Get to Do vs. Have to Do

career, personal stories, zen assistant

A quick thought today:

I recently got a puppy. His name is Deefer.


Turns out puppies don’t come out of the box with operating instructions and batteries included. It requires a lot of work to figure them out. You also have to:

  • Walk ‘em
  • Snuggle with ‘em
  • And clean up its shit

I love him. Which doesn’t change the fact, however, that for the last 28 years my only agenda has been the climb. My sole focus for the past 4 years has been moving to LA, getting my first Hollywood job, and when I did that, surviving the 80-hour weeks.

Deefer quite frankly, doesn’t care.

When he wants to play, he plays.

When he wants to eat, he eats.

And when he needs to go bathroom, I better take him for a walk.

We were out on said walk, and I thought to myself:

“It sucks I had to take a break from work because I have to walk my dog.”

As the thought tumbled out, I realized how ridiculous it sounded.

“Have to walk my dog?”

It was 1 p.m. This was the end of November in Los Angeles and it was 80 degrees outside. Nearly everyone gainfully employed was stuck inside their offices, suffering from Vitamin-D deficiency.

I have the good fortune of working from a home office.

I’m lucky I get to take Deefer out for a walk whenever I’d like. It’s a privilege.

Get to Do Vs. Have To Do

There is a world of a difference between get to do and have to do.

But it’s easy lose sight of what is privilege and what is responsibility.

The same could be said about working in Hollywood, too.

Once you’ve worked a desk for a year or two, or been on set for a while… there’s a lot of “have-to” creep:

  • I have to read these scripts.
  • I have to listen to these executive calls
  • I have to watch the dailies
  • I have to give notes on a pitch
  • I have to share my opinion on talent
  • I have to stay late to punch up the script
  • I have to skip lunch to prepare for the notes call
  • I have to finish a book tonight to make an offer tomorrow
  • I have to work weekends to produce this show

The luster has worn off.

But no one is making us. We chose this.

You don’t have to do anything.

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