Don’t Look Back in Anger

Back when I was unceremoniously downsized (with four days’ severance! And only because I made a point of asking for it!) from the last company that I was working at, I wasn’t all that terribly scared.  The environment in that office was toxic and stifling and this was the last sign I needed that the CEO who’d been all nice and cheery when trying to convince me to work with him was really a total dickbag. So, I was glad to be getting away. I was exhausted with the idea of going through LinkedIn and Indeed but I knew how to do it and I got it done. A week and a half into my search I had an offer from a place that was managed by two awesome women and I’d also gotten really good vibes when I’d been into the office to meet with them. After applying for around 70 jobs, and a couple of other great interviews, I formally accepted the offer and started last Monday. It’s temp-to-perm which is a bit frightening but I have faith that it should go perm pretty fast (fingers crossed). There’s also a woman at a start-up fighting to a new role approved and to hire me, but you never know what’s going to happen at a start-up so we’ll see.

There was a bag of a few things that I’d left at my former job that I needed to pick up. When I emailed the woman who I was supposed to be taking over (she’s a total idiot) for about picking it up, she said we should “grab a bite.” I told her thanks but I needed to come long after lunch time. What did I really want to say? “No fucking way, you asshole.”

I was really mad for a while that I’d let the promise of more opportunity, a bigger workload, and more money cloud my vision and allow myself to be recruited away from a job that I truly loved at a company that I truly adored. But you know what? I would’ve stayed at the job (that I was recruited to) out of principle and I probably would’ve been miserable. So, getting downsized was probably the best thing that could’ve happened. I had to make room in my life for a better job to come along and that was done for me.

There’s no job that’s worth being unhappy for. A larger paycheck is nice but if you’re unhappy or bored, I don’t think it’s worth it. The old way of life when you have a job for 30, or even 5(!), years is over. You work somewhere, learn all you can, and move on for more opportunity. Your job shouldn’t be your life, but I don’t think it’s worth any paycheck if it makes you miserable either.

Whether you’re laid off or you quit, have faith that you’re making space for something different, and probably better. 

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.