Adam, a drama student living in London, writes for us about his flexible role as a kitchen porter

My mother and father advised me against pursuing a career as an actor. It’s a fiendishly difficult industry to crack, it’s unreliable and you won’t be able to get a normal job at the same time because of auditions, were their main concerns. All very valid points, but the thrill of treading the boards or hearing the whir of the camera was just too much for me, so I applied, auditioned and succeeded in getting a place at drama school. I was absolutely elated.

Still, drama school is not cheap. In fact it’s hideously expensive, and although I have a student loan, that barely even covers the tuition, and living in the one of the priciest cities in the world necessitates that I need to work. The issue I had when applying for jobs was the limited hours I was able to work. We have workshops pretty much every day, and I’ve already started getting auditions, which is obviously amazing, but something that prevents me from getting a permanent shift on a particular day. The only time I have available is in the evening, which limits the type of role I was able to apply for.

At first, I baulked a little at taking a job as a kitchen porter. I’d scrubbed pots for minimum wage as a teenager, and I initially saw it as a step backward. Thankfully, I pushed these misgivings to one side and gave it a go, and found a job that is perfect for my lifestyle.

Firstly, the pay was significantly better than what I used to earn working back home. A decent income is obviously crucial to keep me afloat whilst I study, and being paid a fair wage is welcome. Though the job isn’t easy, and I put my all into it, at the end of each shift I don’t take my work home with me. I’m incredibly focused on becoming the best thespian I can possibly be, and it’s nice that my job does not interfere with this motivation.

I really enjoy my shifts. All the people I work with are super friendly, and although it is very busy, we always have time for jokes and fun. It helps the time fly when you’re under pressure. Most importantly, my shifts are flexible, and I can pick and choose which evenings I work each week. It means I can arrange when I work around my social life and it limits the amount of FOMO I have to suffer due to being a working student.

It’s obviously not forever, and hopefully once my tuition is over I’ll be making money through acting sooner rather than later, but, for my current situation, my job as a kitchen porter is absolutely perfect. I would be really struggling to stay in school if I didn’t have it, and I will always remember the role that helped me stay afloat during these crucial early stages of my career.


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