Welcome back to my conversation with Rachel Farr! If you’re new here Rachel and I had a lengthy, high vibe conversation a few weeks ago but I’ve broken up our conversation into sections to shorten the length of each blog post. Rachel is currently on a contract and I’m currently in a dry spell (more about that below). Today’s section of the conversation is all about finding joy in the most unexpected place: unemployment.
Rachel and I both agreed that when we were younger we fell into the trap of believing that being employed would make us happy. “My mentality has always been once you have a job you’ll be happy but that has never been the case. Having the job has never been what makes me happy,” Rachel shared. In fact, I’m currently going through my first dry spell and while there have definitely been challenging moments, overall I would say I’m just as happy as ever. But I used to have a very different mindset around theatrical unemployment.
Becky: I had this misguided idea that working consistently is a tier here and if you’re not working consistently you’re on this tier. And so for me, I got out of school, I had a job when I graduated college, and I felt like I was on top of the world and I came back to New York and I auditioned and I booked and I auditioned and I booked and there was never a period of time when I wasn’t booking and that has been this year for me…it’s been a really interesting learning experience. I realized that nobody thinks of you differently just because you’re not working. No one’s keeping track actually, you’re the only one that’s keeping track… and how to maintain happiness and feeling like ‘well when I was in Utah, or Wyoming, or Maine I was so on fire, I was so happy,’ but you can find that happiness when you’re not doing that. And I think that’s part of what this blog is - is reminding myself and other people that there’s so much joy to be found when you’re not doing the thing that you think is gonna bring you joy.
After commending me for being in such a positive place, which I had to reassure her only came from having previously walked through lots and lots of mud, Rachel shared with me what her first dry spell experience was like.
Rachel: I went through six months of not working and I got myself in this place of ‘you have no money, you have to pay your rent, you have no excuse… if you haven’t booked a job that means you have to go to five auditions tomorrow. That means you have to hit every single one because the odds are better if you hit every single one and if you’re not getting out of bed and hitting every single one then you don’t deserve anything’ - I mean I would just talk myself into this dark hole and then I would go to these auditions and a lot of times I would kick butt but I also think a lot of times my energy was not in the right place. My heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t there because I wanted to be, I was there because I was panicking…It was this weird thing where I overly killed myself in the audition…but in my head I was already prepping myself for it not to go well because I already had twenty auditions last week where it didn’t go well…I just got in this really dark place and I remember finding out the next thing I booked…and feeling like ‘UUUGH, finally it’s over!’ And yeah, that was a fun contract and everything but when you really step back and assess your life, my life didn’t get any better. It was just a job and it didn’t make me more talented than the day before I got that job. And yet I was in a tailspin, god I was miserable. Absolutely miserable.
Becky: But I totally understand that. And those negative thoughts are so addictive and the more you think them the harder it is to get out of it but they really don’t serve you at all. Ever. And I think when you’re going to an audition with a feeling of desperation or a feeling of lesser than, not good enough…you put a certain energy out there and people feed off of that…I wouldn’t want to work with someone if they came into the room and did their thing and I felt that they were so desperate for it and then you don’t get anything out of the situation that you’re putting yourself in.
Rachel: Completely - you don’t enjoy it at all.
Becky: And you don’t enjoy it at all. And you don’t learn anything. I try to learn something from every audition I go on…but if you come with that [previous] mindset you’re closing yourself off to any lesson or beautiful thing that can happen from the experience.
My dear readers, I want to know your thoughts! How do you find joy when you’re unemployed? Or is that something you’re struggling with right now? If you have any secret weapons please feel free to share by becoming a member and commenting on this post or messaging me privately. And don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss tomorrow’s conversation about finding balance and the importance of taking a break!