Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Give Show Biz a Try!

Q.. I know I have a more than average singing voice, can hold my own doing a shuffle and a tap, and I love acting. My dream is to work in musical theater-or any theater-and I've appeared in several productions during my three years in college. As I approach my senior year, my parents are asking what I'm going to do for a living. How do I know? I know I want to go to LA and at least TRY and use my talent in some way that I'll enjoy. They want me to be a teacher. A TEACHER!!!! Can you believe that?

Ans. Most parents CAN believe that because their main goal is to feel you can take care of yourself after they no longer are in a position to do so. One solution is to take a few courses in the education curriculum so you'll be prepared to teach theater arts if you don't find a career on the stage. Another is to get some basic business courses, such as marketing, sales, or other subjects that will increase any company's revenue, under your belt so you can hunt for a job in the corporate world. Your theater arts and communications skills will certainly help you in all of those. But no one should discourage you from pursuing a dream you feel passionately about. If at all possible, go to LA or New York, or Dollywood or Branson-and give it a try. Also consider one of the many other jobs in theater besides acting. Look to the excellent new book by Mark Scherzer and Keith Fenimore, Hire Me Hollywood! It gives a brilliant behind-the-scenes guide to many exciting and unexpected other careers in show business, with interviews of 30 insiders who tell how to get them. Some of those jobs are production designer, on-set tutor/studio teacher, programming, executive producer, voice-over actor, talent producer, and so many more. Workdays will feel shorter, and life will be sweeter, if you work in an industry you love.

Hold that Temper

Negotiating salary in bad economy