CMU School of Drama

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Does It Mean To Sustain A Career In The Gig Economy?

NEA: We live in a gig economy defined by short-term, project based work. While career success might once have looked like a connected set of dots on a straight line rising over time, today it looks more like a desk drawer filled with electronic device chargers and wires that are endlessly entangled, with no clear sense of where one wire ends and the next begins.


Julien Sat-Vollhardt said...

I think this is especially relevant to all of us in the theatre/live entertainment industry especially. While artists may get residencies, and technicians and managers might get full-time positions, I believe the norm for theater to be temporary project-based work. Even those who work full-time at a theater may take on gigs, whether to supplement their income, or to pursue other artistic projects.

I got a taste of gig-based work when i was an on-call technician for a theater company (among other things) during my gap year. While I was living with my parents, and wasn't subsisting on the work I was doing, I realized that I didn't really know where my next paycheck was coming from. I could see that if I was trying to live on these wages, it would be a very stressful situation indeed. I also realized that there weren't many resources available to help. All of the weekly/monthly budgeting tools I could find online, while helpful, always assumed a fixed regular income. I still don't even know how I would budget if living off of gigs.

I do anticipate that when I will be working professionally, the projects I might be involved in will be longer-term, and the likelihood that I have a full-time job as a TD or manager will eventually be more likely.

Chris Calder said...

I could not agree more with this article. This has been the first article on the green page that I have actually gotten excited over. Coming into this program I really had no idea what I wanted to do or how I was going to use what I was learning to make a career. It didn’t take me long to realize that we truly are just making a “toolkit of skill” as said in the article. Especially in this program where you have so many people taking classes in so many different disciplines, all to become a better-rounded person. I am still struggling to figure out what my end goal is but I can honestly tell you that I am in the right program learning the skills I need to be successful. I do find that there are times where I’m doing something that isn’t my liking but at the end of the day it is only going to make me a better candidate.