In Her Words
Pay Your Dues and Use the Membership
Everyone starts on the bottom rung
By: Mayra David
“Paying your dues” – the tried and true rite of passage of the working world. I knew I had to pay them. But I also knew I wanted to work in a creative field that often doesn’t have a clear cut hierarchy. So who collected dues from writers? Or actors?
The path wasn’t clear to me, so after college I took a job as an administrative assistant at a real estate firm. I hated the work but did it well. Soon, the firm asked me to work as a broker’s assistant; it was a thankless job and after two months I wanted to quit.
Instead, I persevered. I realized that my job was no less an education than college had been. I was learning new skills and, above all, professionalism. Over time, my responsibilities became varied and infinitely more challenging. Eventually, I got to cut my creative teeth writing ads and small features in trade magazines. And because many of my clients were famous writers, directors and actors, I got to hear about their work and how they’d started out. (Finally!) Time and again, their stories reminded me: “There are no small roles, only small actors.”
So indeed, in one way or another, we all pay our dues.