Work Ethic Is A Bitch

Now let’s just set the record straight: I work hard. Always have, always will. Why?

A)
I’m Latino, it’s in our DNA. Although, like I mentioned in a previous
blog entry, this is one Latino who is not mowing your lawns or cleaning
out your pools. Okaayyy. And as a Latino, a minority, I have to work
twice as hard as my Caucasian male counterparts. Interesting fact: Did
you know that SAG-AFTRA classifies everyone, except for Caucasian males,
a minority?

B)
My mother instilled the value of hard work at a very young age. She
wanted her children to achieve more than she did. As a result, she was
incredibly militant when it came to our homework. She set the tone right
away in pre-kindergarten. She wanted to make sure that we were turning
in professional, excellent, clean-looking work. And I say
“clean-looking” because all of our homework was hand-written on paper
with a pencil.

When I was in elementary school, I would always do
my homework at the dining room table. I had my Mead composition
notebook and #2 pencil. And God bless my mother, because in order to
save money and cut down on costs, she would buy me the generic, non-name
brand pencils with the cheap erasers. So, if I ever had to erase a
mistake, I was fucked because the eraser would smudge the graphite
across the word or words I was trying to erase. The cheap eraser never
made a clean erase. My mother would come over, see the smudge and then
violently snatch the paper off the dining room table. She would then
crumple it up in my face and say, “Do it again! You’re not turning in
this mess to your teacher!”

My mom never pushed us to perfection,
but rather, to excellence. She crumpled up the paper because she knew I
could do better. That I could present a better product to my teacher.
Was this smudge-filled homework the best work I could turn in? If not,
then go back to the drawing board until I created the best work
possible. And that philosophy has stayed with me throughout my life. As
Richard Lawson would say, “Do Your Best And Forget The Rest”. Did you do
your best? If so, great. Now forget the rest.

C)
I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Nothing was ever given
to me (except hand-me-downs LOL) I worked hard for everything in my
life.

So, I work hard. Anyone who knows me knows that.

But
MAN, working hard is a bitch. Work ethic is a bitch. This year alone,
I’m averaging about 35 hours a week into my career. I hate being the
nerd who misses out on countless events because I wanted to stay in and
get this scene in my screenplay just right. I hate being the geek who
has to schedule his best friend or family member into a 30-minute slot
because I have an audition that I’m still carving out. Or because I have
a second round of communications I need to draft up and execute for my
target list of management companies. Or because I have rehearsal. Or
because I have hours of relationship map building to administrate and
execute. Or because I’m working on a pitch for another TV series.

I
just turned down an invitation to hang out with a hot ex-military guy
this past Friday night because I wanted to front load my career
administration for the week instead (Friday is the start of the week for
me) When I front load my work, then the rest of the week flows
beautifully. But again, he was a HOT EX-MILITARY guy. Damn you work
ethic! Work ethic is a bitch!

The Friday night before (August
7th), I was up till 12am re-cutting my dramatic reel to make it a
stronger representation of my acting abilities. I spent three hours not
only re-cutting my reel, but also fixing all the sound levels from one
clip to the next to make sure they were all even and consistent. I
wanted to make sure that I was creating the best product possible to
send out to managers.

I normally wake up at 6am and go to bed at
1am. I hate it. Work ethic is a bitch. I love sleeping. I love my bed.
Guys love my bed. Well, they love me more, but they love my bed too.
It’s so amazingly comfortable and inviting. You think I want to get up
while everyone else is still sleeping? You think I still want to be up
while everyone else is sleeping? Sometimes, I’ll drive to a rehearsal or
a fitness training in the morning and I’ll see people stumbling out of
the clubs.

Work ethic is a bitch.

For the love of God, why can’t I just:

**Dance all day long

**Be at the beach all day long (Well, not Los Angeles beaches…the water is so fucking cold)

**Eat Belgian chocolate pudding from Trader Joe’s all day long

**Drink champagne all day long

**Watch Madonna videos all day long and recreate them…again

**Be on Tindr, Lavendr and Grindr all day long (what is it with these online dating/hook up sites ending with the letter “R”?)

**Hook up all day long

**Have sex all day long

**Travel around the world

**Get a full body massage all day long

**Drive around in a luxury car with friends all day long

**Binge watch different TV shows on Netflix all day long

ETC. ETC. ETC.

But
then I take a step back and realize that today is Madonna’s birthday.
57 years ago, on August 16th, 1958, Madonna Veronica Louise Ciccone was
sent from heaven and was born in Bay City, Michigan.

Madonna
NEVER has to work again in her entire life. She has nothing left to
prove. She IS the Queen of Pop. She created the template from which all
female (and some male) pop stars draw from. She obliterated the
restrictions on what women could do and should be. She changed and
crafted pop culture. She was the M in MTV. She has more top ten singles
(38) on the Billboard Hot 100 than any other solo artist. She has more
number one singles (46) on a singular Billboard chart than any other
artist. Forbes named her the richest musician in 2013. She is currently
worth more than 800 million dollars. She’s about to embark on another
massive world tour to support her latest album, “Rebel Heart” (which is
my favorite Madonna album of all time now). She evolves. She progresses.
She looks forward, never back.

She can retire TODAY. But since
the beginning, Madonna has had a powerful work ethic. She is one of the
hardest, most professional, most consistent artists out there. She is a
work-a-holic. A perfectionist. She oversees every single aspect of her
career…down to the earrings a dancer wears to the nail polish that an
extra is wearing on her film sets. When on tour, she does a full run
through of every show before the actual show starts at 8pm. She’s the
first one to clock in and the last one to clock out. 12 hour-plus days.
She has more energy than people half her age. Regarding how she
continues to amass her fortune and not be taken advantage of
financially, she once famously said, “Because I actually read the
contracts.”

She directs feature films, runs a clothing and
fragrance line, has written children’s books, raises four beautiful
children, builds schools in Malawi, etc.

Her work ethic is
INCREDIBLE because she is driven by her purpose, her raison d’être
(reason for being or existence) She still has so much to say. She loves
what she does. She knows her responsibility and power as an artist.

Hmmm,
57 years old and worth more than $800 million dollars? Still relevant
and provoking people to wake up and be better versions of themselves?
Maybe work ethic isn’t so bad. I mean, do I want to spend all day
getting a massage, or do I want to add another hour to my rehearsal so
that at the end of the day, I can walk away cleanly because I did the
best work that I could do? I’ll take the latter.

Work ethic is
not a bitch. Work ethic is my BITCH. I work hard because I love what I
do and because I have something to say. I work hard so that everything I
present is the best work possible. I work hard so that I can have pride
in what I share with others. I work hard so that at the end of the day,
I don’t have any regrets or skeletons haunting me saying, “You should
have worked harder. You could have done better.” I work hard because the
payoff is wonderful.

Work
ethic has been my weapon in staying sharp, ready and current. Work
ethic has never let me down. The greats are great and stay relevant
because of work ethic. Things move forward and happen when work ethic is
involved.

With
all this talk about work ethic, I can’t leave out the importance of
celebration. I have gotten much better at incorporating celebration more
and more into my life. To celebrate the wins and achievements along the
way. To do my best work and then celebrate. Celebrations remind me of
my progress, my journey and my wins. Large wins, small wins, celebrate
them all. I have purchased art work, gotten massages, purchased
champagne, etc. to mark my wins.

For example, I mentioned earlier
that I front-loaded my work this past Friday night. And guess what? That
hot ex-military guy reached out again today to hang out. This time, I
said “Yes.” I can afford a celebration tonight for the work I did on
Friday.

“Holiday! Celebrate!”

Thank you Madonna and Happy Birthday.

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