all had to pick up the pieces and face adverse conditions. Read more about television’s fall 2016 stars and what their inspirational career success stories mean for you.
Growing up a breadwinner: Sarah Jessica Parker
Family breadwinners who juggle raising children and bringing in the bacon face many challenges. One famous actress faced a similar dilemma in her family. Before Sex in the City and the HBO hit, Divorce, Sarah Jessica Parker’s life wasn’t so glamorous. The young star-to-be learned early that you have to fight for success. Her mother was an underpaid teacher and stepfather was often unemployed. Parker helped provide for her seven siblings with her first, low income acting, dancing and singing gigs.
Though her family lived under the poverty line and had little money for extracurricular activities, Parker’s mother encouraged her to have faith and believe in herself. Those wise words paid off for the family. Parker won her first major televised role twenty years later. Sex in the City provided the springboard for her fame, giving her opportunities beyond acting. She now produces, writes, directs and designs clothing.
How to find balance as the breadwinner.
What can you take from SJP's success story? Planning for a long-term career is daunting, especially when you are the sole breadwinner. Set goals early. Sometimes our goals are unobtainable because we rush success. Ask friends and family for their input and to help clarify your intentions. Choose a path that provides enough income to support your family, allows adequate quality time with family and gives you a feeling of accomplishment and success.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again: Tyler Perry.
Very few people succeed on their first try, and though it may seem like a devastating blow, there will be more opportunities. Just be patient. Tyler Perry, creator of famed sitcom The Haves and the Have Nots, learned from experience – if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Before Perry’s Madea character became a staple in American homes, his theater career started with a devastating blow.
After facing poverty, drugs and violence in his native New Orleans, he moved to Atlanta to try his hand at stage-writing. Perry wrote his first play at age 21 and invested $12,000 – his entire life savings. Though his endeavor was at first a failure, he didn’t give up. Over the next six years, Perry rewrote, restyled and reanimated his creation before trying again. In 1998, Perry restaged I Know I’ve been Changed at the Atlanta House of Blues and later the Fox Theater. After more than 20 years, Perry boasts more than 17 multimillion-dollar films, 20 award-winning plays, seven original sitcoms and an exclusive contract with billionaire Oprah Winfrey.
How to pick up the pieces after a failed career.
Perry’s unsuccessful start gives us a lot of career inspiration and teaches us something – a failed career attempt is not a life failure. Pick up the pieces and start fresh. The first thing you need to do is look at your strengths and accomplishments. Not every failure comes with complete and utter chaos. There are some redeeming qualities that can serve you in the next job. It may be difficult to recognize at first, but look at your work. Did you help the company achieve a great success? What did you bring to the table? Have any clients complimented you on your strategies?
Next, focus on getting back in the game. This is no time to feel sorry for yourself. There are opportunities. Sitting at home watching the latest soap operas will not pay the bills. Consider whether this is the time for a career change or if should you stick with your present occupation or profession. Maybe you need to start at a lower pay grade to pick up missed skills. Regardless of the decision you make, look at the situation as a challenge to get involved in bigger and better things.
Rags to riches: Jeremy Jordan.
Job candidates who grew up in poverty and disadvantaged neighborhoods face several challenges – depression, hopelessness and resource depletion, not to mention lack of opportunities for success. Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to move from a minimum wage job to professional career. One Supergirl star, Jeremy Jordan, learned early on that those early, mediocre jobs build character.
Life was tough for his divorced mother and three siblings. They lived in low-income housing and had little money for food and rent, let alone resources to grow his talents. His first job was as a waiter and caterer, helping support his mother and siblings. But Jordan wanted more than to wait tables. He applied, and won, an understudy role in the 2009 Broadway show Rock of Ages.
Jordan’s first big break came when he was offered the lead part in Disney’s Broadway recreation of Newsies. This led to starring roles in Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah’s critically acclaimed movie Joyful Noise. He now stars in one of CW’s most popular series – Supergirl. One of Jordan’s unique character traits is his ability to combine streetwise sensibility with his roles, a trait he learned waiting tables.
Learn to take advantage of every opportunity.
This relatable career inspiration: Jordan didn’t let his past dictate his future. He took elements from both lives and turned them into success. We all start at the bottom, unless you’re born to a wealthy entrepreneur. Those early jobs teach us valuable skills, such as communication, conflict resolution and patience. Time management and multitasking learned from these positions help us manage complex projects in the future.
Rather than look at your job as a low paying, boring position, think of it as paid training. Executives spend valuable hours and resources building these same skills. You have the opportunity to learn and practice the same, all while earning a salary.
Next time you leave work, take 30 minutes to review the day’s activities. How did you use your skills? Did you sweet talk a disgruntled customer who received an overcooked steak? Were you able to serve 10 tables at once without forgetting a name or order? Maybe you taught a new waiter how to use the café’s order management system. Doesn’t this sound like a sales manager or customer service specialist?