As many millennials, I have a CV where the field specifying a profession could be filled with many different titles.
From the stage...
I used to be an opera singer. I studied it, seriously - did my Master's in Vienna, the capital city of classical music. I loved singing in a similar way you love a toxic partner - passionately and for the wrong reasons.
In Poland they raise stage artists to think that they are doing something better than mere mortals. They do hint at you that maaaybe it will be difficult to make a living from it, so study something parallel, but at the same time sacrifice everything for singing because without it you will lose the one thing that magically makes you better than other humans.
Also, since art is so much more meaningful than the rest, let others treat you like shit - especially allow it to those "artists" written with the capital "A". Or those who are the ones to name who is written with what "a". For example an older conductor, older professor, older director...
This makes young, naive and ambitious adepts think that they have to be harsh with themselves, push themselves beyond their limits, to please everyone above them.
Vienna was different, but that didn't wake me up yet.
I quit singing in 2020, right before the pandemic hit.
Since then, I had some adventurous, culture related, more or less freelance jobs, where I learned most not from what I was doing but with whom I was doing it. I found real lifetime friends who, combined with various therapies, have healed me in many ways. However, the toxic of culture world was still present.
to starting an adventure with business.
Now I have what one would call a regular job and I am so, so excited about it and so grateful I finally had the courage to take this step.
For those aspiring to work in culture
For those who live in Poland or a similar country - if you are corrupt, go ahead! If you are tough and have the ability to isolate yourself from whatever is disturbing to you in some way and just focus on what gives you pleasure and satisfaction - have a go at it! If you are determined to suffer to make a change - the way is free! If you aren't any of those, believe me you won't feel good. Go to the theatre as a spectator, enjoy the show they put up for you and do not spoil the illusion for yourself.
For those living in more civilised countries maybe you do not have to be corrupt, but all the other stuff applies.
Of course there are exceptions, some unique, beautiful people and institutions. And of course it's all written from my very personal perspective.