That Time My Heart Broke. Literally. – Part 21 (The “Bitter Much? (Regarding Missed Work)” Chapter)

August 29, 2012

It’s Wednesday night, so the heart story continues.

Last week, I was talking about school and work during this time.

School-wise, the MP&E department did everything they could to help me out.

Studio time was rescheduled. Early on, one of my professors brought me an Mbox mini so I could work from my hospital bed.

I stayed on top of the workload pretty well. At the end of the semester, I had A’s in all 3 of my MP&E classes (which was not the case in my non-MP&E classes). Let’s back-burner this until we get to the end of the semester.

As far as work was concerned, I finished out the performances of the show that closed before I had the too many beta-blockers incident.

I helped as much as I could with transitioning me out of a few other shows that were starting up as things were getting complicated with my life.

At one point, as I was sitting in the hospital, I got a phone call from a company in New York asking me to come work on another television show. I was obviously extremely upset that I couldn’t do it. I also got offered a long-term job in California that I couldn’t take. I forget if these job offers came in once the epicardial ablation was scheduled, or once the open-heart surgery was.

Either way, I had a surgery scheduled, and the job that was offered needed to start immediately. I wouldn’t have been able to take time off from a new job so soon. Alas, it could not be.

I also got some calls about some shows in Boston during the holidays. I couldn’t take them since my epicardial ablation was scheduled for December 15 – one of the biggest weeks of holiday shows. Argh.

yellow cartoon rotary telephone, with an exhausted cartoon face, ringing off the hook
My phone was ringing off the hook!
(Photo Credit: Vector.Us)

Those previous paragraphs are not to say, “Look at me. I’m awesome. I get job offers all the time!” That’s definitely not how my life usually works.

This is just to paint the picture that It was an incredibly frustrating time. I’d been working my butt off, around the clock, for as many companies as possible. I was working for free (or extremely little pay), often. Sleep was always optional.

As I’ve said before, I’m a light switch, not a dimmer. I have a pretty obsessive personality (in case you couldn’t tell). Nothing got in the way of my craziness (except finally, this).

It was endlessly disheartening that once I finally started to see the rewards of my labor – I finally started to be offered more TV jobs, and more jobs with real entry-level salaries (still not great money, but a step up from nothing!) – I was completely unable to take them.

You know what happens when you are constantly turning down work. You get bumped further down the list of the “go-to people.”

Some of you may be asking, “Wait. Weren’t you in school at the time?” Yes, I suppose so. Berklee is a school where graduating is optional (and as far as the student body is concerned, not encouraged.) At Berklee, you’re pretty much treated as a failure if you haven’t gotten enough work to get you out before school is over. (Whether that’s good or not is debatable, but I had no real interest in being in college at the time, anyway.)

Lisa Simpson meditating by a small tree in her backyard
Self reflection (at least, a tiny amount, for a hot second)

The policy (which I love) at Berklee is “once you’re in, you’re in for life.” Most of us are in no hurry to graduate.

Now, even though I was super frustrated, and this all threw a huge wrench in my life, does it really matter?

The majority of my job offers had to do with reality television. (Gross, right?) Is reality TV going to add to my life? Is it going to advance my actual career goals? No.

Will it keep me in the entertainment industry? I guess… the outskirts of it, maybe (depending on how you define “entertainment”).

Sure, it was frustrating that I was working so hard, getting “rewarded,” and unable to take those rewards. But did I actually really want them?

I was setting myself up for a life in reality television. Why would I do that? What kind of “rewards” do you get? More reality shows? What kind of life are you making for yourself?

(Sometimes that’s what happens with tunnel vision. You sprint down a path you don’t really care about because you’re running so fast, and you’re so laser-focused, that you can’t see any other options in this world.)

Ah, self-reflection time. Well, we won’t answer these questions next week. I will pick up next week talking about my epicardial ablation.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?