My definition of a working actor includes getting paid fair wages for your time and skills…most of the time.
Many Chicago plays and films offer no monetary remuneration, not even reimbursement of expenses. Some offer a stipend, but that can end up being minimum wage or less per hour. Often indie and student films at least offer food and a copy of the work (if you can actually get it). Actors can end up losing money on the deal if they have to pay for parking, gas (or public transportation), and some self-costuming.
But they choose to spend several nights a week rehearsing and performing for the joy of it. For the experience, resume credit, chance to work with well-known/up and coming production staff, and hope of good reviews and/or that agents and casting directors might see it and take note. Those things can make free or low-paying work worth the effort.
I hope actors who work that hard for others also work as hard for themselves…self-marketing for additional opportunities. Which is why I give workshops on that topic. Actors are entrepreneurs and thus need to keep putting irons in the fire to increase chances for a steady stream of opportunities. My many years of sales experience have helped with that. Some weeks, it really pays off…with multiple auditions (both on-camera and VO) and several jobs.