Author Topic: MORALE: There may be trouble ahead....! (Losing interest in the job)  (Read 4156 times)

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shoos

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Hello! Well, they do say a problem shared & all that!... So here goes! I've been working in Stage Management, for coming up to 10 years now ( when September rolls round that'll be 10!!) and for the past three years I've been touring with various productions & its just begun to dawn horribly on me that, well how else to describe it I think I've lost the joy in it! I'm not sure if its just the fact that the tour I'm currently on seems to be taking over my life!!!!! Anyway - rant over! - I suppose I'm asking the question, is a long term career possible in this industry, without having to sacrifice family, friends etc, I know its sounds a little like self indulgent rubbish, but at the moment I could do with any pearls of wisdom that you have to offer about trying to sort out that work - life balance thing!! Cheers guys x
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:28 am by PSMKay »

LisaEllis

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #1 on: Apr 26, 2007, 09:01 pm »
This is definitely a question we (and many theatre professionals) face.  It often surrounds the family, kids, home life situation, and can seem to be a daunting either/or proposition.

I currently freelance, which means I'm away from home a month, or 2 or 3, at a time.  I have to make decisions (and stick with them!) about how many contracts to take and when.  My husband has been a good sport about it thus far, and I'm finally settling into a routine of companies I work for.  But I have to decide when to be home and temp instead of taking another contract.

I think the job stays fresh for me because I'm always somewhere new, working with new people.  And the time off between gives me some at home time and lets me still look forward to the next job.

For you, it may mean changing the contracts you choose to take, instead of staying in the same rut.  Or may be take some down time to recharge your batteries.

It definitely sounds like you need a breather...

stageman7

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #2 on: Apr 26, 2007, 09:26 pm »
Hey Shoos- Sorry that you're feeling the blues! (I know, a silly rhyme) I found a solution in working on "the fringe" of theater in operations management. It allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of the Rep Theater where I work, but I also get to work 8AM-4PM with weekends and holidays off. Plus, I can do outside shows around my day job so I keep up my SM skills. Find something that makes you feel comfortable, whatever that is. By the way, I did many rock tours and other events where I wasn't especially thrilled about the star or the schedule or the way the trucks were loaded-you get the idea. But each job helped me to be more flexible, and maybe a bit mellower. Take care-Rich

Jessie_K

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #3 on: Apr 27, 2007, 02:27 am »
This is a question I ask myself a lot too. 

One of the best ways to make decent money at theatre is on tour.  I know people that have bought houses with saved up money from tour salary + per diem.  It's so tempting to just stay on the road (and semi-postpone life) for just one more leg or one just more show.

But it really does suck up your life.  I haven't had a relationship of any depth or length in years.  Tour makes it essentially impossible (not for everyone, I know, but definitely for me).  I lose contact with friends sometimes for months at a time.  I never see my cats. 

But I love the road too.  I love the wonderful of method, routine and innovation of tour.  Which is why I let it suck my life away.

Now can this/ should this be a long-term career? 

What are your goals? 

Are these the thoughts that cross your mind as you sit on yet another flight next to a crying baby?  Does the thrill and money outweigh the stress and all the events of your friends lives that you have to hear about by mass email?

If you figure it out, let me know!

Good luck with your soul-searching.  Please put up more of your thoughts. 

Tempest

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #4 on: Apr 27, 2007, 10:21 am »
Yes, it's "harder" than some "normal" jobs but then again, there are folks who work in cities who have commutes out to the burbs that are hours long and they are literally gone from dawn to way past dusk - ask them how happy they are.

I'm in both situations.  I live at least an hour and a half outside Atlanta, where I do all my work, plus work a day job in the city.  I've recently come to the conclusion that I'm tired of working my ass off at twelve hour days five days a week and 6 hour days the other two, plus a two hour commute daily.  I never get to see my husband (we've been married less than a year, we get to see each other while conscious about 5 hours a week) or finish the renovations I'm doing on the house.

I've finally concluded that I'm not working my priorties.  I WANT to have time to sit on my porch and sip tea, and take naps, occasionally, in the middle of the day, and play with my pets, and have a socail life.  That's all more important to me than working my ass off.  So I've made a decision that I'm no longer going to work gigs that don't pay me what I'm worth, and I'll take at least a month off between shows from now on.

