Can we ever really get used to the pressures of our jobs?
This question arose for me on one of my first spokesperson jobs several years ago. I had about a week's lead time for this job and assumed, since I hadn't received a script from production, that there'd be a TelePrompter for me. I figured, also, that I'd have time to review the script before hand to make sure that all was ok.
Well, I figured wrong. When I got there the director introduced himself and said, "Ok, how well do you know your lines?"
"My what now?" was my first thought but I didn't say that, of course. I said that I hadn't seen a script yet but that I am really great at memorization and I won't have a problem committing the 30 and 15 second spots to memory.
I did well with that (thanks to the brain-boosting Omega 3's that I take, I guess) but couldn't help thinking that there was an extra layer of pressure put on me that I just didn't need and that could have been avoided.
I don't think that we ever get used to all of the pressures that come with our jobs - or with just being an adult. Once we do get used to it, then it's not pressure anymore but a new worry always takes its place.
There are ways to help with those overwhelming nerves and booking-related stresses, especially on your first few jobs when you're really green and still trying to figure things out. Take it from me:
1. Get What You Need
For one, going back to my story from above, the onus was on me to make sure that I had the script. I self-taped with a script and I was there as a spokesperson so I knew there would be one. I did have a contact in production and all I had to do was ask. I assumed too much and we KNOW what happens when we assume, don't we? Don't make me spell that one out for you :)
2. Practice Your Delivery
Further, as a spokesperson, I needed the script before hand to get familiar with it, to work through it and to make sure that I understand what it was that I'd be saying. I should have rehearsed with the script, even if I didn't necessarily have to memorize it, and had a few different delivery styles in my head. Practice is definitely a way to alleviate pressure on the day.
3. Plan for Traffic
Even the jobs that seem easy and relaxing come with their share of stress. For one, travel and traffic are a definite and always unpredictable source of frustration. I always leave extra time to deal with the unforeseen on this front. Like, extra, extra time. Obnoxiously extra.
4. Rest When You Can
The knowledge that I've gotten as much sleep as I need helps keep me relaxed, as well. And, I'm a sleeper. I need at least 8 hours. There's not always time for that but I do make sure that I have enough rest whenever possible. Even if it feels weird resting during the day or when my kids are home and I should be spending time with them, I know that for me to be on my game, I have to be a little selfish in this area and REST.
5. Prepare the Night Before
Preparing the night before ALWAYS helps me alleviate the pressure of getting out of the house on time, which helps with #3, too. I really do prepare as much as possible - snacks, drinks and wardrobe, and put everything in the car the night before because you just never know what the morning will bring.
You've worked so hard to get the job, don't let the pressure get to you once you're booked!
Take my advice and alleviate at least some of it with the above tips. The rest of it...well, all I can say is...get used to it, kid!