Come to Jesus

Coming to you live from JFK International Airport.

I was called into my boss’ office yesterday.  It was the “come to Jesus” moment.  He said he thinks I’m smart and talented (a talent temp means what, exactly?), but that he felt like I was working at a fraction of my potential.  He was in a quandary, he said, to hire me on a permanent basis, or to look elsewhere.  He wanted to know if I could commit 100% to this job.  He said I should think about it.  I told him I intended to.

I’m heading to California (home) for ten days, and the timing for introspection (not to mention finally catching up on sleep) couldn’t be any better.

I was glad my boss opened this can of worms, frankly, because as those who have been reading these entries will know, this has been much on my mind lately.  It’s a many faceted issue, to be sure.  Until late last year I had never even entertained the idea of a full-time job, unless it could be extremely flexible when it came to auditions, doing shows, etc.  Until then, I was doing fine temping.  I could almost always pick up three of four days of work, and scrape together a living.  Then the wheels came off our economy, and things changed in the temp world.  Gigantic, multi-national, mega law firms (which made up the majority of my employers) suddenly put a hiring freeze on temps.  Suddenly there was no work.  Then, suddenly, my agent and I decided to part ways.  Then, not so suddenly, there was a mountain of credit card debt.

It’s not easy to talk about, all this.

[airborne now]

So, staring in the face of all the above, I signed up with three new temp agencies (in addition to the two I was already signed up with), and spent a lot of time on Craig’s List.  I was at the “I’ll take whatever I can get” point.  So, when I got this temp job which paid decently, at a company that I didn’t find morally objectionable (for a change), I was relieved.  And when I found out that the person I had been replacing was not going to return, I decided it was the prudent move to angle for the job.

Now here we are, five months later, and I’m faced with the choices I’ve been making, and with a choice I must make:

Do I commit all the way to this job, and put my career (read: Dreams) on the backburner, in an effort to get my finances back on track?  Or, do I walk away from a steady job in the middle of this economic shitstorm, into what could most charitably be called “financial uncertainty”, to devote myself with renewed energy/vigor to my career (Dreams)?

That is the question which I will be pondering for the next ten days.  There is a lot to consider.

The job isn’t bad as far as jobs go.  It’s for a charitable foundation that does a ton of good for a lot of people, I have friends at work, it’s in a good location, and I get along with my boss fairly well for the most part.  That said, I hate it.  My boss was correct when he said he thought I was only giving a fraction of what I could be.  The trouble is, that fraction I’m giving already feels like way too much.  Half-assing it still feels like I’m giving too much ass..  That said, I work pretty hard, and I get everything done that needs doing.  I’m good at my job, I just resent doing it.

The biggest downside to this job is that it is inflexible.  I can’t audition, and even if I faked a doctor’s appointment and did audition (which I couldn’t do often), I certainly couldn’t take time off to do a play.  It’s got to be all or nothing.  And I knew that going into it, and that’s why I started 50in50–so I could be doing something, and working on my craft, and maaaaaybe even move my career forward (though that remains to be seen), while paying off my credit card and (dare I dream) maybe even saving something.  After five weeks of doing 50in50 and my job, though, all I want to do is 50in50. No, that’s not true.  All I want is to be doing is 50in50, while auditioning, doing plays/films/etc., working on my screenplay (that I swore I’d have finished by August), taking improv classes, and continuing to beef up my submission portfolio for Saturday Night Live.  Is that too much to ask?

So, that’s a part of it.

Another facet is the whole, “What would I do for money?” thing.  And, y’know, that’s not a small thing, I’m sad to say.  In December of last year, I was literally about one month away from having to leave New York and move back in with my mom (if she’d have me).  Suffice to say, that was not a good feeling.  I could barely pay rent.  I could barely afford to take my girlfriend out to dinner, and that may not

sound that big, but let me tell you, that kind of thing really fucks with your head and with your view of yourself.

I don’t want to go through that again, is what I’m saying.  The economy, however, has only gotten worse since that point.

The logical person who speaks in easily digestible phrases would likely tell me, “You can’t have it both ways.”

My goal for the next ten days is to figure out if there is a way that I can.

I’ve got an idea, which, I acknowledge, is quite possibly hair-brained.  You know what, though?  Some of my best ideas have been hair-brained.  50in50 is pretty hair-brained, really.  So the question isn’t “Is this idea hair-brained?” it’s “Can I actually make this hair-brained idea work?”

I don’t know the answer yet, and I may not until I try it.  (No, I won’t tell you what it is.)  Of course, if someone finally decides to fund this show, then I can forget about these cockamamie plans and just focus on making this show better… I’m just saying…

Barring that, though, this next year of my life is either going to take a turn for the bizarre and chaotic, or for the predictable and mundane.  I could tell you which way I’m leaning, but where would be the fun in that?

I’m just glad I have ten days away to think about it.

Have a nice weekend, friends,

Brent  5.1.09  7.02pm

P.S.  Happy Uno de Mayo!

~ by 50in50 on May 2, 2009.

4 Responses to “Come to Jesus”

  1. Right about when this economy was really tanking, and everywhere, everyone was talking about their rapidly dwindling 401Ks – right about then is when I quit my steady, stable day job with the great benefits package and steady pay raises. Yup. I decided I would rather pursue fanciful dreams of becoming a writer. On the internets.

    I am SO MUCH happier now. Like a different person. And somehow, it’s working.

    Brent, I 100% absolutely and completely believe that you can have it both ways, have it more than both ways – you can have it all.


  2. Interested in where you come down on this….


  3. From someone living the similar passion vs. paycheck debate this was a great post. Hang in there.

  4. Fuck it. Don’t take a job you hate. I did that once, was miserable for 2 years in Manhattan, then finally quit and moved back home on the beach to be a lifeguard for 2 years for $10 an hour. I was broke as a joke, but did what I loved and life was good. Definitely a tough choice, but god speed and good luck whatever you decide.

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