Saturday, 12 November 2011
A work/life balance is a phrase utilised about by the media when discussing how to deal with stress in modern life or whether to take up yoga after you finish your shift on the stock market. I have even heard a father of one of my friends talking about the seminars his well-known company send him on to try to help their employees find this elusive state of utopia. Is it possible to do a satisfying job and still come home by 6pm with your mind cleared of work and ready to meet friends/have sex/cook a Jamie Oliver recipe? Or are we destined to still be in the office at 9pm only to arrive home to a cold dinner, kids already asleep and a constant nagging feeling that we are letting everyone down?
People are always juggling commitments: whether it is motherhood and a full time job, family and friends or dreams with reality. I have found that in my current career flux I am struggling with a work/work balance. I have too many balls in the air and, as I inevitably drop one now and again, I am not keeping everyone in my working life happy. My juggle is purely professional so in no way as demanding as being a mum and a full time employee (“sadly” cry my 30 year ovaries!) but if you take the view that everything is relative; it is stressing me out!
As I hover between actress, writer and growing teaching hours, I don’t seem to be able to give 100% to anything. The perfectionist Virgo in me is getting increasingly uncomfortable.
On one particular Tuesday I was teaching 9am till 7.30pm but had organised a phone interview with a musician in my lunch break as it was the only day he could make. This was for a feature for the magazine I write for and with a looming deadline I desperately needed to fit it in. So I sat surrounded with cuddly toys and instruments with my Dictaphone posing provoking questions to this rock n roll legend whilst silently praying that no new students would bang on the door and demand a lesson. My teaching bosses were not impressed as they thought I shouldn’t be doing other pursuits on their time but short of phoning this celeb at 10pm (which would be tantamount to a booty call and therefore not highly professional) I had no choice.
I am also annoying my acting agent as my teaching has become so regular and inflexible that my only available day for auditions is Friday - not very useful for last minute call backs or immovable auditions. I have therefore had to turn down a number of possible jobs and turn my allegiances to my teaching as that is providing me with a regular wage. Without it I would be available for any opportunity but I would also be eating air and living in a cardboard box. But my agent feels an actor should be able to survive on passion and determination alone; not this one - I like organic cereal and out of season blueberries! So I am now relegated to the bottom of the pile in their office and on the off chance it is un-missable audition I upset my teaching bosses when I leave them in the lurch. Aaaaaargh!
This week saw me doing a loud but necessary vocal warm up in-between teaching classes much to the bemusement of some clients before rushing off on the tube to a final audition for the musical, Avenue Q. I barely had time to dislodge the puppet from my arm before I was back singing “I am Lucas the Lazy Lion” for my toddler class who were probably wondering why their teacher had more eyeliner on than usual?
Meanwhile, my magazine Editor is wondering why I am not on the end of my email 24/7 to chase contacts and photos and I have my first real proper job interview for a newspaper where I have a feeling my “journalists dressing up outfit” of trench coat and notepad will not cut the mustard. I need to be devoting more time to my writing and carving out a potential career.
I am not giving 100% to anything – is it possible to have too many strings to your bow I wonder? Spreading the proverbial peanut butter too thinly on my bread? Well, I think that crunch time may be approaching where I need to decide which camp I am in. The results of my musical audition versus the newspaper 9-5 job will either give my heart an easy decision to make or pull me in further in two directions. Where is a magic 8 ball when you need one?