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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Guys and gals, I did it!

I was offered and accepted a job.

I will be the general manager for the Center for Performance Research, which is a 3-year old dance and performance space that includes a rehearsal studio and white-box theater. It’s located in Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

Starting Monday, I will be 4 days a week with a flexible schedule for about 6 months while I/we raise money to bring the position to full-time. We had a great meeting today, and are going to start laying out a plan for what the full-time position will look like in the coming months. There is both paid and unpaid time off as part of the job right now.

There will hopefully be health insurance, retirement, and paid time off as part of the full-time package. And maybe, if I do really well, a title bump?

But really, the best thing about this job is that it involves working with emerging artists, producing and presenting dance and experimental theater, and building a strong, healthy, mission-driven organization basically from the get-go. It’s such a massive opportunity. It’s basically the opposite of the job I quit ten months ago, and I think it is absolutely the right thing for me to be doing.

So, yay. This is a cause for celebration.

Also, of course I will keep writing this blog! Lots more positive lessons about arts administration and non-profit management, no more temping.

I had an interview last week, and a second interview yesterday. It’s for a general manager position at a theater/dance space (actually, dance with some theater and performance art) in Brooklyn.

There is so much potential there, in that all my issues with the job seem to be on the road to being non-issues. It’s part-time (4 days a week) but they want to make it full-time within 6 months. No benefits, but it’s a possibility within 6 months. Low pay, but as the responsibilities and time commitment increase, more money. So much potential to do cool work with young artists, and to develop new programs, and to learn how to do a lot of important things.

I lay in bed last night just totally paralyzed with fear. Can I live on so little money? Can I get another part-time job? Can I get out of debt and pay for health insurance?

But really, my fear is that I am making the wrong choice and that by compromising what I need from a job, I will be making myself really unhappy. Then again, working is a good thing. I want to work. I need to work, for any amount of money.

I need Mexican food.

I was just home for Thanksgiving, and I talked with several people who were also unemployed, or graduating soon, with few prospects, or who had recently had a long period of unemployment. Everyone has such kindness and patience, and lots of advice. I was afraid that my family would be disappointed in me, but it was definitely not the case.

It made me feel a little guilty for quitting a good job with benefits. But I still maintain that the financial upside was not enough to balance out the verbal and psychological abuse I (and the rest of the staff) was being subjected to.

But it also made me feel a lot less alone. My dad told me that there are a bunch of recent graduate school graduates from his yoga class who are unemployed. There are a lot of people like me out there, which alleviates my fear that hiring managers will look down on me for having a “gap” on my resume.

However, it also reminded me that the arts always have a weird hiring/hr culture. It is really personality driven, highly dependent on personal referrals or familiarity with certain organizations (I am convinced that I get half of my interviews because people this my old workplace is cool, not because they  like my resume), and completely idiosyncratic.

But really, my dear is that I still don’t know what my goal is and therefore I can’t make a compelling case for my candidacy at a candy shop, let alone an arts organization. My friend asked me on Saturday, “what is your dream job?” and I still don’t have an answer. I am so weighed down with seeing problems, I still don’t see the good things. It’s my consultant mentality.

I think the answer is probably that there isn’t one job for me; I will be happiest when I am doing three cool things. The problem is the health insurance. So maybe I need to do three cool things in France?

This is scary. There is no work for me right now. I have three different temp agencies, but no work to do. I’m not sure what to do next.

Today, I am going to teach a little professional development workshop for a few writers who are friends of a friend. I am really, really excited. I also have to go see this dance space that I might be helping to run, if I get this job that I interviewed for last week.

But every day that I don’t work sinks me deeper and deeper into this terrifying place. No money, no job, no temp work. But I just have to get through today. And then tomorrow. And the day after that. I have to stay busy, so that I don’t spend all my time alone, at home, worrying and panicking.

It doesn’t really matter if I can’t buy Christmas presents, my family doesn’t really care. I can make it up to them.

This is not fun.

I love Flight of the Conchords, the funk-folk duo from HBO/New Zealand. And I especially love their song “The Most Beautiful Girl (in the room).” 

Every time I think about taking a part-time job (I have an interview for one today!) I think of that song. I think about the sad, sad compliments levied at this woman:

You’re so beautiful, you could be a waitress
You’re so beautiful, you could be an air hostess in the 60s
You’re so beautiful, you could be a part-time model

You’re a part time model, but you’d probably still have to keep your normal job
(Part time model)
I could see you at an auto show, dancing on a car

(Part time model)
You’d spend part of your time modeling, and part of your time next to me

I feel like a part time job for me is like the back handed compliment of this song, adorable, but totally NOT what I need. I’m going to go any way, and see what happens. Maybe it will be growing to full time in the coming 6-12 months. I could get down with that.

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