You’re doing it wrong

Ok so you know how the Adult Beginner works as a pattern-maker, right?
And it can be kind of a stressful job, right?
There are scary deadlines, there are generally way too many cooks in the kitchen (actor, designer, director, producer, all have opinions, not usually the agreeing kind), sometimes the people in charge don’t know what they want until they’ve seen you produce something the decide they defo don’t want, the work itself is hyper-detail oriented, there are lots of people to supervise, there are language barriers, there are middle-school levels of clique-i-ness amongst the stitchers, you stand all day and your feet get tired, the hours can be long and it’s easy to eat too much, never exercise, never socialize, loose the passion that got you into the job in the first place, and become old, crankified, and bitter.
This is probably true for many jobs.
It’s the Adult Beginner’s opinion that the best way to avoid becoming old, crankified, and bitter is to have some kind of outside passion. Something that keeps your brain engaged, gets you excited, and motivates you to fucking clock out and leave work at a Decent Hour every once in a while.
If this outside passion has a social element, more better!
Anyway, been thinking about this recently because I worked for a long long time for a boss who had managed to take on at least three or four different jobs within the costume shop. Shop Manager, Head Pattern-Maker, Drummer-Up of New Business, Head Fitter…probably more things I’m not even aware of, but the point is: this boss opens the shop super-early every morning, works like crazy non-stop all day, closes the shop at very least twelve hours later every night, often works weekends, misses meals, survives on stress.
If anyone needs an outside passion, it’s this boss. Who we’ll call Short Boss.
Oddly, Short Boss actually does have an outside passion.
And I often want to pick Short Boss up and shake-shake-shake and yell, “You’re doing it wrong!!!!”
See, ’cause Short Boss’s big passion is deep-sea diving. Something you definitely can’t just pop out and do on a Wednesday evening. It’s a passion that’s impossible for Short Boss to enjoy more than once a year. And that once a year is not nearly enough to combat the entire rest of the stressful year!
It drives me nuts!
Like, (shakeshakeshake) Take Care Of Yourself, Short Boss!
So anyway, not too long ago I was working at a different shop with a different boss, who we’ll call Tall Boss, who one day was all like, “Allright folks, when do you all hit eight hours? Good, we’re outta here by 5:30 tonight, I got bowling to get to.”
And I was like, (huge smile) “you’re in a league?!”
And Tall Boss was like, “Yeah, why, you like bowling?”
And I was like, “god no, I’m just really really glad to hear you’ve got something going on outside the shop!”
And Tall Boss was like, “Yeah, actually, that was part of why I joined. It would be really easy to just, like, let the shop take over my entire life and spend all my time here, and I realized I needed to do something to make that not happen. I mean plus I like bowling. And I like my team.”
And I was like, “Yay!!!!!”
And Tall Boss was like, “You’re silly. I’m glad that makes you happy.”
So anyway, now I’m working for Short Boss again-
Which is another one of the stressful things about the job: lay-offs are a regular thing-
And Short Boss rushes over to my table one afternoon and says, “can you work late tonight and tomorrow?”
And, see, usually with Short Boss this question is just a courtesy. It really means, ‘I need you to stay late tonight and tomorrow.’
But this time I’m like, “Tonight? Sure. But not tomorrow. I have my Mental Health Class tomorrow. My ballet class.”
Can’t really argue with Mental Health Class.
So, you know, I came in earlier the next day, because I don’t want to leave Short Boss hanging, but had my dance bag in the car and clocked out with plenty of time to get to class.
Because I don’t want to leave myself hanging either.


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
This entry was posted in Bark! Bark! Bark!, the stuff drawer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to You’re doing it wrong

  1. chrisgo says:

    F#^% it Dude, let’s go bowling!

  2. lalatina says:

    Totally! Ok, I dont have a “real” job yet, but is kinda the same with university, if I didn’t have ballet I’d be sitting all day long in front of pc and books and research papers.

  3. kaija24 says:

    Oh man…I am so in agreement with this. I work in a completely different environment than you do (lab science) but it’s so much the same with the bosses and the deadlines and the conflicting demands and the not knowing what they wanted until you did it and that was not it and the tendency for “the job” to consume all of the waking hours and some of the sleeping ones. If it weren’t for my outside activities/passions and my personal life (thank you, dear partner and friends!), I would be miserable…as miserable as some of the work people who do not have anything in their lives other than work. Self-care and personal development is so important. I highly value being a well-rounded, well-adjusted person and don’t think that giving up more time to work will make or break my so-called career.

    I also make time/prioritize time for my ballet classes…it’s my physical, emotional, and mental therapy for sure. Whatever is bothering me or weighing on my mind as I head to class just disappears when I get to the barre and immerse myself in the work. I leave feeling lighter, happier, and cleansed inside and out. Given the choice, I will gravitate to others who have lives and encourage the people *I* supervise to balance their lives and have outside activities…it makes for a better overall life. And as they say, no one on their death bed EVER wishes they would have worked more!

  4. j-faux says:

    Yup I can relate. I work in animation/vfx. I’m pretty sure my dance class obsession was a sanity anchor.

  5. Nic says:

    .mm.. absolutely. I work in science too, and could easily be in the lab 24/7( because work simply generates more work…) But actually am more efficient, creative, and better focused if I have reasons not to be. Not mention happier, and generally nicer to be around! A good ballet class can put me on a high that will keep me smiling and saying, sure, no problem, I can re-do that analysis for yesterday if you like.

  6. loveablestef says:

    Nice! Glad you are taking care of yourself.

  7. It’s so easy to Not take care of yourself. Isn’t that weird? Seems like taking care of Number 1 would be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not, it’s so much easier to just not.
    Anyway, Short Boss asked me to do a bunch of overtime these next few days, and I said yes on all days except ballet days, instead bargained for coming in even earlier in order to leave in time for class, to which Short Boss replied, “that sounds fine, don’t want you to miss your Mental Health class.” So that’s kinda nice. I mean being at work at 7:00am was not awesome, but nice that boss understands importance of someone- Anyone! – having stuff to do outside of work.

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