I think I’ve already said this before, but if I’d had my way I would have already been at a very successful job before I got married. I had a couple of chances to do so, but they either didn’t fit or would have made it so that Jacob and I would have had to wait—possibly a very long time—before we got married.
For the record, I know I made the right decision.
But, like most recent grads, this job market/economy has not been kind to me. I applied for probably a total of 15-20 jobs (besides a few dance-related/dance-teaching positions that I got through my network of friends and colleagues) between fall of 2009 and now, and I got either no responses, or interviews and then “we went with someone else.” For a high achieving perfectionist and former valedictorian, who graduated all of her schooling with a 4.0, this reality pretty much slapped me in the face.
Then I woke up and realized that everyone was dealing with this, not just me, and that God had already decided when I would start working and what I would be doing. In the meantime I tried to figure out why he kept taking away opportunities that I thought were amazing and tried to figure out what exactly I wanted in a job anyway.
I jumped back and forth. I wanted the stability and security of a full-time job in a traditional setting: great opportunity for movement within a company, better pay, benefits, etc. I looked for anything administrative or that needed writing skills… arts-related was a bonus, but not a requirement. I just thought it was time for me to enter the professional world and develop my professional resume.
But, taking on a full-time job might mean that I’d have less time to pursue my creative interests of performing and choreographing, developing my teaching skills, and just enjoying the many relationships I’ve developed during my time with a very flexible schedule.
So when I considered that I would think, “well maybe I just need a part-time job? Or maybe I just need to hit the audition trail?” But the audition trail is pretty short in this part of Texas. And I can’t help but wonder if a few years down the line a potential employer would look at a bunch of random part-time jobs as an unfavorable blip in my employment history.
And as I continued to go back and forth I kept finding more and more jobs that seemed to be perfect:
1) An entry-level administrative position that would allow me to work in an office with some awesome people. Flexible schedule. Great benefits.
Went with someone else with more experience (hello, entry level????)
2) Contract writing position for arts website. Flexible schedule/Work from home.
3) Event planning assistant position with local non-profit. Flexible schedule.
Went with someone else
4) Tutor position with one college freshman. Potentially fairly easy. Great pay ($25/hour!). good amount of hours.
Got an e-mail saying they were about to go with me, but something crazy happened and they went with someone else.
That last one was so frustrating because with it J and I would have increased our income significantly… and the fact that they were thisclose to hiring me…
But I had to admit that I wasn’t sure if it would be good for me to tutor for a year since my aspirations do not involve tutoring or even education in the traditional sense. So I just kept asking God, “what is it that you have for me that is keeping me from getting these positions?”
And I kept coming back to performing. I got burnt out from dance last spring, which was a first for me (which, at my age, is saying a lot- most people burnout once or twice by now). But after a month off from dancing (not even marking in my living room) I realized that I wanted to start again, and that I wanted to perform.
Now the question was where I would perform and how (hobby? Or as a job?)
I really was fine with anything, but after spending the summer crying during every episode of So You Think You Can Dance, I realized that dancing needed to somehow be in the forefront.
Soon after getting rejected from the tutoring gig, I attended an audition for a seasonal performer positions at a local theme park.
And after a couple of years of BAD auditions and then good auditions that brought nothing, or auditions that I knew I wouldn’t be able to take because of my schedule, I was finally free to just have fun and dance and potentially take a job. And now I’m one of the few new hires for this park’s season of shows.
I haven’t had my first rehearsal yet, but don’t worry, I’ll let you know how it goes.
But not only am I going to be paid to dance (for both rehearsals and performances!) But I have a few other part-time positions and projects—all dance-related:
1) Assistant for level 1 Modern at TCU (the freshman class is HUGE so they asked for help. This I’m doing in exchange for free classes)
2) Creating/moderating facebook page and producing archival photo slideshow for TCU dance dept. as they celebrate 60 years of dance at TCU!
3) Segway tour guide- ok not dance-related, but I’m moving and working with people so it’s FUN!
4) Finishing a film of the performance process for the TCU Dance Dept.
5) Teaching Ballet at a local studio one night a week
6) Choreographing for a local contemporary ballet/dance company
7) Directing rehearsals for a work being performed by TCU dancers
8) Hopefully grabbing some freelance writing assignments on both a local and national level, for dance publications.
Does that sound like enough? I just can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to be doing things that I love and achieving a dancer’s greatest dream: Free (ok it’s more of a trade, not free) CLASS!
So dancing IS in the forefront. Which I find hilarious because every few years I try to get away from dancing. I wanted to quit before middle school. I didn’t want to be a dance major in college. Then I told everyone that I would stop dancing after college. And this past year I said “you know what, I need to get a ‘real job’ and just dance on the side.”
My expectations for myself were shattered when I couldn’t get a “regular” job. It really was a blow to the ego. But you know what? In this economic climate and job market, I find it incredibly ironic that the job I have is as a dancer. If that’s the only job I can get right now… so be it! Not only am I lucky enough to have a job… but I get to do what I love!