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Fulfilling a Dream for $8 an Hour

This article was written by in Career and Work. 7 comments.


I just graduated a “Level One” (read: newbie) improv class. At first, I signed up for the class because I can think of few thing scarier than getting on stage with no script. I’m not known for thinking on my feet, I don’t “BS” well, and even when I know my lines, I get terrible stage fright.

So I made myself go to this class as soon as I knew I’d have eight free weekends in a row. It took about four years to get up the courage. I’d like to say that it also took some time to get the admission fee together, but of course the $200 went on a credit card (technically it came from the $800 that would otherwise have gone toward paying down the credit card, but the net effect is the same).

I didn’t have an extra $200 to take that class, but man, was it exciting. I had to deal with strangers, criticism, bad accents (most of them mine), and a basic requirement of acting in a scene where 1) you don’t know what you’re going to be saying, and 2) you also don’t know what the other people will be saying.

I didn’t think I could do it, but after eight weeks, we put on a show, and darn it if the audience didn’t laugh and cheer.

So, I figure, the class was 3 hours every weekend, for 8 weeks, for $200. That’s $8.33 an hour to have a creative outlet, learn to think on my feet, and re-learn to perform in front of strangers. I think that’s a reasonable price.

I still don’t have an extra $200. In fact, I’m still about $6,000 in a credit card hole, but I signed up for Level Two, anyway.

Published or updated October 12, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Elisa@Thrive.com

Congrats! That certainly does take a lot of nerve.

One thing I’ve always admired about improv actors, is there ability to find the humor in the most serious, difficult and humiliating parts of their lives. I think learning how to do that, is definitely worth $8 an hour.

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avatar Greg

Smithee:
The personal finance and self-responsibility advocate in me says you should have waited until your finances were better positioned. The self-improvement advocate in my applauds loudly! Way to go!

The best way to address fears and weakness, I believe, is to dive right in. I use to be scared of snakes so I bought a Burmese python. My writing is weak and a source of embarrassment for me so I started blogging. Most of us are in denial regarding our finances, only by getting engaged in building your lifetime wealth can you grow your money and as a person.

The world would be a better place if more people would take on their fears like you have, you are an inspiration. Good luck in level 2.

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avatar Dan

The personal finance person in me says that you need to figure out what the interest on not paying down that $200 is, and add that to the cost of the class ;)

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