After finishing 2nd in my stand up comedy competition, I was pretty excited. As much as I would like to spend time writing jokes all day. I also have bills to pay and I needed to work. So Pennsylvania was beckoning me. By this point my girlfriend had kind of accepted that I was going to be gone for the foreseeable summer. Which to her credit, totally sucks, but she handled it like a champ. We had decided to try and do something different in terms of staying in touch more. I gave her a blank journal, and I had kept a second blank journal. Throughout the week I would write an entry into the journal, snap a pic, and send it to her via Facebook or something. We did this back and forth for a few weeks. My plan was to fill the whole journal up and give it to her once it was done so she could go back and read it. That was my plan, but it was short lived.
Anyone who works in production will tell you that the lifestyle can be very hard on a relationship. There’s a lot of traveling involved, a lot of time spent apart, and a lot of trust that needs to be firmly in place.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t done a great job of building that trust, and I knew that this long distance thing was going to break it. If I’m being honest I knew the end was near and I just didn’t want to face it. Break ups are hard. Bottom line. Our breaking point came some point in mid June. I came home for a week so we could spend some time together, but while we were chasing roller coasters at Cedar Point, a colleague of mine in NY had called me and asked if I would be interested in moving to the city to work as an Associate Producer.
For those of you who don’t know how production works, getting an opportunity to go from Production Assistant to Associate Producer is the equivalent of being the dishwasher at a restaurant and someone handing you a chef coat and asking you to start plating food up. It’s kind of a big deal. And by big deal I mean HUGE BLESSING. I’d only been working in television for about a year and a half at this point, and anybody who has worked in television will tell you that typically production assistants will have to grind it out and pay their dues for two, three, four years or more. “It’s just how it is.” “Everybody has been there.” “You gotta pay your dues.” that’s what they all say to you when you’re a production assistant. And if you’ve ever become a production assistant, you too will grow tired of hearing it. Personally I had a hard time hearing it even back when I was in Texas. I’m a very ambitious person and I’m a go getter. I want to be challenged, I want responsibility, and I want to work and get paid for it. I also believe I’m good at what I do. But one of my biggest weaknesses is that I would easily get frustrated with being a production assistant sometimes because I knew I could be doing more. I’ll admit part of it was putting the cart before the horse, and the other part was just sheer determination to get to a better paying position as soon as possible. My goal for the year has been paying off my debt. What better way than to get promoted and double your weekly income?
So when my friend called and told me about a potential job, naturally I was excited about the opportunity. It wasn’t set in stone, but I felt like my time was coming and this would be a great chance to prove myself. My girlfriend though, was absolutely against it. She told me that if I took this job, this would be the end of our relationship. And I appreciate her saying that. I had been putting our relationship on the back burner for the last year in her eyes, and she was not about to handle me being gone indefinitely in New York. Understandable. Completely fair. However, for me this was a career move. A chance to really lock in something solid and finally get to move up and work at a different level. Something I’ve been wanting to do. This was a great opportunity and I couldn’t let it go. The job wasn’t set in stone, it was really just being proposed to me that I should write up a resume and submit it for my friends boss to review. So my girlfriend and I never really agreed on it. We kind of let it go and decided to talk about it later and just enjoy the rest of our day at the amusement park.
At some point during that week though, I started to realize that I needed to make some serious choices. Regardless of New York being a possible opportunity, I knew in my heart that I was destined to travel and I needed to pursue those opportunities that afforded that. It slowly began dawning on me that I had to have “the talk” with my girlfriend. My least favorite talk ever. Unfortunately we never sat down to have the talk. It sort of just kept getting pushed aside. I would make an excuse not to bring it up, she just wanted to enjoy our time together, I had to go back to PA. Before I knew it it had been swept under the rug. But deep down it was still eating at me and I just couldn’t bring myself to muster up the courage and do it. I know, I know. WEAK! But it’s just hard breaking someones heart. No one wants to do that.
Once I was back in Pennsylvania after my vacation though, I sort of just settled in to work and accepted that this show wasn’t going to be my opportunity for advancement. Maybe if I did a good job, the company would hire me and promote me on the next shoot. But for now it was time to just grind it out and get stuff done. It was a bit soul crushing. There are some more finer details that I may write out at another time. But for now, I just accepted the fact that no matter how hard I tried, this job was not going to be the job I got promoted on.
I was still hopeful that maybe I would hear back from my NY friend, but it seemed like it kind of got sidelined. I had sent in my resume, but hadn’t really heard back from her. They were busy knocking out some shoots and they were getting backed up. “I’ll call you later” was pretty much the most I got out of it.
Luckily I still had my prophetic word to hold on to. That was probably the one thing that kept me moving forward and optimistic. That and my mom. She’s my rock and I can always count on her. Other than that I was just kind of ‘existing’ and not really sure where to go next.
Luckily though, that feeling wouldn’t last long…