10 October 2009

A Dispatch from THE MOST COMFORTABLE COUCH EVER, Stockbridge, MA

Okay folks, here's the deal. I quit my job on Friday. This sounds very scary, doesn't it, as opposed to phrasing it: I got a new job, and gave my notice at the old job on Friday. Both are true. What's actually a little scary, just because it is different and I fear change, is that my new job is not in theatre. For the first time in the 5+ years since leaving college (or in the last 10 years, if we count all my theatre-work in college as actual work, which we could), my job will not be theatre-related. It is an important distinction: I am a freelance dramaturg and writer, and I'm working as a receptionist at a large charitable organization or I am a receptionist at a big charity. It's something I'm still figuring out.

As I think I mentioned somewhere in the month-and-a-half of brain-melt, my theatre job was cut down to part-time at the start of September. This sucked. Mainly because I could barely live on the full-time salary so, you know, half of that... And also it made doing my job hard. And the sudden change was disorienting, the financial instability and uncertainty in general. Fun times.

I applied for half a bajillion jobs, from theatre jobs to random-ass craigslist stuff. I did not get either of the two awesome theatre jobs I applied for - on both counts, it seems, because my four years of literary office experience overqualified me. What I am not overqualified for: a receptionist job at a large charity; training to teach for a big test prep oranization. That is what I'm doing now.

What I'm also doing: figuring out what it means to not be defined by my job. As I said to a playwright from work - I'm leaving the realm of full-time theatre employment not entirely voluntarily, but I've not been violently forced from it, either. There are aspects of my (old) job that I've madly loved - mostly working with a flock of amazing, awesome playwrights - but a lot of working in theatre had started to really wear on me. It's like we're selling people something we have to convince them they want, and half the time what we're selling isn't that awesome to begin with. (I mean this in general, not just for my soon-to-be-former place of employment.) I haven't been able to tell how much of that fatigue was about where I was working, how much was theatre in general. Have I been on a career path based on what Jaime-five-years-ago wanted, rather than Jaime-right-now? I don't know. This will probably help me figure that out.

I probably would've preferred to figure that out by trying out my job at a different organization, but oh well! So I'm taking the other option - seeing what it's like to *not* work in theatre, at least in terms of employment. I'm still going to look for freelance dramaturgy and producing projects - probably more than I had been lately, since I'll have all of my theatrical energies to devote to that - and I'm also trying out this writing thing, which I've been dabbling in, to see how real I can make that. I've got a 2500-word essay on the supernatural/vampire-fighting powers of garlic due in November, so that's a start.

What this means for this blog is that I will actually be writing here, with actual content. Theatre, foodstuffs, counting down the days to the return of Inwood kayaking... stuff like that. There are plays I've seen and books I've read during my hiatus, and I will do some sort of catch-up post shortly. After that, it's you and me kid, and the future. (How long do we give me before I start answering my own phone with my receptionisty salutation?)


Jarrod Fischer said...

well heck that is some big stuff there.
i think they are dumbbutts to cut your hours, but i'm glad you're looking at it as an opportunity. go you!
while you figure stuff out, i'm greatly looking forward to reading more that you write, cuz that's always fun.

heather said...

The other day I called someone and when they answered I had to take a second to avoid saying "Hi, my name's Heather, I'm calling from RecordTrak..."

That means it's time for me to quit.

joshcon80 said...

Damn! I was hoping I had a friendly face at that theater now. Ah well...

As a playwright who has worked in another field since college, and as somebody with many friends in theater day jobs, I say good on you. I can't help noticing that my output dwarfs a lot of my friends who have administration jobs at theaters.

Also, my day job is in Marketing in Film & Television, which has made me a WAY better writer.