This episode is only for those of you who have been in acting for a little while – for those of you just starting out – thanks for listening, but I’ll talk to you next time. 🙂
Now that it’s just us – I wanted to share with you my story on transitioning from an acting career to the office world. If you’re thinking of doing the same thing, or just looking for something a little more stable, maybe you’d be interested in learning from my story:
In 2007 I was fortunate enough to perform in White Christmas at The Denver Center. Dream housing, dream location, dream show, amazing city, but I was unhappy. Even the perfect dressing room partner! I asked myself, if that wasn’t cutting it, what will?
Next, I was in A Day In Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine and Nancy Anderson was my dressing room partner. *(correction from my podcast – she got an Olivier Award nomination for Kiss Me Kate, not the award). She gave me some great insight into the business, as well.
My background was: When I was 16, I auditioned at Paramount’s Kings Island. I didn’t get in the show, but I became an usher and worked a few hours as an admin. Then in college I was an intern at The White House.
When I moved to NYC, I found out about temp jobs from a friend. I started temping and I liked it! I liked the office world. Then I discovered “temp to perm.” This means you work as a temp with the eventual possibility of staying on permanently. It’s great to do this with long-term temp gigs, like if someone has a maternity leave.
There’s also nothing like on-the-job training that you get from temping with a company long-term.
From then, I decided I wanted to temp to perm and go full time in my career. I interviewed for a position and got the job. This job let me work with “the street” and it was fascinating!
Eventually, they eliminated my position. I was six months pregnant, so I stayed home for a year before I went back to work.
Keep in mind: IT’S NOT A STRAIGHT LINE. It’s that way for acting, and it’s that way for business. You just don’t have to be an admin, you can work in different departments: social media, graphic design or customer service. Human Resources is great for actors, too! (If you want financial stability, go into finance for the bonus system.)
But, I recommend getting experience temping with recruiters. Recruiters get feedback from your employers, and you can use that feedback to improve.
Here are some good temp companies:
* Beacon Hill Staffing Group
* Green Key Resources
* Atrium Staffing
(click here to get my Survival Job cheat sheet with contact details for the temp agents)
Keep in mind, however: the business world is different.
Attitude is very important. Actors are adept at this: resilience, improv, friendly, outgoing. Confidentiality, integrity.
Office parties: You are there as an employee, and it’s different from theatre opening night parties. In theatre, we live and work with these people and our lives are all out there. In an office, it’s not like that. Put on your best manners.
In a new career you are starting from the ground up, like getting your Equity card again.
For me, I just wanted to use my brain in a different way, I couldn’t handle the monotony of 8 shows a week.
At the beginning of my office career, I had to stock sodas, grab lunches, and do filing all day. It’s not glamorous, but you have to start somewhere. Don’t complain – people might call you out! If you can’t be trusted to label a file folder, how can you be trusted with a legal case?
Keep in mind the atmosphere is more buttoned up. You can’t talk as freely about your weekend, your political beliefs, things you’d talk about with friends.
But the benefits are fantastic: stability, health insurance, 401k and a company match (usually). Think about retirement! Start now. You can’t make up for time.
As hard as it was to start all over in the beginning, I felt like I fit in better in the office world, and it was totally worth it in the end. Plus, having this podcast is my way of staying connected to the theatre world and sharing my experiences with others, so it’s a way for me to have a bit of both worlds.
I hope you can take something away from my experience and I’m eager to hear what questions you have. Email me at SurvivalJobs (at) gmail.com
Thanks so much for listening!