Also known as, My thank you note to Joseph Heller.
I’m in a bit of a pickle.
You see, I had this great internship a few months ago, you probably saw my posts about it. It was a life changing internship. I got to work with some of London’s best and brightest in the theatre industry. I got experience as a Talent Agent. I got experience as a Educational Trainer. I got experience as an Administrative Assistant. I got experience as an Office Manager. ON TOP OF ALL THAT. I got two, count them TWO professional credits on my resume as a Director AND a Producer. (Two may not seem like a lot to some people, but two credits in London is better than no credits in America). All the while, I was making a network with an amazing group of artists. My life should be completely different now right?
Wrong. Well…. Kind of.
My life is different. I came back to America with a plethora of experiences. friendships, connections, and memories. All enough to last me a lifetime. And I’m grateful for that. But I was also kinda expecting my career to be changed as well. I thought, and was reassured by many of my peers in the theatre community, that theaters and producers and companies would want to work with me. Mainly because I have this experience in London, as well as my experiences with The Stella Adler Conservatory and The Powerhouse Apprenticeship Program.
But instead I find myself stuck. See, there are two types of jobs that I’ve come across since moving to the Big Apple. There are entry-level jobs (paid internships, assistant jobs, beginner stuff), and there are the career jobs (administration, actual producing, higher up stuff). I fit into neither category.
I get that I don’t have enough experience for the career jobs, I do. That’s something I know I have to work hard for and I am willing to do so. So I’m not too chuffed that I don’t fit in there. BUT I do feel I should be counted in the entry level category.
I was told by an employer that they felt I had too much experience and that taking a position with their company as an intern would be a step backward for me. I was confused. So what if it was a step back for me? If I didn’t want to take a step backward I would not have applied in the first place.
And this is where I thank Joseph Heller. Not only for your fascinating book, but for coining the term for this infuriating situation.
a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule (the show-business catch–22—no work unless you have an agent, no agent unless you’ve worked — Mary Murphy); also : the circumstance or rule that denies a solution
I want to eventually have a career job. Therefore I need experience. In order to get the proper amount of experience, I need an entry level job. But I have too much experience for an entry level job. Therefore, I can not get either, because I am in the middle.
IT IS INFURIATING.
I don’t want to lie when it comes to my work, because I am proud of it. But I am literally stuck. A part of me wants to run through the streets of Manhattan, throwing my resume into the air and screaming “TAKE A CHANCE ON ME, I’M WORTH IT”. Because apparently my cover letters aren’t conveying that enough. Another part of me, after sending out countless resumes and re-written cover letters, just wants to burrow into my bedsheets, only emerging to go to my new job in retail (target, to be precise. I start sunday) and just wait for my prince producer to email me saying “yes, here is the glass slipper of opportunity, and we find that it fits you PERFECTLY”
But I will do neither of those things. I will get up, and go to work. I will spend my breaks reading articles and books on theatre. I will come home and I will play 30 minutes on my new x-box to unwind, and then I will send out more cover letters. More resumes. I will pick up odd jobs as an usher, or help with saturday morning theatre programs. I will go door to door, until the moment comes. Not the moment where someone hands me a glass slipper of opportunity, but where I create my own creative, comfortable yet daring, boot of opportunity (because I am way too uncoordinated to wear a glass slipper, lets be real).
It may be next week, or it may be next year, but I will break this Catch-22, one way or another. And when I am in the position to do so, I will try to break the Catch-22’s of other young theatre hopefuls, should they come to my door with a creative boot of opportunity. Because that’s what real theatre is about you know, creating boots of opportunities together.