Monday, June 30, 2008

Volunteering vs. getting paid, and the sacrifices I make for both

A few months ago, my dance company landed Thursday-Sunday shows for three weeks at a major venue, but it's volunteer position. We can sell merchandise but we are not getting paid for the performances (two per day). It's a huge publicity opportunity for us, and in addition, it's a lot of fun for there to be such a huge crowd available to perform to (not saying that the venue is full every show, because there's a lot of competing entertainment opportunities, but at the very least, the four shows that I've done have drawn people in from the minute we get on stage, and that's a nice feeling).

Anyway, I agreed to do these dozen or so shows for free with the understanding that I get booked for cushy paid jobs in return. The director of the company understands that it costs us time and money to do the free shows, and she really does try to reward us by booking us for jobs that will tip well or be quick and easy. And yet, I turned down the first one she offered me!

I'm still trying to figure out my thought process on this. I didn’t want to get home super late on a Sunday night, especially because work has been really busy lately. I guess I figured the volunteer show would be finished earlier than the paid job for some reason, but there was really no basis for me to think that, and I wound up getting home at 11 p.m. but with no money for working.

I'll take the next paying gig I'm offered. These volunteer shows wound up being more expensive than I thought they would be (both in terms of time and money, because I'm sitting around for hours between shows and the food options at this place are dreadfully expensive) so it would be nice to make the money to offset that. Plus, I have a costume set aside which will take me three jobs to work off, so I need to get on it (not to mention that I ruined my dance shoes last night in the rain and will need to buy more).

I can make my monthly bills on my day job income, but I don’t have a lot of room to ignore additional money-making opportunities, or to spend money on travel and food for a show I’m not getting paid to do (even if it is tax-deductable, I won’t see that savings until next April). I should have evaluated the jobs on the basis of the jobs themselves (roughly the same time frame, but one was paid and one wasn’t) and done what made better financial sense. This isn’t a game I’m playing, it’s a business, and I made a sort of dumb decision yesterday.

It just sort of fits in with how I’ve been running my life lately. I’m unwilling to admit that I’m not superwoman, and I’m definitely trying to do too much. I need to slow things down and start focusing on the important (a paid job instead of a volunteer position, time writing a paper instead of playing a video game, making a phone call instead of browsing the internet) instead of the easy.

1 comment:

  1. yeah, its all about time management...

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