The Work vs. The Experience

career, random thoughts

What is the work? What is the experience?

Work is your job. It’s what you’re paid to do.

Experience, for the context of this post, are the fringe benefits of the work.

Experience is, “I can’t believe this is part of my job.”

Experience can be positive (“I can’t believe hanging out with musicians is part of my job,” a music blogger may say) or negative (“I can’t believe I’m cleaning dog piss.”)

If You Work… 

At an agency?

The work: phone calls, e-mails, 10 – 12 hour days

The experience: meeting celebrity clients, getting screamed at, going to industry parties your boss doesn’t want to attend

As an actor?

The work: classes, rehearsal, performances

The experience: the attention, being recognized

As a bartender?

The work: pouring drinks

The experience (as a friend put it): “I meet beautiful people and give them alcohol — what’s not to like?”

The Work vs. The Experience

When I spend too much time drowning in productivity porn, it’s easy to forget the difference between the work and the experience.

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For example: a few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to go watch the recording of the director and writer commentary for THE DROP:

I almost didn’t go. Why?

Well you see, I had these emails to write, and fell behind schedule to draft storyboard notecards, and crossing town through traffic was going to be a pain…

What a strange thought process, I later realized (I went to the recording).

Two years ago, I would have laughed if you told me that’s an experience I almost passed up.

Two years ago, I was still waiting tables part-time (three years ago, it was full-time).

What is the work vs. the experience?

The work is what you do.

The experience, is why you do it.

2 comments… add one

  • Jerrica

    Great post! This is so short and straight to the point and yet so relatable. I literally found myself in this same position today and whether I should go to an event hosted by an newly established writer, or should I not go because I’d be too tired after work…. I chose to go the event…

    • Chris Ming

      Yup, been in that position PLENTY of times 🙂 Hope you felt like it was worth it.

      Typically I have to drag myself to those kind of events, then afterwards I say to myself, “so glad I went.”

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