That Job Offer I Declined

You know those job offers that you regret declining? This isn’t one of those jobs.

Back when I started teacher training, I was still a little bit in the mindset of “OMG NEED JOB STAT.” Meaning, I thought I’d need to have a job lined up when training was over, no matter what it was. So, I applied to a couple of jobs here and there.

I went on one interview for an entertainment(ish) company that was located in LIC. That was mistake #1. I shouldn’t have applied to a company in Queens. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. I was feeling desperate and like my options were scarce. 

It was a new position that was being created because their finance department was growing into a full time position (as opposed to one part time person). I listened as the executive spoke and he was a nice guy. The offices were very nice, but I left feeling like it wasn’t for me. He said they’d be making a decision by the end of the week. This also made me nervous. I immediately went online and started looking at other job postings. I had to know what else was out there. There was lots. And a lot of other positions called to me much more than the one that I was likely going to be offered.

I didn’t need to wait for Friday because I was offered the job the next day via email. When the offer letter came, I was excited by the salary but that’s about all. I had interviewed for one job and the offer letter came back with an entirely DIFFERENT job than the one that I’d interviewed for. I took the weekend to “think it over” and then declined on Sunday evening. The executive came back to me and said they’d offer me health insurance, too.

Uh, WHAT? You wanted me to run finance and HR and you weren’t going to give me health insurance from the get go? I said no, for a second time, and that was that. I wanted to say, “Are you fucking insane? Not only is it illegal, but how could you possibly even think that hiring someone full time and not giving them health benefits is RIGHT?” But I didn’t want to engage, so I didn’t say anything. 

Thinking about having to start that job next Monday gives me hives. I’m glad I turned it down. When I find the right gig, I’ll know. And they’ll probably offer health insurance from the get-go. 

Here’s a proposal!

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Hear me out. But know that I wrote this in a moment of utter disappointment and despair earlier this evening:

I don’t think there’s an industry that pays worse than entertainment, specifically theatre. I make a decent salary but no where near where I would be doing the same thing in another industry. I’m frustrated because I began realizing today that the opportunity to make Real Living Wage is getting smaller and smaller (and it’s probably my shrunk fractionally by the time you’ve finished reading this sentence).  You know why this is? Supply is low and demand is way. too. high. I’ve known people to take assistant jobs starting at $18k.

People, friends, colleagues: we are worth more than that.

Anyone see how high ticket prices are nowadays? $400+ for a premium seat? If the stage hand gets to earn $500 whenever he mops the stage, surely the industry can afford to pay the “little guys” more too.

The only way to really bring about change is if they couldn’t find anyone to work for $25k-$30k. What could we all do in the meantime? Work at jobs that paid a lot more and didn’t require a 60 hour week, so we’d have the time (and, uh, money) to express ourselves creatively outside work and eventually (hopefully) parlay that into a full time job that we love.

Is this a fantasy? Yes. Probably. No one would ever leave their full time (highly underpaid) job in theatre for a job in something like a job in finance to prove a point. Not in this city. I just wanted to plant a seed.