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If I were to step away from my resident gig someone else would quickly come up to take it over and I would be SOL. 


That's the entire reason I was so worried about having a child. Thankfully my resident gig in ballet was mainly Monday-Friday 9am-5:30pm unless we were in show, which was only 4 weeks out of the season, plus the month of December. (And I'd been there for 9 years and they were cool with me bringing him to work a few times a week.) Now, once that ballet went out of business, I had to switch careers to get something else that was mostly 9a-5pm.


Though I left the biz back in March 2016, I still kept in contact with smaller companies I had worked for, letting them know my new availability. I ended up working for the smaller companies (getting permission granted from my new employer - though I had to spend all of my breaks and time off from rehearsal working for them) a few times until I moved out of state in late 2017. And then I let them know that as well.


Unfortunately, I have yet to achieve any work/life balance, even with leaving the business. We SMs are an interesting type - we are incredibly dedicated and take on ownership of our responsibilities to the Nth degree. (Regardless where we work.) It's why it's hard for us to stop working/take a break/get away. But it is also hard to step away for fear of being forgotten/replaced - but you never know when everyone else's schedule isn't going to work and yours does. Just keep up your contacts, even reaching out to replacements (if your PM moved on, reach out to the new guy, telling him your history and your interest in the company) - that worked for me! Who wouldn't want someone with some familiarity with the company to work for you when you're new and may not know the area?


Since moving out of state, I work from home remotely for my last employer. The time difference is tough, especially when I'm trying to make dinner for my son and they are calling me with questions/problems to solve - or I get a phone call at 1am, because it's only 10pm there. At some point I will find a way to achieve that balance - but so far it's been 6 months and I haven't figured it out yet.
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Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Taking time off
« Last post by smejs on May 08, 2018, 04:27 pm »
I ended up taking some time "away" in a sense, when I spent 9 1/2 years in educational opera, with only 3 Equity gigs in the meantime. I did attend USITT national conference every year, and tried to keep contacts up, kept involved with new trends, and if you know me (or my name), you'll know I'm very active in holding stage manager social gatherings.

About a year before I left, I really started leaving hints to my network that I was looking for something that would let me slip my "golden handcuffs" of health insurance and other benefits, to get back to "real" stage management. I managed to find a job through a Facebook posting, and negotiated with them to hire me for two different shows - enough to have me break those handcuffs. I spent quite a bit of time taking whatever smaller gigs I could, and contacting friends, including Facebook posts "hey, I'm available" etc. About a year in, one friend said, "Are you still looking? My old boss is looking for a new PSM." And short story, I'm now about to do my 4th contract with them in a little over a year's time.

So, my "short" answer is, do whatever you can to network and self-improve, and let folks know you're looking - though networking is also about making friends and connecting, not just "HEY HIRE ME" (caps intended). The honest approach is good for me - I left the opera because I missed the ebb and flow of shows that prepped, rehearsed, performed, then closed. Life happens for those who have kids, too, and maturity can be an asset.

As for work/life balance....while I have to do the unemployment thing, I also use it to go boating as much as I can, and catch up on the friendships (and house organization....) that I've missed while out of town. While out of town, I try to catch friends around the country, and I adore the Roadside America app to help me find fun new things to do. Also, get out of the theatre for a tiny bit on tech days during a break. Don't stay inside your whole break. I'm also grateful for my Netflix account.....

Best of luck,
Erin
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Be honest, and just express it. Without knowing your producer, they probably think they are doing the right thing keeping you in the loop.

Agreed. Honesty is the solution to most problems.

I know the experience, Tempest, as I am also essentially "on call" for issues and solutions, due to necessity. I try and set the tone before my days off, even if it's with "I'll talk to you on Tuesday" or even saying "I'm not really available for quick responses on _____ day, so email would be best for updates or questions."
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"Hey x... Please take this as it is intended, but can you please try to avoid calling me on a Monday - unless you need something urgently sorted for Tuesday? I am a bit sensitive about my time off at the moment because life is a bit hectic. I am happy for you to contact performers directly if you need to deal with an issue regarding illnesses and absence and just send me a summary after the fact - that will probably make your life easier as well. Let me know if you need me to provide an updated contact list to you"

Be honest, and just express it. Without knowing your producer, they probably think they are doing the right thing keeping you in the loop.
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(...unless it's an emergency, of course)

"I know it's your day off, but..."
It's Monday, and I've been fielding texts, all day, from my producer, in regards to a performer who felt ill during yesterday's shows. mostly, I've just been a forwarding service, passing the producer's texts on to the performer in question, and the performer's texts back to the producer.

They could easily just text or call each other. Then, call me if the show ends up needing some sort of adjustment.

I don't mind being contacted about time-sensitive things for which I'm the only resource, but this is a ridiculous amount of playing telephone for a minor illness that did not and probably will not affect performances.

I'm maybe a little sensitive about my time off, right now; I haven't had a vacation in 9 months, the current show is an absolute beast with a stupid-long run, and I'm getting married in less than three weeks. So I am a little on edge.

But I don't think it's unreasonable to ask not to be disturbed for this sort of thing on my day off.
I just have no idea HOW to go about communicating that. Any advice, my dear colleagues?
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Introductions / Re: Livin' la Vida Loca
« Last post by Maribeth on Apr 30, 2018, 11:49 pm »
Hi and welcome, Bruce! Congrats on your AEA contract.
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The Hardline / Re: AEA ELECTIONS VOTE!!!!
« Last post by bex on Apr 30, 2018, 01:47 pm »
I voted already but I wanted to throw in my support for one of my mentors, Roy Gross- a fantastic SM who is also the DC/Baltimore Area Liasion committee chair and is helping lead the "Regions on Council" movement. If you live outside of an office city, Roy wants to have your back on Council.
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Introductions / Re: Livin' la Vida Loca
« Last post by VSM on Apr 29, 2018, 11:49 pm »
Welcome Aboard!!!
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The Hardline / Re: AEA ELECTIONS VOTE!!!!
« Last post by loebtmc on Apr 29, 2018, 08:50 pm »
Yes, as mentioned, happy to offer my opinion on folks, and Ruth (as she mentioned)  there are a few others who I assume would be happy to share opinions but will let them volunteer. And again, please do it privately. But feel free to do it! (I, for one, have some strong opinions to share ....)
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Introductions / Livin' la Vida Loca
« Last post by BFB954 on Apr 29, 2018, 08:10 pm »
I'm a 58 year old from SoFlo who just signed his very first AEA Contract!

Recently retired from Public Education after 33 years at Dillard Center for the Arts, I am too old to deal with the students all day every day but too young to sit on the beach and sip margaritas!  8)

I earned my BA in Scenic Design but have freelanced the past 18 years as a Lighting Designer/Stage Manager for several dance companies in Miami. Free from the day-to-day obligations of TEACHING Scenic Design, Stage Lighting, and Stage Management I have incorporated my own Limited Liability Corporation, BFB Designs LLC, focused on the continued practice of my passion!

It has been far too many years since I last Stage Managed a Musical Theatrical Production but with the support of my vast network of students working in the profession AND this great SMNetwork to reference I am ready to tackle tomorrow morning's first rehearsal and enjoy the crazy life!

Thanks for this amazing resource!!!
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