By Amy Poehler
"I once was having dinner with an old friend back when I was on SNL. Baby Mama was coming out and I was in the middle of one of those weird press pushes where your face is on taxis and you are doing talk shows all the time. My friend, who was as funny and talented as me but chose not to be an actor, was talking about how he was seeing my face everywhere. He went on and on about how he was seeing my face everywhere. He pointed out that people were really starting to know my name and asked me if I "could believe it." "Yes," I said. I had worked for over a decade to get to this moment. I hadn't just dropped my script into someone's lap on a train. "Can you?" I asked him.
But I was lucky. Your career and your passions don't always match up. Plenty of talented people don't have the careers they want. Plenty of untalented people make millions and make movies. There is a difference between determination and talent. Hard work doesn't always matter. You can be the best at making contacts and going after jobs, but then suddenly you want it too much. Suddenly everybody feels how bad you want it and they don't want to give it to you. Even at six years old Archie is learning to stop paying attention to the toy he wants. He knows that if he lets on how bad he wants it his four-year-old brother will snatch that whizz up in a hot second. Pretending to not want something can work. Really not caring if you get it takes a lifetime of practice."
"Creativity is connected to your passion, that light inside you that drives you. That joy that comes when you do something you love. That small voice that tells you, "I like this. Do this again. You are good at it. Keep going." That is the juicy stuff that lubricates our lives and helps us feel less alone in the world. Your creativity is not a bad boyfriend. It is a really warm older Hispanic lady who has a beautiful laugh and loves to hug. If you are even a little bit nice to her she will make you feel great and maybe cook you delicious food.
Career is different. Career is the stringing together of opportunities and jobs. Mix in public opinion and past regrets. Add a dash of future panic and a whole lot of financial uncertainty. Career is something that fools you into thinking you are in control and then takes pleasure in reminding you that you aren't. Career is the thing that will not fill you up and make you truly whole. Depending on your career is like eating cake for breakfast and wondering why you start crying an hour later."
"You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.
I realize this is extremely difficult. I am not saying I am particularly good at it. I'm like you. Or maybe you're better at this than I am.
You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout, "I made it!" You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful. Most people I know struggle with that complicated soup of feeling slighted on one hand and like a total fraud on the other. Our ego is a monster that loves to sit at the head of the table and I have learned that my ego is just as rude and loud and hungry as everyone else's. It doesn't matter how much you get; you are left wanting more. Success is filled with MSG.
Ambivalence can help tame the beast. Remember, your career is a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don't depend on it. It will reward you every time you don't act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you. If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else."
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