Author Topic: WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Tech or Church?  (Read 12106 times)

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MileHighSM

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WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Tech or Church?
« on: Oct 16, 2007, 01:07 pm »
So recently I worked with a sound designer who said he wouldn't come if we decided to adjust our previously stated Sunday tech hours to start and end earlier as he really doesn't want to miss church.  The production manager said he felt that was ridiculous, and if he's going to be in theatre, he has to expect to work on Sunday mornings, especially in tech.  What are your opinions?  Has anyone else ever dealt with this?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 01:24 am by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #1 on: Oct 16, 2007, 01:30 pm »
I think it is childish.

a) I doubt god (if there is one) would mind someone missing ONE session
b) Tech is always a long day, and one should not expect to do anything on tech day, but tech. Even sleeping should not be counted on

That said. I would try and see if it was possible to let the Sound Designer come in slightly late if he refused to budge. Mainly because at that point, you will never manage to get a new Sound Designer.

GalFriday

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #2 on: Oct 16, 2007, 02:11 pm »
You said there was a change to the previously stated hours. Is this a one time change or a company change effecting all techs? In other words, is this one Sunday or are you asking him to adjust his life for a period of weeks?

Faith is an important obligation. I do agree that God would not be upset if he missed a day of service but some people really need that weekly centering. For me it would really depend on how he approached this. If he came in demanding I might be less likely to accommodate but if he simply asked to come in later or if it was possible to accommodate I would see what I could do...I prefer to have staff with well rounded lives and sometimes this means making concessions.

I do think it is very possible to have an established professional career in theatre and go to church almost every Sunday mornings. I also think it is possible to  attend your children's birthday parties, make your own wedding day and put time into relationships. These are all things I have been told by one person or another I would have to "give up" if i wanted a career in theatre. I would probably feel offended if someone told me my request to not change established times was "ridiculous".

So, not knowing the situation my thoughts would be different depending on; Is this only one Sunday? When was the the original time announced and when was it changed? How was it changed? Was it changed to accommodate the room or the time - you said to leave earlier - or other peoples Sunday obligations?

I am playing Devil's advocate. I have certainly rolled my eyes at a fair amount of the "I can't come in earlier I have to do....". This from professionals being paid very well to be available. I just think sometimes the moment someone mentions church we all collectively roll our eyes and decide the request is "ridiculous" and "childish".

The older I get the more I realize how it is important for all of us to have a life outside of our jobs. I try very hard to not judge what other people put in that life.

Just my two cents - d
"Now the best way to learn the theater, always, is to be a stage manager" - Stephen Sondheim

Scott

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 16, 2007, 02:52 pm »
So recently I worked with a sound designer who said he wouldn't come if we decided to adjust our previously stated Sunday tech hours to start and end earlier as he refuses to miss church.  The production manager said he felt that was ridiculous, and if he's going to be in theatre, he has to expect to work on Sunday mornings, especially in tech. 

I think your Production Manager is out of line if the schedule has been changed from what the designer was originally told.

How early are we talking here?  A change from a 2:00 pm start time to noon might be reasonable -- a change from noon to 10:00 am isn't.

(I also have attended few tech rehearsals that have come to a standstill because wasn't available/ready.  Much more tech time is spent dealing with lighting issues, in my experience.  You could always just tech lights for the start of rehearsal than have sound catch up when he is in.)

thehayworth

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #4 on: Oct 16, 2007, 04:22 pm »
He may also have some responsibilities at his church in form or another.  Sound tech or maybe Sunday School teacher....  :-*
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StageMgr2Stars

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 16, 2007, 05:17 pm »
This was something that recently came up with a jewish designer at my school. If your priority is your religion then good for you... but then don't do a show that will get in the way.
-C-

nmno

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #6 on: Oct 16, 2007, 05:32 pm »
I agree that there are a lot of missing factors...  
Is this a regular occurance with the company, and the SD is digging in his heels to make a point?
Why are the hours being changed?  How far in advance were the hours being changed? How early are we talking?
does his church not have another service he could go to? or could he go to another local church?  (I understand that people have THEIR church and THEIR service...  but at my catholic church we had 5 different mass times, and sometimes we'd go to the neighboring parish since they had a 6am.)

This was something that recently came up with a jewish designer at my school. If your priority is your religion then good for you... but then don't do a show that will get in the way.
In all fairness, he was given a schedule that WOULD accommodate him doing both. 

