Author Topic: CAREER GROWTH: Taking control of your career  (Read 5883 times)

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loebtmc

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Re: CAREER GROWTH: Taking control of your career
« Reply #15 on: Jul 07, 2010, 06:23 pm »
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I would ask yourself: what do I want from my career? Take some time to list your career goals, what do you want next? And after that? What time period are you looking at that's reasonable to accomplish these goals? What do you feel you have to do to accomplish/move your career forward? 

Maybe I am reading this incorrectly, but I think Matthew's initial topic is not so much a "how to get clear and decide what I want/manifest my dreams" kinda qq but rather a practical discussion on steps people take to open doors to jobs once they decide where they want to be; a veritable road map, as it were. So it's not so much "wow I would really like to be on a production contract" but instead "to get my first production contract I observed X shows and stayed in touch w this or that PSM" /"chatted up PMs in the local road houses and left resumes" / "took everyone for drinks and got them to sign binding contracts while snockered" kinda stuff. For example, I really want to work in the big contract houses locally and have done all the traditional steps to get them to know me, and I have done the personal work - but enjoy learning (for example) how others opened up seemingly locked doors or overcame specific prejudices (age/gender/etc). What kinds of qqs did the PSM love being asked when you observed, how did you stay out of their way but still impress enough to be put in the rolodex - that is, practical actions taken.

In other words, how to take control of a career where luck, chance and happenstance are as much a part of the deal as skill and experience.

At least, that's what I think this topic means to share. Please feel free to correct me if I misunderstood!

« Last Edit: Jul 07, 2010, 06:24 pm by loebtmc »

MatthewShiner

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Re: CAREER GROWTH: Taking control of your career
« Reply #16 on: Jul 07, 2010, 07:42 pm »
Yes, lobtmc, that is the main thrust behind behind this conversation.  But, part of what you need to do before you make the move is figure out where you want your career to go - so SMrose really brings up the conversation to have BEFORE the one I am proposing now.

Really, I am talking about the career choices when you are past the "I just need a job", to make your next job choice with the bigger career choice in mind.  Granted, continued employment is part of that, but there comes a point where you have to say "the next job is not the job that is going to take me to the next point in my career".  And how do you know it's time to shake up you career?  When does a series of jobs not make a career?

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

NomieRae

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Re: CAREER GROWTH: Taking control of your career
« Reply #17 on: Jul 10, 2010, 05:29 pm »
such an interesting thread...

I agree with Matthew...
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I do wish the career was less and less about who you know, and more and more about the experience you carry and type of stage manager you are.  The system in place tends to reinforce bad stage managers who stick with it . . . and young stage managers who will work for next to nothing.

I can't tell you about how many times I work on a project where people are amazed that they have a good stage manager. Floors me.

But back to the topic at hand -- I've thought a lot about how to take my career "forward" and everything usually circles back to networking and doing the best job possible.  Honestly I'd like to say just knowing the right people gets me work, but time and time again it's working a terrible show with the right people and weathering the storm that gets me work.  Having people see you shine in unfortunate circumstances is better than any resume credit, in my opinion.

That being said the few things I've focused on doing pro-actively this year are knowing how much my time is worth, and continuing to challenge myself.  While I could work for an Off Broadway show (Funny story Matt--I was on the list to be interviewed for the PA position on 39 Steps) I have sat down and decided I cannot and will not take work that doesn't pay me enough to live and thrive on. Risky? Yes, especially in a city where newer SMs will do musicals for $300. But also it has kept me focused on finding work that wasn't going to make me question my career choice while I ate ramen for 3 months.

The second, challenging myself, is more of a personal choice I suppose. I find that if I'm working on a show where I'm 100% comfortable, things go smoothly, where there's enough time, enough money, and no challenges or new opportunities (such as working with new technology, fly rails, automation, pyro...etc) then  I feel pretty stagnant and non-competitive in the industry. So I make it a priority to make myself well rounded and willing to take on new things.

Just my $.02
--Naomi
"First, I honor life, and with it my life in theatre." -- Jacques Burdick

MatthewShiner

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Re: CAREER GROWTH: Taking control of your career
« Reply #18 on: Jul 10, 2010, 06:27 pm »
Interesting that networking keeps coming up . . . I feel, in reality, networking, even if you are aggressive about it - is a pretty passive way to take control of your career - it seems to me to be more about getting your name out there and waiting for someone to activate something your way.  To me, networking is about getting jobs, making a choice for a career is much more active.

I think it's a smart move in everyone's career to only take jobs that pay a living wage (I wish we all held to this belief . . . it might end those $300 run of the show contracts) . . . but there will be times when it may be in the best interest of your career to take something that pays a little less to open up new doors.  I took about a 10% pay cut to take my show in New York City, but it got me working in the city, on a pretty popular show, gives me a steady income while I work with a Broadway GM, make connections, "network", and sort of wrap my head around what I want to do next. 

Also, on the personal front it has allowed me to flex the muscles of maintaining a show in the long term - something that is not really a major issue in most regional theater.  We just hit 100 performances this afternoon - very few regional theatres get to 50 performances, let alone 100.  I wanted to prove to myself that a) I could still do this (I did 2 long running shows earlier in my career) and b) if I still found it interesting (especially in a market where the best paying gigs are on long running shows, you need to be able to find an interest in maintaining the show and where your skills lie in that situation - if you are going to market yourself there.)  It was also interesting to “take over” a show – and everything that is involved in that.

In my two months here . . . I have learned quite a bit about myself - what I miss about being in the regional theater model, what I don't miss, what I like about being in the commercial theatre world, what I don’t like, and some of the major frustrations of being a freelance stage manager who wants to stay in NYC and in the commercial theatre world. I wish, for myself, that what I learned made the next choice clear, but in reality, it has made it very difficult – in that I love and hate things in both worlds, and the reality of the situation is I think I could be happy in either, but always doing the grass is greener thing.  Sigh.   

One of the biggest things I find myself facing is “what type of stage manager” do I want to be – do I jump from one show to another?  Do I show loyalty to a show and the direction?  Do I show loyalty to a General Manager?  Do I just look out for myself?  These are all things that sort of reflect on me – and word gets around pretty quickly about what time of SM you are.  (To this day, the two contracts I bailed on . . . for very legitimate reasons – still haunt my mind, and I think may have hurt my early career.)

But, I do want a career filled with fresh challenges, that will continue to make me grow – which is why I want to take control of my career and be able to steer in the direction that I feel can make me the greatest success I can be.

 ???
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

 

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