Author Topic: Part-Time Work  (Read 9108 times)

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MarcieA

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Part-Time Work
« on: Oct 05, 2006, 05:25 pm »
I'm biting the bullet, and after some fairly major financial mishaps narrowly avoided thanks to help from my parents, I am going to start looking for a part-time job to supplement my income.

For those that SM and work part-time, what companies have you found to be understanding about scheduling and such? I hate the idea of working for a big corporation, but I'm looking at Cingular (my cell company), Starbucks (for the early morning hours) and Trader Joe's (because I like it there).

Any suggestions?
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

nmno

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #1 on: Oct 05, 2006, 10:17 pm »
I know of a couple of people who work for Starbucks and like it.  One person was an actor from out of town on a 9 week contract. Our theatre was across the street from a Starbucks - he talked to them and they let him pick up a few shifts each week to make a little extra $$.  He would mostly work a shift that got him out by 6:30 so he could grab dinner and a rest before 1/2 hour. 

In the past I have worked as a substitute teacher, which works out well for between gigs and once in the run and have your days free.  You can pick what days you do (not) want to work.  Sometimes they break it into shifts (ie. just the morning or just the afternoon.)  They call (EARLY) in the am if they have available assignments and you can accept or decline.  A lot of the time, it was $120/day to watch the same movie 5 times.  Other times, actually teaching.  Requires classroom management skills - wrangling the students really not all that different than actors :)  You'll have to check with your local districts (you can sign up with more than one)...  In some places they require a sub to have a full teaching credential (I know San Diego was one of those places); most just require a Bachelors (any discipline).  In California you also have to pass the CBEST (fairly easy); also had to have a TB test and a DOJ clearance/fingerprints.  Don't know what other states do.

Currently, I'm making extra cash working as a reader for teachers (basically, grading papers).  Fairly easy but the best thing is you can do it at any time of day.  Last show I did had 2 hours between curtain down and crew call on two show days, perfect time to get some grading done.  Could do it at 11p when I got home.  Could bring them with me to the coffee place while I had my morning caffeine fix...  Check with your local districts to see if they have a program.

Ryan Rollinson

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #2 on: Oct 06, 2006, 06:25 pm »
Starbucks is great for flexible scheduling, although with limited availability comes limited hours; the system they use for scheduling tends to favor those employees who are available anytime over those who are only available for specific shifts.
I'll quit coffee.  It won't be easy drinking my Bailey's straight, but I'll get used to it.  It'll still be the best part of waking up.
Megan Mullally as "Karen," Will & Grace

Rebbe

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #3 on: Oct 06, 2006, 10:19 pm »
Try applying with a Temp agency.  I love temping.  It’s flexible.  It’s easy to the point of brain freeze.  You leave the job at the office.  If you get sick of the job, there’s always another assignment.  You can quietly laugh at how mundane Office Life is, and be that much more thankful that your real job is in Theater.  Plus, the employeers will most likely love you for being prompt, efficient, courteous, and not running away during your lunch break or subscribing to magazines on behalf of their company.  Really….I’ve heard some weird stories at some of the places I’ve worked! 

I don’t know how good the larger staffing agencies are, but I use a smaller, local one, and at this point I just call when I want to get back into the rotation, telling them the time-frame I’m available for.   
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

smejs

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #4 on: Oct 07, 2006, 12:19 am »
Quote
Try applying with a Temp agency.
I've done temping several times, but lately I've found it frustrating because I test so well in Word, Excel, type 85+ wpm, etc. that they want me to do a temp-to-perm position...where it's a long-term gig.  Sure, it's technically temporary, so I could lie and say I'd be available a long time, but that's just not my style.  I WILL end up talking about theatre.  Granted, this was for OfficeTeam (a large temp company) and was in Ohio where people don't tend to move around too much as jobs and certainly aren't used to theatre people, so others may be more flexible.  And many places in Ohio use temp workers rather than hiring their own full time people so that they don't have to worry about health benefits until they're sure they like the employee.  (Sad, but true in the places I worked.)

But I did enjoy temping because it was incredibly easy for me, yet everyone thought I had a strong work ethic.  And, funny when I worked a government job they actually told me to bring in a book to read because I was completing tasks too quick for them.  And then creative "fixes" for things...like basically creating a prop mailbox system one time...the other office people find incredibly intriguing.  And whenever I do it, it reminds me how much I LOVE the theatre jobs.

Erin

nmno

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #5 on: Oct 09, 2006, 01:35 pm »
A suggestion for temp work: try a local university.  I had a much more successful and pleasant experience at the couple I temped for than with the big commercial places.

MarcieA

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #6 on: Feb 06, 2007, 01:05 pm »
A quick update:

I've been looking since September and I have finally found a part time job!

I'll be working for Boston Stoker (those of you from The Dayton will know it), which is a local coffee house, who also produces their own coffee.

It will be a little rough with the hours (4:30AM-12N or 7AM-2PM depending on the day) but at least this way I'll have a good portion of my day afternoon to do things and to go to the gym, and nap before rehearsal. Plus it's only 3 days a week, so I think I'll live.

Huge weight lifted!!!
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2007, 01:16 pm by MarcieA »
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

Ellen B.

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #7 on: Feb 07, 2007, 01:49 pm »
It sounds like you've found a decent part-time job. 

Mine is carpentry- I'm pretty experienced at this, having been a master carp before, so it is easy to pick up load ins/ strikes and even to work part time on builds.  Plus, since the day job is still with theatres, they tend to be more understanding about flexibility.

OldeWolf

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #8 on: Feb 07, 2007, 03:14 pm »
A quick update:

I've been looking since September and I have finally found a part time job!

Huge weight lifted!!!

