Thursday, November 6, 2008

Too long in one place

I've really been feeling like I need a vacation at work recently. I'm not as patient, find that I'm not learning much of anything new. I'm really ready to move on to something new, especially something I've been looking forward to and working toward (i.e. tv writing).

Instead I'm stuck working between 50-60 hours a week with no overtime pay or benefits. I make so little money as an assistant that after paying for basic necessities like rent, car payments, and food I'm not really able to handle much else, including paying down some credit card debt I worked up last year when I was unemployed during the writer's strike. Since this job takes up so much of my time, it's difficult to find times to write.

I'm in a program working on a one hour TV drama spec, which has been interesting but we move along so slowly that it's hard to stay motivated and focused on one 43 page script for 5 months. I'm also working on an original pilot with my roommate, but he's only able to schedule me in for one meeting to work on it a week, and half the time that ends up getting canceled for some reason. I always try to reschedule it when it's canceled, but he never has time to, despite the fact that he always makes the time to work on comedy sketches with other people he knows.

But this is all what I've been dealing with for the two years since I moved to LA, so why should I start feeling it now? It hit me this morning while I was making coffee at the office (which seems like days ago's been a long day).

For my entire life, things have always been broken up a bit. All through school there was summer break (in addition to the various vacations and other time off during the year you get). Just when I was getting antsy and dissatisfied with being a junior in high school, summer came, and after a three month break working in a record store I returned as a senior, a completely different routine.

A similar pattern continued on through college. Now, I graduated over two years ago, so you think the pattern would break there, but here's what happened to me:

I spent 4 months living at home and working temp jobs in Boston. One job lasted a month and a half, another lasted almost 3 months, and neither had much in the way of responsibilities. It was also during this time I had the most time to write that I've had since, and it shows. That was when I was able to finish my first feature script.

After the 4 months in Boston I moved across the country to LA. Definitely a change of scenery. We found an apartment, and a month later I found my first job. The guy I worked for was a small time independent film producer, and I shouldn't have worked for him for more than 5 months, but I ended up staying 7 and a half. I was REALLY ready to go by then, and not just because of itchy feet, but I should note that I was working there for close to the equivalent of a school year.

Then I worked another job for 3 months, then came the writer's strike in which I was unemployed for almost another 3. I started my current job in the beginning of February 2008. It has now been over 8 months. Never in my life have I ever worked anywhere for this long without some sort of break. I took a long weekend to go back east in August, but other than that I've worked every single day, with the exception of one half day I took when I was sick.

Not only am I getting burnt out, but my body and mind are also expecting me to move on. They've had enough, they know that we're now due for something else.

I guess this is just a necessary part of growing up, though I bet I would deal with it better if I were being paid a bit more than minimum wage and felt satisfied with my job.

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