Will it limit how much I work?  Sure.  Do I feel like it will damage my career?  No, not really.  Am I happy with the decision?  Absolutely.  I can't wait for the show I'm working now to end so I can put my decision into action and get some SLEEP!

So, Shoos, I don't think it sounds self-indulgent at all.  You don't have to buy into the popular thought pattern that working all the time is what gives meaning to your life.  Figure out what's important to you, and arrange your life accordingly.  As theatre people we're lucky; we have a little more flexibility to do that.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

MatthewShiner

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #5 on: Apr 28, 2007, 03:59 pm »
Congrats on finding what is important to you.

Way too often, especially in this business, we put this job in front of other priorities in our life.  THIS JOB EATS UP TIME.

I am extremely guilty of this.  Among other things, the time this job took destroyed my first marriage two relationships after the marriage.  Right now, my partner is EXTREMELY patient with my schedule - but I really cut so many other things out of my life so I can focus on my priorities which is my career and my partner.  (Now, if you were to talk to my partner, I am sure he would tell you I still spend too much time at work, and never enough time with him – but I think he understands the time and effort I put into the relationship.)

Now, there are people who will decide that the job/life-choice of being a stage manager is more important then anything else (even if it is just for a period of time – how often have we said – especially after a bad relationship – “I am just going to throw myself into my career now.”)  But, eventually, you need to find a life for yourself outside of work – so there is something to live for outside of work.  I have found those who do have a life outside of work are actually better Stage Managers because the live a more balance life. 
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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.

Balletdork

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #6 on: Apr 30, 2007, 05:18 pm »
Just a quick note of "Good on you" to you free-lancers!!   ;D  ;D  ;D

I can see the burn-out factor would be so much higher for you!!!

I must remember to be grateful for my 52 week contract- even though it means I'm Company Manager and Stage Manager; at least I have a check every week and regular benefits! whew!

TechGal

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #7 on: Jun 01, 2007, 03:23 pm »
Just a quick note of "Good on you" to you free-lancers!!   ;D  ;D  ;D

I can see the burn-out factor would be so much higher for you!!!

I must remember to be grateful for my 52 week contract- even though it means I'm Company Manager and Stage Manager; at least I have a check every week and regular benefits! whew!

I'm counting the days till the moment comes when theater will actually pay my rent and I can quit my other job(s)!!!!! I only hope it's not too many years away!!!!!!!! 

DeeCap

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #8 on: Jun 01, 2007, 04:49 pm »
I think you can have a life long career in stage management; you might have to make adjustments so you can keep it life long.

I think a break would be great for you. There were times when I would take a few months off and temp in an office. Then one day while working in the office I'll say to myself "This stinks. Why are people getting worked up over nothing? They should try putting a fire out onstage". When I have that conversation with myself I know that it's time to get back into the theatre.

I got tired of the freelance scene and now work in a university setting. I made a few adjustments, but I'm still in the field that I enjoy.

jmillbran

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Re: There may be trouble ahead....!
« Reply #9 on: Jun 02, 2007, 05:24 pm »
Echoing some other sentiments--

I was getting sick of freelancing about ten years ago, and made the decision that I would only take "one offs" if it furthered my career.  It seemed like from then on my gigs lasted 2+ years.  If they didn't get me closer to my dream job, at least they kept food in the pantry and the creditors from the door. (What that "dream job" was during all those years still eludes me, but that's another story)  When I finally got the gig I have now (University position, LORT contracts, health and pension, etc.) the plusses so outweighed the minuses that whatever happens now, the future is clearer--and easier to achieve--than ever before.

Keeping your eyes on the prize, whether it's health insurance, a house of your own, a Broadway show, whatever--that's what'll make the job satisfying.  Stage management is a wonderful career, but like all careers you should always remember than in some respects it is a means to an end.  Doing it just to do it (or because you "love the theatah!") only gets you so far.

I hope that doesn't sound cynical...I've been doing this from 1977 (when I got my AEA card).  My marriage has survived, our daughter thrives, I've had only two "temp jobs" in all that time.  Take the break if you need to, Shoos, but identify your goals and strive to achieve them!  The important thing is to be pragmatic!  Not only will it get you further along, but it's one of the best traits a stage manager can have!

Thus endeth my rant... :)
Joseph Millett
Resident Stage Manager
Clarence Brown Theater

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