That's great, Marcie! I know a lot of theatre folk who do Starbucks, Peets, or the local derivative, for the same reason. Flexibility of hours. Doesn't hurt if you love coffee, I'm sure.

When looking for supplemental work, I've found it really helps to have skills that can be applied to other parts of the theater. I'm lucky in that my main entre to the theater was in costume (I'm a tailor by training) so I've been able to contract to ASM and stitch costumes for a show I want to work this summer but couldn't afford to do without the stitcher job. I'll do most anything that pays in a theater, often painting the set and SMing for small producitons.
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MarcieA

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #9 on: Feb 07, 2007, 03:45 pm »

When looking for supplemental work, I've found it really helps to have skills that can be applied to other parts of the theater. I'm lucky in that my main entre to the theater was in costume (I'm a tailor by training)

You're completely right. I've been lucky thus far in being able to do that actually. I've a dual degree in costume design and stage management, so I'm also lucky there. This show however is being built by the designer in CA and brough to us, so not luck this time around. Unfortunately there isn't much paying work outside of the theatre I'm at.

I will be free lancing for the local ballet in March though, so that's some extra money as well. It will be VERY VERY long days, but I have a wedding I'm in in April and 6 weeks dark during the summer and haven't yet decided what I'm going to  for work, so any extra money is much appreciated.
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

ljh007

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #10 on: Feb 07, 2007, 04:26 pm »
One of the best temp jobs I picked up was event work. Whether as an event manager or stagehand, it was quick money (usually very well paying) and somewhat theatrical. If I was hired as an event manager, I basically ran around with a headset and clipboard all night.

I had the same problem smejs has with temping (and in Ohio, too!) - that they always wanted temp-to-hire positions. I worked at Half Price Books (for those of you lucky enough to have one of these awesome stores in your city), and while it's not really company policy to be so flexible with their shifts, they were great with working with my crazy schedule. I actually held down a full-time job there while stage managing nearly every night for several years.

Meanwhile, there's always serving! I actually enjoy working as a waitress. But I do hate laying the burn on a restaurant when I know I'll be leaving in a few months. Sometimes if you're up front about this with the manager, they'll ask you not to share this info with the rest of the staff. But it's an extremely high-turnover industry, and they are usually happy to have competent help and will hire you anyway.

BeckyGG

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #11 on: Feb 07, 2007, 05:49 pm »
How did you get involved in the event work?  I am lucky not to need additional income most of the time, but I did find myself unemployed for a stretch this year.  I had another gig coming up and didn't want to get involved in a temp-to-hire situation, but was certainly bored and could have used the money.  Event work also seems like an interesting field to expand into beyond the theater...
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Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be Chaos
Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.

ljh007

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #12 on: Feb 10, 2007, 11:12 am »
There are usually some event companies in mid-size and larger cities. Event companies' focus can range widelly - some are full-on production companies with light/sound departments, props, even talent departments (providing models, mascots, singers - whatever live entertainment you might desire). Other companies are really just inflated caterers. As you search, you'll come across a variety of companies, some of which might include guys who own a set of speakers and 20 folding chairs and call themselves a "Total Event Supplier" and others that might have expansive warehouses of equipment, a fleet of trucks, and dozens of event managers. (Hint: try to sign on with the latter.) You should try to meet with the Production Manager at an event company just so they know who you are. You'll get gigs sporadically, but they'll keep your resume on file. Summers (wedding season) and the holiday season (Nov-Dec) are busy times, as well as March (charity ball season).

Look in your yellow pages under some of the following key words:
  • "Event Management/Planners/Rentals"
  • "Banquets/Galas"

You can even go through gateway sites like wedding planners (www.theknot.com is the biggest and most comprehensive of these) to find companies providing these services. Read your newspaper's social pages to see who does the local charities' black-tie galas, who plans the grand opera ball, who does the big rich weddings and bar-mitzvahs in town.

Your work with these companies might range from grunt work (carrying equipment, tables, and other heavy things), stagehand-type work (rigging, dressing, prop building, set carpentry), catering work (setting tables, maybe even serving), truck driving, or miscellaneous making-pretty tasks (painting, building, and applying lots of glitter to everything). I think the work is interesting because I might assemble a dance floor in a very un-flat backyard field and then turn around to fuss with fake plastic flowers. You always need to be inventive and flexible - there's a guerilla-style "make it work" flavor to events. You might need to change into a nicer wardrobe than you usually wear for tech work - if you're around during an event, you might be asked to wear black slacks and a button-down shirt (white or black, usually). You might also work extremely long shifts - loading in, running, and loading-out an event for a straight 20-hours - and then back to the warehouse and on to the next event. But you might also be able to snag some free fancy food and laugh at the drunk people. And you'll definitely need to be ready to handle the bridezillas and lunching ladies who will swarm around you as you try to make that boatload of tulle into their conceived "fairytale ceiling cloud". Nonetheless, it's good money and (I think) fun work.
« Last Edit: Feb 23, 2007, 08:53 am by ljh007 »

centaura

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #13 on: Feb 10, 2007, 10:12 pm »
I worked for an event company as my off-tour job for several years.  It was a place that I could walk in and out of, if I was home for two months, I could walk in and work, and they knew that I would be off again in a few months time.  It takes a little bit of time to get established like that with a company, but offer your services.  If they have tear-down crews ask if they need an extra hand.  Tear-down, working the third shift - off hours, is where my event company was always looking for extra bodies.

-Centaura

LiLz

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Re: Part-Time Work
« Reply #14 on: Feb 13, 2007, 04:12 pm »
Hi!  Another source for event shops is Debbi's book - www.debbisbook.com - I've gotten work through event planning companies and a couple equipment rental houses in the past.  It can be a lot of fun and sometimes pays really well.  I haven't done it for a while because of the teaching thing, but I used to really enjoy it.

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