MileHighSM

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #7 on: Oct 16, 2007, 07:40 pm »
To clarify:  This was requested at the end of the previous day of work.  They were asking to move the 10 out of 12 from 12 PM-12 AM to 11 AM to 11 PM.  He said he couldn't do that as he was already going to have to miss the service to come (it's a small church, they only have one service) and was just going to do Sunday school, which he would've had to leave early from to make an 11 AM start time.
« Last Edit: Oct 16, 2007, 08:11 pm by GradSM »

GalFriday

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #8 on: Oct 16, 2007, 07:56 pm »
I think if the change was within 24 hours a member of the team should have space to say that they cannot make that time change. What if he had said it was a doctor's appointment he had scheduled and could not change? Would your production manager have reacted the same way?
"Now the best way to learn the theater, always, is to be a stage manager" - Stephen Sondheim

sievep

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #9 on: Oct 17, 2007, 01:00 am »
Less than 24 hours notice is not cool.  I think you can ask, but not require.  So you have to start without him and he catches up when he gets there have someone else take notes for him.  Religion is something I don't even come close to messing with.
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

nmno

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #10 on: Oct 17, 2007, 01:56 am »
To clarify:  This was requested at the end of the previous day of work.  They were asking to move the 10 out of 12 from 12 PM-12 AM to 11 AM to 11 PM.  He said he couldn't do that as he was already going to have to miss the service to come (it's a small church, they only have one service) and was just going to do Sunday school, which he would've had to leave early from to make an 11 AM start time.
With this information, i'd say that the PM was out of line.  Posts comment on 24 hrs notice, which it sounds like this wasn't even (sounds like more like 10 or 11 hours notice.) Clearly not enough time to find someone to take his place, and he had already missing the service to be at tech.  Now it's possible that the SD didn't communicate this information well, but it sounds like one of those things that you've got to say, "okay, we'll start at 11, get here when you can".  Again, if it was just the service, I'd probably say he should just miss it; but if he has another committment that is equally important to him, that other people are counting on him...  well, "lack of planning on your part does not create an emergency for me".  My 2 cents.

BalletPSM

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #11 on: Oct 17, 2007, 09:10 am »
I am in accord with prior posters...with less than 24 hours notice on the change, you can't require the designer to be there at the start.  If this were a previously posted schedule it would be a different story, but as that is not the case, the SD was justified in his statement.

Balancing your work in theatre and your spirituality is the same as any other balancing act in the life of a theatre professional.  This is one of the things I love about catholicism...there are a million different mass times, any church you go to will (basically) be the same, and it's only an hour!  (I swear I don't mean that to sound as shallow as it does...)  But seriously, it's nice.  So even if you have an 8 am load in on sunday, you can go to mass on saturday afternoon or evening or even find a 6:00 am mass sunday morning.

Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Mac Calder

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #12 on: Oct 17, 2007, 09:24 am »
I guess that Australia's culture (spiritually) is a lot different to the US. 99.9% of church goers I know would drop church for other engagements with little applomb. Seems like the US is far more devoted to their religion.

That said, less than 24hrs is not cool. And at first glance it seems a rather arbitary one hour shift (I cannot think of many engagements that crop up after 11pm) - ie not really a "15 people won't be able to show up as they have to collect their kids from school" type shifts (and yes, I have had 12 hour techs starting at 3am so that the parents in the group could pick up their kids)

centaura

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #13 on: Oct 17, 2007, 11:25 am »
It sounds like the issue is more with how the sound designer approached saying he couldn't come in, and the shortness of the notice, verses what he was doing.  I agree that if someone has a commitment, no matter what it is, that he's been given too short a notice on to cover himself, then he should be excused that first hour.  Without having to explain what his commitment is.  But he needs to approach it from that point of veiw - saying "I am committed to do something that I can't get a replacement for".  If he wants to say what it is, then he opens himself up to having the PM's personal feelings on the subject brought into the picture. 

Quote
Has anyone else ever dealt with this?

The closest I ever came was the rare actor on tour who was really religious, and wanted to make as many church services as they could.  Most of them were very understanding that they had to work their religious desires around the constaints of the job, and if they couldn't get the tour vehicle on Sunday morning, or we had a show, they dealt with it.

-Centaura

ljh007

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Re: Tech or Church?
« Reply #14 on: Oct 17, 2007, 09:59 pm »
I think the PM has compromised his argument and put himself in danger in this situation by criticizing the Sound Designer's reason (chuch) rather than the objection (won't agree to change the rehearsal time). If you present the employee - in a timely manner - agreeing with everyone here that less that 24-hours is totally unreasonable - with a new rehearsal time that is in line with their contract and union regulations, the employee can either come or they can't. The reason is somewhat irrelevant. A savvy employee will keep their mouth shut about whether their conflict is church or their strict Sunday morning date with "Smurfs" reruns. And in the US particularly, refusing to honor an employee's stated religious obligations is dicey.

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