Career after kids(?)

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To address the “life after kids” title…Its not that I’m surprised theres life after kids, its that there are sacrifices made when new relationships are sealed: marriage and kids.  I’m still trying to make sense of the career thing both after marriage and especially after kids.

I went to college to be a theatre techie–mostly design and stage management.  I love stories and I love art.  Voila! Theatre.  I also wanted to get married.  I met a cute Paleontological Museum Studies cutie named Eric when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree.  I locked that down quick, and was married a year later.  But soon I realized that being married and working in theatre was difficult… unless your spoise worked nights too.  And thats assuming you got a good paying gig.  After I graduated, I thought I could snag a decent gig in Denver to make ends meet, but once again I was at the very bottom of the food chain, dreading having to claw my way back up again.  Without a masters degree.  Great.

Solution?  I got promoted to shift supervisor at Starbucks  for a whopping 9.25/hour.  What a crappy deal.  I hated every minute of it because I was a rule follower, and I got transferred to a branch that wasn’t too keen on rules.  I was not a favorite.  It was one of those jobs where I contemplated crashing my car into the highway median, risking major bodily harm, just to get out of work that day.  Eventually I managed to score a decent admin job, skimming over the part of my resume that said “Design Technology Theatre”, and pretending that Stage Management was simply admin…just for a theatre.  Partly true..except S.M.ing was fun sometimes.

I managed to get small gigs here and there for small theatre companies, hoping I would someday work a job that wasn’t a contract.

Fast forward 4 years, and here we are in DC.  I’ve done admin consistently since graduating because theatre doesn’t pay enough to cover our school loan debt.  I worked for the theatre dept. at a Community College in MD for a season, and enjoyed it.  They paid well, and didn’t abuse me like most theatre companies do.  They asked me to come back this season and I said no because I was about to have a baby.

Bottom line: I wanted to get married so much more than to have a career in theatre.  But I love the process, and I’m formally trained in it.  I tend to stick my nose up at gigs that don’t pay, avoid Community Theatre like the plague, but don’t have enough experience to get hired somewhere that might sustain us financially.  I’m loving staying home with Vi and working some admin from my computer to keep some money coming in, but I’m afraid of losing myself in this new stage.

I’m afraid I won’t get back in the swing of things and lose my grip on what little “career” I had going in the DC area.  Sometimes I talk with a friend of mine who still works with the College and I get this pain in the pit of my stomach, because I fear I won’t return.

Any thoughts from others on the subject of doing what you love after adding more people that you love to your family?

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3 responses »

  1. Hi Quinn. Part of the reason I left theatre was what you mentioned: odd hours, never knowing what to expect and constantly wondering when the next gig would come along. I miss parts of it, but I think I found something closer to my calling when I switched to journalism (still story-telling, only true stories instead of fiction.)

    The trouble is, being a reporter isn’t a high-paying gig either, at least not at first and not in the small market where I live. Not long after I got married, starting a family became my priority and I got a job in media relations/marketing that paid better. I work for a non-profit doing something I usually enjoy and feel strongly about, (promoting an animal shelter) but the truth is that I’d leave it in a second to stay home with Regan full-time if I could.

    Still, even if I get to stay home someday, I’d like to keep my career skills at least a little sharp because I’ve noticed that staying home with a baby will hone my mommy skills but will likely dull the rest of my repertoire. When I do get to stay home full-time (hopefully!) in another couple of years, I plan to do some freelance-type work, volunteering and anything I can find that will keep me sharp and pad the resume.

    I guess I’d suggest that you try not to scoff at the no-pay gigs. I know it’s hard because it feels like a step down, but I think people looking to hire you (if they’re smart) would respect that you love the craft enough to do it without being paid and with a family. Just my thoughts. Unfortunately, most people don’t give “mommy” the respect it deserves when it comes to life skills!

    Thanks for the great post!

    Baylie

  2. Hey girl! I struggle with the job thing as well. It started for me before the baby with the Army, you can’t exactly have a career whe your husband moves every few years, throw a kid on top of all that and I’m shot until something changes.

    I get the pain every time I talk to people who have a job or even when I watch tv shows with parents who have a great job. But my hubby is very good at encouraging me that I need to focus on this job right now of raising out son! I am blessed that the army pays “enough” so I can stay home but I am right there with you in spirit! Wish I could figure it out as well:) I’m praying of for you girl!

  3. Quinny-

    You’re one of the most “true” people I have met. Your really in-tune with what you want in life, so I don’t think you’ll ever not return. It might look different during different stages of your life, but you’ll end up working in theatre in some way, shape, or form.

    -me

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